The Dutch food combine Royal Wessanen has published its first Sustainability Report, which outlines the company’s environmental, social and economic performance in 2005.

The company described the publication of the report as “the next important step in building focus on the core qualities of profitable growth through authenticity, transparency and sustainability”.

“This report represents an important milestone for our company. After several years of restructuring, Wessanen is now setting out on a new journey with a clear vision of what we want to achieve,” president and CEO Ad Veenhof writes in his introduction. “The report is intended for our stakeholders, whether they are shareholders, employees, suppliers, customers or society at large. We hope that they will applaud our commitment to sustainability, and recognise it as a sensible and modern way of assessing our social, environmental and economic status.”

Among other areas, the report examines the company’s record in terms of sustainability and the environmental impact of its activities; the labelling, sourcing and marketing of food; and the company’s relationship with its employees.

In the area of sustainability, Wessanen has created a Sustainability Board which reviews and updates the group’s Sustainability Policy and encourages the integration of sustainability principles across all areas of operation, reviewing the effectiveness of sustainability practices.

In terms of environmental performance, the report sets out a number of key objectives for the company, namely to develop an approach for supply chain responsibility; achieve ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications for 90% of Wessanen subsidiaries by January 2007; reduce cooling agent consumption by 20% by the end of 2007; and set up Wessanen’s Energy Plan 2012 to reduce Wessanen’s CO2 footprint.

Under the heading product authenticity, the company outlines its approach regarding food safety, labelling and marketing. Wessanen says in the report that it has created extra requirements known as Wessanen Food Safety Plus (WFS+) which go beyond the legal requirements and build on HACCP and the new ISO 22000 standard regarding food safety. An updated version of the WFS+ document was published early this year and is to be implemented in the course of this year.

In terms of its relationship with its employees, the company said that among its key achievements in 2005 were the introduction of a new Leadership Development Model and the broadening of the application of a Personal Development Plan to 89% of Wessanen employees. Primary future objectives in this area include the launch an Employee Engagement Survey; raising the average number of training hours to 20 hours per employee in 2006; and holding works council elections at local, national and European level.