Sustainability as a topic is very important to me as CEO of the Bell Food Group, both in my daily business and my private life. As one of our three corporate missions, sustainability is a central topic at the Bell Food Group. We stand for sustainable services. In this context, we want to be an example for our sector and differentiate ourselves from our competitors.
We recognise and accept our responsibilities – for our own value-added stages as well as the upstream and downstream links in our value chain, the efficient use of our resources, the reduction of our waste, the protection of the climate and towards our employees and society. We try to consider sustainability aspects in all our decisions. We consider these at the highest level through our sustainability strategy that defines the basic values applying to the whole Bell Food Group and its pillars "products and procurement", "environment and resources" and "employees and society".
However, sustainability is an issue we cannot deal with on our own. We depend on cooperation with our long-standing and reliable partners when it comes to achieving comprehensive progress in this area and bringing positive change in the long term. We expect our producers and suppliers to comply with our sustainability standards and requirements at all times. Animal protection organisations and NGOs such as the WWF Seafood Group, the Animal Welfare Initiative and Swiss Animal Protection SAP constantly help us to critically assess our own sustainability objectives and measures. We engage in close cooperation with research institutes and experts to promote technical developments in our plants.
Over the past ten years, we have evolved from a Swiss meat processor into an international food specialist. In addition to traditional sustainability issues such as the use of resources and animal welfare, we now also focus on new topics such as the sustainable procurement of plant raw materials.
We are integrating the strong growth experienced by the Bell Food Group – in particular through new acquisitions such as Eisberg in 2016, Hilcona in 2017 and Hügli in 2018 – step for step into our sustainability management, which is a material as well as a challenging task for us.
The current relevance and strong focus of politicians and the media on certain sustainability topics such as meat consumption, the climate debate and shortcomings along the value chain, as well as growing consumer sensitivity and awareness of the need to cultivate a more responsible and sustainable way of life and consumption, are important pointers for the current and future direction we need to pursue as one of the biggest producers of meat and convenience products in Europe. It is therefore important to us to also critically analyse topics such as animal welfare, the use of antibiotics, food safety and security, and the carbon footprint.
We are open for new developments and support new technologies. Examples include our investment in Mosa Meat, the Dutch start-up for cultured meat, the further development of our particularly animal-friendly stabling systems (PAS+) at our new chicken production facility in Zimmerwald (CH) and the introduction of our Group-wide energy management system e3m by 2023.
Transparency in the area of sustainability is a key element in ensuring that we as a company remain credible and accountable. In 2018, we therefore decided to adopt the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and prepare a detailed report to give our customers and partners a comparative overview of our activities in the field of sustainability.
We are convinced that our commitment to sustainability makes us a strong partner and is a long-term factor in supporting the success of the Bell Food Group. We therefore wish to promote this sensitivity throughout the Bell Food Group in the future: among our managers as well as our employees, and in our dialogue with our relevant stakeholders and partners.
Lorenz Wyss, Chairman of the Group Executive Board (CEO)