By Mario Cerutti, Chief Institutional Relations & Sustainability Officer, Lavazza
To learn more about countries’ strategies for economic transformation, learn about the 9th Plenary Meeting of the OECD Initiative for Global Value Chains, Production Transformation and Development hosted by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Bangkok, Thailand on November 2017.
On 25 September 2015, 193 countries agreed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that seek to ‘’end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.’’1
Making that vision a reality calls on us all, including business, to renew our commitment to sustainability. What does this mean in practical terms?
On the one hand, sustainability measures can infiltrate how we conduct the normal course of our business activities. Many of the usual business strategies to improve performance, efficiency and savings can have a good environmental and social impact too. For example, if we reduce packaging, then we can improve efficiency and, at the same time, protect the environment by decreasing waste materials. And even if some measures do not lead to immediate economic advantages, they still can have positive social or environmental impacts over the long-term. Consider training employees on sustainability or building to strict LEED certification, as Lavazza did with our new headquarters in Torino.
And on the other hand – and what’s far more challenging – is embedding sustainability into the very fabric of corporate culture and organisational behaviour. Lavazza, for one, is embracing this challenge. The company is rethinking and redefining its sustainability governance. We created a new office in 2016 that reports directly to the CEO and is responsible for sustainability across various activities – in our projects in coffee-producing countries, in our reporting, in energy and environmental matters, and in our community engagement. We decided to update our sustainability vision and strategy by adopting and referring to the SDGs as the general conceptual framework. In other words, we view all our activities and priorities – managerial activities and decisions, continuous improvement, sourcing decisions, corporate social responsibility projects, and more – as they relate to these goals.
Conscious of our responsibility to sustainability, Lavazza is taking our efforts a step further in a strategic initiative we call “Goal Zero.” This new goal’s purpose is to raise awareness amongst stakeholders about the SDGs, promote them with the idea that everyone can act and encourage people to take that action. For example, Lavazza is developing projects to involve young people in topics linked to the Global Goals. The purpose is not only to explain the SDGs to them, but also to foster debate and promote engagement with those who will be the protagonists of the 2030 world. Sustainability, in fact, is a shared responsibility, a duty, a generational engagement.
To achieve “Goal Zero,” we focus on awareness-raising at various levels, from external communications and events focused on the SDGs to our new internal communications strategy that strengthens awareness amongst all Lavazza people worldwide through conferences, newsletters and calls to action. We want Lavazza people to be sensitive to social and environmental issues and be ambassadors for sustainability topics within and outside the company.
And to hold ourselves accountable to ‘’Goal Zero,’’ we are reshaping our Sustainability Report to publicly show what we are doing to achieve the SDGs, providing examples and facts as well as outlining future improvements that can further our impact. We see the value of Lavazza’s community engagement projects to support strong and focused partnerships with public institutions and NGOs, like SDG 17 suggests, to deepen our commitment to sustainability.
We believe that no company or individual alone can change the world. Instead, many contributions can help foster positive change. Before acting, people and business need to be conscious of what their inputs can do to promote awareness of the SDGs. And in our awareness, we can move closer to actually achieving the Global Goals and sustaining the world they promise.