We live in a time of unprecedented change. In business, we face challenges and opportunities that are more critical and complex than ever before – where the consequences of failure are unimaginable and the impact of our decisions are felt instantly across the planet. We need to balance the pursuit of business success together with making the world a better place.
It is about moving the issues of sustainability from the fringes to the heart of the business. It demands that business leaders rethink fundamental strategic questions – why we exist, where we should focus, how we are different, why we are different, why people will choose us, want to work for us and invest in our business.
The three categories covered in our sustainability program are People, Profit and Planet. Each area, in turn, has a number of sub-categories reflected below.
Education and Development
The need to develop employees to match the human capital requirements of the company as it expands is an ongoing necessity. It is also crucial from a staff moral perspective to invest in employees and create opportunities for internal growth. It is also generally easier to retain local people than to attract people to the area.
Engaged, skilled and empowered young people are the product of the Woodlands Dairy Learnership. The learnership program started in 2012 with 20 students and has accepted 20 students each year since. The program targets matriculated school leavers from the local area who have not yet gained permanent employment in the formal job market. It aims to retain these youngsters who would usually seek employment elsewhere due to limited opportunities in the area. The purpose of the one-year learnership is to teach students the basic milk reception principles, dairy analytical procedures, health and safety and best manufacturing processes. This programme accredited with SAQA and learners who successfully complete the learnership program as awarded a National Certificate Milk and Cream Handling and Storing. Learners are exposed to many departments in the factory, which gives them an overall view of the dairy industry career fields. Upon completion, they are encouraged to apply for positions within the company and in the departments which they are interested in. Most of the students who completed their learnership are currently employed at the factory and many have excelled and been promoted. Woodlands Dairy is committed to developing people and believes that the future of these learners is being shaped for an excellent tomorrow. The Learnership program forms part of the Woodlands Dairy CSI Portfolio.
The need to develop our junior management was identified in 2012. Nine learners, holding junior management positions, were enrolled in an NQF 4 Manufacturing Management Learnership in October 2012. All nine learners successfully completed the learnership in April 2014. The next NQF 4 project began in August 2014, following the assessment of potential junior management candidates. We have rolled out the NQF 5 Learnership to the high potential employees within this group. The FoodBev SETA assists with the expenses of this project.
Our apprentice program was initiated in 2011 as a medium to a long-term project with the objective of creating a level of self-sustainability by providing the company with a pipeline of critical artisan personnel that are not always readily available externally. Five apprentices began this journey in 2011. Subsequently, we have added 5 additional learners each year, increasing this to 10 in 2016. The majority of these employees and those who followed in their footsteps were from previously disadvantaged groups and contribute towards achieving the company’s employment equity targets.
The wellbeing of Woodlands dairy’s own staff is looked after through the availability of the following facilities and services to all staff.
An on-site clinic manned with a full-time nurse and part-time doctor renders health services to employees and conducts medical surveys to monitor staff health.
Medical aid membership is available for qualifying staff members.
Woodlands Dairy is committed to a study bursary scheme that provides funding for children of employees that wish to embark on tertiary studies at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU). Bursaries are allocated to deserving students for the first year of their studies.
Woodlands Dairy has also made available a housing loans scheme to enable employees to acquire their own homes or make improvements thereto.
Woodlands Dairy conducts an annual staff engagement survey. The survey measures the levels of staff satisfaction over the following 12 areas:
Staff Engagement Survey 2017 – 12 Areas are measured of which 9 scored over 70%
Mission and purpose – 94%
Quality and Customer Focus – 94%
Respect for Management – 90%
Work/Life Balance and Stress – 82%
Workplace and Resources – 77%
Respect for Employees – 75%
Opportunities for Growth – 72%
Personal Expression/Diversity -71%
My Supervisor – 70%
Communication – 66%
Fairness – 57%
Feedback – 56%
On Time Laundry
In 2013 Woodlands Dairy identified an opportunity to develop a local business, thereby supporting local entrepreneurs, Rudi and Angela Hendriks, to fulfil their dream, as the factory Quality System requires staff to attend work in clean overalls daily. Woodlands Dairy contributed financially to purchase the premises and equipment, while On Time Laundry services collection, cleaning and delivery of clean and tidy overalls to Woodlands Dairy.
Health and Safety
It is not in the interest of any company or organization to expose their staff to health or safety risks. We have a safety drive that focusses on educating, informing, identifying and – if need be – enforcing the employee to make safety a way of life. We aim to show them the advantages of safety and share knowledge that will assist them not only at work but also at home. The challenge is to change the employee’s perspective with regards to safety so that they can implement these changes into their lifestyle. Safety in the workplace is measured according to the number of accidents, divided by the number of hours worked during a 12 month period. In safety terms, it is called Disabling Injury Frequency Rate (DIFR). Each year we set out to better our DIFR goal of the previous year. The graph below depicts our DIFR.
Privacy & Integrity
Woodlands Dairy complies with the law in respect of the data it holds about individuals. Woodlands Dairy undertakes to follow good practice and endeavours to protect our staff, other individuals, companies and itself from the consequences of a breach of its responsibilities. We ensure that the POPI Act induction training takes place for all staff. Further to this, Woodlands Dairy reviews the POPI Act and ensures that periodic updates as published are adhered to and implemented.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Woodlands Dairy prides itself on the implementation of social responsibility projects and giving back to the surrounding communities.
Woodlands Dairy has managed to reduce its water demand, steam consumption and lowered its carbon footprint,
which has huge cost savings benefits to the company as well as a reduced impact on the environment.
Water & Energy Management
Our natural resources have become very scarce and costly commodities and therefore a big focus has been to reduce energy consumption as far as possible. Not only does this benefit the company financially, but this will help in reducing our carbon footprint in our quest to become more sustainable and also help preserve our natural resources.
Sustainable Dairy Farming
Sustainable dairy farming is of such importance to Woodlands Dairy because the farm is where the production of milk begins and the belief that the pursuit of business success should be in balance with making the world a better place. Global awareness is increasingly holding companies accountable for their impact on the environment.
Woodlands Dairy has committed to ensuring safe and high-quality food products but also embarked on minimising our environmental impact from farm to table.
Woodlands Dairy implemented the Woodlands Dairy Sustainability Project in 2014 in partnership with Trace & Save, an independent agricultural sustainability company, along with our own Woodlands Dairy Milk Standard.
The project aims to assist all of Woodlands Dairy’s producers to become more economically sustainable, to reduce the environmental impact of their farming practices and to ensure that socially responsible practices are implemented on their farms.
This is achieved through the measurement of various sustainability indicators on the farms using the Trace & Save soil, water, atmosphere and nutrient (SWAN) system tool.
The SWAN system tool indicators are used to provide a sustainability score for each farm. The first time these indicators are measured, it forms a farm’s baseline SWAN sustainability score and the proceeding measurements are compared to this baseline.
This shows farmers their progress over time.
Woodlands Dairy producers are able to see the results of their measured indicators on their own online sustainability platform on the Trace & Save producer website. This shows their progress regarding sustainability and allows them to identify future opportunities for improvement. Consumers are also able to trace the progress of Woodlands Dairy producers regarding sustainable dairy farming by checking the sustainability score and observing its trend on the Trace & Save consumer website, www.traceandsave.co.za.
A Woodlands Dairy Milk Standard has also been rolled out to all milk producers of Woodlands Dairy. Producer farms are surveyed every second year to ensure producers’ compliance with legal, regulative and industry requirements. Each farm is audited by an independent quality auditor and measured against pre-determined criteria, accepted and approved by management and the Woodlands Dairy Milk Producers Organisation (WDMPO).
Quarterly visits and surveys are conducted on producer farms by Woodlands Dairy Sustainability and Producer Services departments to verify the upkeep of the Milk Standard by the producers. Producers are required to submit monthly reports regarding critical control points to the Sustainability Department. Any non-conformances regarding sub-standard practices are investigated and addressed.
The criteria used for these surveys focus on the following main aspects: The environment surrounding the milking parlour, the maintenance of the structures and equipment, safe water supply and waste management systems. Criteria used are:
- Housekeeping and hygiene in the milking parlour and the safe handling of chemicals.
- Pre-milk routines and effective separation of safe milk and milk not fit for human consumption.
- Maintenance of milking equipment and ensuring a high level of hygiene of the equipment.
- Milk Storage facility and equipment should be kept at a high level of hygiene and access controlled to the facility. Further, there should be effective measures in place to eliminate access of pests, domestic animals and insects to the facility.
- The safe transfer of milk to the milk storage facility and collection of milk by the tanker vehicle for transporting to the processing plant.
Focus on personal hygiene of staff and relevant training to equip them to handle and maintain the facility and equipment to be food-safe and hygienic.
- Attention is given to the safe handling and storage of animal medicine. There should be access control to medication and records should be kept of animals that have been treated to manage withdrawal periods.
- Furthermore, an effective record-keeping system of all animals should be in place regarding life-history, inoculations, treatments and all tests performed by a veterinarian to ensure the animals are cleared/safe to be milked for human consumption.
The wellbeing of staff working on the farms is measured against compliance with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. Employment contracts are randomly verified, which stipulates working hours, wages and leave benefits. Furthermore, their housing facilities are also surveyed to be adequate with essential facilities such as running water and sanitary facilities.
The welfare of animals is measured against the internationally accepted criteria of the Five Freedoms of animals. These freedoms encompass the following:
- Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease
- Freedom from fear
- Animals can engage in relatively normal patterns of animal behaviour
Animals and the animal handling facilities are physically inspected to verify the above-mentioned criteria in order that animal freedoms are met.
A continuous measuring and monitoring system is in place to measure the quality of milk from every producer supplier to Woodlands Dairy. The quality of milk is measured against the following criteria:
- Somatic Cell Count (SCC)
- Absence of antibiotics
- The absence of added water
Woodlands Dairy aspires to the core principles of Corporate Governance according to King IV.
- Effective leadership – Our board and EXCO leadership define the strategy, business direction and ethical values that influence our sustainability performance.
- Sustainability is our primary moral and economic guideline and it is an important source of both opportunities and risks for our business. The directors and management are fully aligned with running the business always in consideration of this important factor.
- Innovation, fairness, and collaboration are key aspects of our sustainability journey. Innovation provides new ways of doing things. Fairness is vital because social injustice is unsustainable.
- Social transformation and fair compensation are important in forming an integral part of our ongoing business practices on our journey of transformation.
- Sustainability reporting has been implemented as a core aspect of our corporate governance.
Our core values are the cornerstones of Woodlands Dairy. They are deeply rooted and govern the manner in which we conduct ourselves as a company and as directors, management and employees of the company.
Our Ethics and Integrity Subcommittee meets bi-monthly to drive ethical business practices at an operational level across the company. The subcommittee comprises of the EXCO Committee and is chaired by the Chairman and CEO of Woodlands Dairy.
The economic prosperity of the business is the most important element of business sustainability as it helps to facilitate every one of the other sustainability elements of the company. Rigorous annual goals are set to ensure the continued financial growth of the company.
The economic prosperity of the business is the most important element of business sustainability as it helps to facilitate every one of the other sustainability elements of the company.
Woodlands Dairy maintains a risk register to keep a record of significant risks in the business and linked to this register are action plans to mitigate such risks. The risk register is reviewed on a regular basis by the EXCO team and feedback is given to the Social, Ethics, Audit & Risk (SEAR) Committee on a quarterly basis on how the EXCO team is managing the severity and probability of the business risks.