Annual Report 2014/15Detailed Picture

Letter to our stakeholders

With Chr. Hansen’s business strategy, Nature’s No. 1, we have a vision of enabling the wider adoption of natural ingredients and bioscience  solutions to address important global challenges within food, health and agriculture. As a result, we consider social responsibility an integral part of our company’s purpose: it is about the solutions we offer to the world and it is about the manner in which we deliver them.

Applying nature to address global challenges

As a supplier to the food, health and agricultural industries, Chr. Hansen is working closely with its customers and partners to find innovative solutions to meet the needs of a growing global population for safe, healthy and nutritious products. At Chr. Hansen, we believe we have the insight and technology to become part of the solution, and we consider this a fundamental part of our social contribution and our license to grow in the future.

During 2014/15, we took several steps to further advance the adoption of natural ingredients in addressing some of the challenges the world faces in relation to agriculture, food and health. In our animal health business, we saw an increased interest in new solutions and concepts to meet the demand for natural alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters; we made further advances with our first natural plant protection product, Nemix C™, offering Brazilian sugarcane farmers an alternative to chemicals; and we initiated a new research collaboration to accelerate progress in next-generation bacteria with potentially beneficial health impacts. Most importantly, these investments are not something we do on the side – it is what we do every day, and it is an integrated part of our Company’s core purpose.

Integrity and responsibility remain at our core

At Chr. Hansen, we remain committed to conducting our business with the highest standards of integrity. We have worked systematically with the integration of the United Nations Global Compact principles since 2009, and we are committed to driving continuous improvement on social, environmental, ethical and governance dimensions and disclosing progress to all relevant stakeholders.

During 2014/15, we saw notable improvements in a number of areas which we consider material, both to our business and to our stakeholders. One such area is our commitment to food safety throughout the value chain, where we achieved an important milestone with all production sites now certified to the internationally recognized food safety standard FSSC 22000. With the majority of Chr. Hansen’s products ending up in food, beverages or dietary supplements, we have a significant responsibility to ensure that our products are safe for consumption. At the same time, our strong performance in this area gives us an advantage in global markets where attention to food safety is not always the norm. Going forward, attention to food safety will continue to be a critical focus area and an important part of Chr. Hansen’s value proposition.

Another important development during 2014/15 was the continued success of our behavior-based safety initiatives first launched in 2012 to address a safety performance level that was not acceptable. For the fourth year in a row, we have seen a measurable improvement in lost-time incidents. This must not lead to complacency, and we will continue to work hard at getting our systems, processes and culture  right until we reach zero accidents.

Finally, following a decrease in our Environmental Performance Indicators (EPIs) last year compared to the base year (2012/13), we saw an improvement in our energy, CO2 and water efficiency. With these improvements, our EPIs are back at the same level as in 2012/13 with further progress needed to reach our long-term targets for 2019/20. 

Looking ahead

With upcoming developments such as the climate negotiations in Paris and the adoption of the United Nations' new Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, we expect to see more opportunities for companies to leverage their core capabilities and technologies in addressing important social challenges. During 2014/15, we will assess, and potentially adjust, the strategic direction set out in our core business strategy, Nature’s No. 1. Likewise, we will review our long-term responsibility targets and ambition level to ensure alignment and integration with the core strategy.

Cees de Jong
President & CEO

This report, Chr. Hansen’s Communication on Progress to the UN Global Compact, addresses the requirements of sections 99a and 99b of the Danish Financial Statements Act.