Turning a commitment into actions

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By Mario Cerutti, Chief Institutional Relations & Sustainability Officer, Lavazza Group


To learn more about countries’ strategies for economic transformation, follow the 10th  Plenary Meeting and High-Level Meeting of the OECD Initiative for Policy Dialogue on Global Value Chains, Production Transformation and Developmentin Paris, France on 27-28 June 2018.


logo TOward2030At the beginning of 2017, Lavazza launched ‘’Goal Zero’’ – a call to collective action amongst our many stakeholders to pursue the 17 Global Goals of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. The company decided that co-operation, instead of going it alone, is fundamental for any significant results. Still, we faced the question of how to engage different stakeholders in one all-encompassing plan. For Lavazza, answering this means engaging our different stakeholders – employees, youth, suppliers and the surrounding community – using tailored communications tools. We believe that only a strong commitment originating from within Lavazza can, in turn, fuel external communications. So, here’s how we are proceeding:

We are engaging employees. A three-part plan focuses on awarenessunderstanding and adoption. The first step is to raise awareness amongst employees about the SDGs. By delivering messages through different communications channels, such as a newsletter or digital signage, employees are becoming more conscious of the environmental, economic and social challenges encompassed by the SDGs. Another creative channel is Lavazza’s 2018 SDGs calendar, part of our 2030: What are YOU doing? campaign. The calendar’s 365 days are divided by the 17 goals and every goal is represented by a different “SDGs Ambassador” – someone who has particularly distinguished himself or herself through a sustainable development project endorsed by Lavazza. While the Lavazza calendar is an important disruptive communications tool shared with external stakeholders, it was first distributed to every Lavazza employee worldwide as a sign of strong support for the SDGs as part of a one-year internal communications plan. In addition to awareness-building, the understanding stage is creating online SDGs trainings for employees and launching a series of seminars with SDGs specialists and professionals. This phase’s main objective is to help all employees fully appreciate the importance of their engagement with the Global Goals. All this leads to the adoption phase, when employees are expected to embrace a new corporate mindset that is SDGs-oriented and that would optimise their effectiveness and commitment as part of Lavazza’s sustainability strategy.

We are engaging youth. Youth are fundamental in effectively pursuing Agenda 2030. To foster debate amongst youth, raise their interest in the SDGs and encourage an open intergenerational discussion, we launched two different projects. The first is the Coffee Study Program, where four selected students visited a coffee-producing community supported by Lavazza and Oxfam in the Dominican Republic and shared their journey on social media. The project showed the students how the Lavazza Foundation works and, most importantly, asks them to rethink and communicate about sustainable development. What emerged is a dialogue on several issues Lavazza considers fundamental, such as the importance of partnerships, associations and shared responsibilities. The second project, Lavazza and Youth for SDGs, is a contest addressed to Italian university students, inviting them to submit an innovative pilot project to be implemented in a coffee-producing country where the Lavazza Foundation supports ongoing activities. The students worked in groups, bringing their different backgrounds in medicine, engineering, law and economics.

We are engaging our suppliers. We decided to reshape the existing Supplier Code of Conduct. We created an interdisciplinary working team of legal, sustainability, environmental, health and safety, and purchasing specialists and tapped each area for their contributions.  And conscious of the importance of co-operation, we asked some of our external partners, such as the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisation, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Oxfam Italia Onlus, and Save the Children Italia Onlus, for contributions according to their specific areas of expertise, such as in child labour and gender equality regulations. Moreover, we are planning meetings and conventions to share our objectives with suppliers and define common goals.

And we are engaging the surrounding community. With the municipality of Turin, where Lavazza is headquartered, we are working on a creative street art project called TOward 2030. What are you doing? What is envisioned is the creation of 17 pieces of public art on 17 walls associated with each of the 17 Global Goals. This initiative seeks to raise awareness amongst Turin’s citizens and tourists and hopes to apply a format that can be replicated in other Italian towns, ensuring scalability of this dissemination activity. An app will be used to monitor the number of engaged people and track the visibility of the different artwork. Such tracking tools will be tailored to monitor and evaluate progress on engaging not only with the community through SDGs-inspired art but also other stakeholders. For example, we will analyse the number of employees who deepen their knowledge about sustainable development at the end of the year. Similarly, we will compare the number of students engaged in the first editions of our contests compared to subsequent editions.

Ultimately, what is the same for the different communications tools we have in place is to inspire various stakeholders to respond to the same call: to join us in pursing the Global Goals. Integrating sustainability into every facet of our business through this shared focus on the SDGs is how we can create long-term value for our stakeholders and ensure the supply they seek from Lavazza. In fact, such integration is how we can move from piecemeal philanthropic contributions to more comprehensive and cohesive solutions that fully align sustainability and business objectives.