We want to be sincerely successful.
And we want to be successful in the right way. It’s about doing the right thing and acting responsibly. Sustainability has been important to us Hochländers for more than just a couple of years. Taking responsibility for the future of our children and grandchildren has always been a matter of course in a family business. And the fact that nature and the environment have a special significance for us is already evident from our most important raw material, milk. For some years now, we have been summarising our economic, ecological and social efforts under the term sustainability.
Why are we focussing on sustainability? There are clear connections. We know that we can only be economically successful in the long term if we also act in an ecologically and socially responsible manner. Above all we must not neglect the social sector in our efforts to become sustainable. We are saying goodbye to dogma and seeking a common view of the whole.
We talk to farmers, suppliers, customers, retailers and NGOs on an equal footing to communicate our position on sustainability issues and to find out what stakeholders expect from our company. We want to demonstrate our attitude of sustainability both internally and externally. Our aim is to promote sustainability together. This only works step by step. We want to move forward consistently one step at a time and be a pioneer in terms of sustainability.
Since the last report, we have developed our sustainability strategy and have begun to implement the first six fields of action. As already mentioned, our greatest source of leverage in terms of sustainability is also our most important raw material – the milk.
I am therefore particularly proud of the progress we have been able to achieve together with milk suppliers and trade customers. Bans on total herbicides and plastic from biogas plants in our dairy farmers‘ fields and our first cheese with the label issued by the German Animal Welfare Association are personal highlights for me. But improvements in ergonomics and occupational safety are also important steps along our path.
This all sounds very positive now. However, sustainability is not quite that simple. Sometimes we have to accept short-term disadvantages in order to achieve a positive effect in the long term. We have also suffered real setbacks. Avoiding and reducing plastics is not possible in all areas – but we are continuing to work on it.
At present, we see our greatest challenge in significantly reducing Hochland CO2emissions. In the coming years, we will focus on reducing plastics further, developing and marketing sustainable milk qualities in our products, phasing out year-round tethering by our milk producers, and promoting the health and satisfaction of our employees. We will be tackling the areas with the greatest impact first. So we are still trying to do the right thing in order to continue to be sincerely successful.
Volker Brütting, Managing Director