Sustainability: Is Business Doing Enough? Part 2

Posted: July 12, 2011 in Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, Sustainability
Tags: , ,

Wolfgang Weinmann, CafeDirect, continued the debate by talking about the efforts that CafeDirect has made since its inception, how it became the first large beverage company to ensure that sustainability was deeply engrained into its business operations and how sustainability helped CafeDirect defined itself as a company.

Wolfgang began by asking whether or not you could profit from sustainabiluty and argued that it is in fact sustainability that benefits from business and profitability. He used the example of sustainability in the supply chain – how you can use a process that involves several different stakeholders to identify opportunities for sustainability and really drive benefits.

He raised an interesting point around how businesses must help consumers behave in a more sustainable manner. The issue that CafeDirect faces as a hot beverage company its their consumers who have the larger carbon footprint. To this extent he claimed that what his business needed to do was to help their customers find more effective ways to benefit from sustainability – and the best way for CafeDirect was to improve the supply chain.

Wolfgang also commented that whilst businesses must improve their environmental footprint, they also have to consider their social footprint – particularly in developing companies.  For CafeDirect, as with most businesses, the aim is to deliver an outstanding product so how can businesses ensure that they also consider sustainability and CSR when the product is a priority.

He raised an interesting point – organic food may be syonymous with  sustainability but because the consumer sees no real benefit despite paying more for a product,  its no wonder that organic consumption has fallen in the last few years.

To the above point, he highlighted that CafeDirect was not a profit driven business, instead it was about finding the most sustainable way to operate its business through every step of the supply chain. He referenced the close relationship CafeDirect has with its farmers to ensure that when they go to market, the farmers are assured that the drive for profit does not distract the business from ensuring that it does its best for those it works with.

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