I am delighted to report that the 40 Corporate Responsibility pledges which underline our commitment to ‘Doing the right thing’ have really benefitted the environment and society and they have helped the business increase its profits and reduce its risks.
We are committed to being progressive, sustainable and responsible when it comes to environmental issues, conscious that none of our actions exist in isolation. Key issues for us are energy, water, waste and biodiversity.
We are pleased to report that we have continued to make good progress against our pledge of reducing our carbon emissions by 30% by 2020 against 2007 levels and by March 2014 we had achieved a carbon equivalent reduction of 23.7% with much of this coming from two biomass boilers at our Davidstow creamery.
We continue to work with our farmer suppliers to help them reduce their environmental impact by creating a specialist carbon measurement tool with Dairy Crest Direct (DCD). Following its introduction three retail customers have adopted this unique, innovative on-line tool.
The business remains on target to reduce its water usage and we continue to roll out ‘WaterWell’ an innovative water auditing programme for dairy farms.
Dairy Crest has also made great progress in reducing the amount of plastic it uses to package its products key developments in 2014 completed the roll out a newly designed plastic milk bottle that uses up to 15% less plastic.
Dairy Crest’s vision includes a commitment to creating healthy, tasty, enjoyable products and we are committed to supporting British farming.
Our lower fat and healthier brands continue to perform well and the business continues to innovate. Highlights in 2013/14 included the launch of Utterly Lightly, Clover Additions, Fry Light Garlic and Clover Lighter than Light. Added together our ‘lighter’ brands have a retail sales value of £65.7 million.
Dairy Crest remains fully committed to building a strong and secure business on which our farming suppliers can depend and as the only listed British dairy company we are proud that the milk we use each year to make our products is British and farm assured.
The business’s approach to safety is simple. We want everyone who works for us and with us, to go home without any injury or ill health and for Dairy Crest to be an employer of choice.
The actions taken to further improve safety in the workplace have delivered encouraging results with the number of accidents falling from 147 in 2009/10 to 49 in 2013/14 and the number of days lost from accidents or ill health fell from 4,122 days in 2009/10 to 1,227 days in 2013/14.
The business’s community strategy, which reflects our vision of engaging with the communities where we work, continues to go from strength-to-strength.
Highlights include the work being done through the Countryside Fund and the Prince’s Rural Action Programme, our sponsorship of university summer schools and the IGD’s ‘Feeding Britain’s Future’ Programme.
Employees have also continued to embrace the local community programme and over the course of the year they have supported many local good causes.