In the business world, we frequently hear executives asking what value a program brings to an organization, placing emphasis on immediate profit rather than long-term impact. At Keurig Green Mountain, we have designed our business on a model that creates value for all that are touched by our work, including employees, manufacturers, coffee farmers and our local communities. Our business model reflects our roots as a socially minded coffee roaster, and it’s our belief that we can best grow our business and make progress toward our commitment to Brew A Better World™ by authentically aligning our company goals with our values.
In our rapidly evolving world, companies can no longer afford to approach social responsibility as an add-on feature to their business plan. In fact, 80 percent of global CEOs believe that demonstrating a commitment to social responsibility is a differentiator in their business. This has been largely influenced by today’s consumer, who expects companies to take a stand on issues, ranging from responsible stewardship of natural resources to greater transparency on global challenges. To break through and gain credibility with these consumers and stakeholders, companies must take a holistic approach to social responsibility, infusing it into every element of business.
As a company founded on social responsibility, we’ve always had a commitment to do more than what’s expected. Social responsibility is key to driving our business forward, fueled by the passion of our employees and partners around the world who share our vision. Our recently released 2017 Sustainability Report underscores the accomplishments and opportunities in our ongoing work to improve the lives of coffee farmers, care for our earth and impact local communities. A few highlights from the report include:
- We’ve made great progress on our 2020 environmental targets. Coming on the heels of having met our 2020 GHG reduction goal of 25 percent in 2016, we’re pleased to announce that we met our water stewardship target in 2017, by restoring 6,154 million liters of water. Additionally, we’re aiming to have 100 percent of our pods recyclable in Canada by the end of 2018, moving us closer to our 2020 target of 100 percent conversion in North America.
- A cumulative 485,000 lives have been improved in our coffee supply chain. Initiatives to support this effort have resulted in better farming practices, new sources of income for farmers and community access to clean water. By 2020, 100 percent of the coffee we buy will be responsibly sourced via our partnerships with certification and verification organizations.
- In 2017, we had 78 percent of our employees engage in opportunities ranging from education and volunteerism programs to company-sponsored trips to coffee farms around the world; in total, our employees logged more than 50,000 volunteer hours.
This is only a small glimpse into the work we are doing, but to me, it demonstrates how sustainability is integrated across all areas of our work, touching our products, operations and people. We are proud to say that our values are vital to meeting our company goals, and we are more excited than ever about what can be accomplished in the future.
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While each company’s approach to social responsibility is dependent upon its unique mission, a few key lessons can set businesses up to make a positive impact.
1. Lead with values.
Companies that align their values with their business goals build trust with stakeholders and consumers. For us, social responsibility is the cornerstone of our company — and authentic communication and partnership with our customers, our business partners and our employees bring these values to life.
2. Understand and measure your impact.
When setting your goals, take stock of where you can uniquely make impact through innovation and partnerships. This allows you the opportunity to connect your social responsibility programs with your products and services. Measuring the impact of projects and programs, such as our water balance, is then meaningful not only to the company, but to all connected to our business.
3. Engage employees in your mission.
Embedding social responsibility into the workplace and ensuring your employees fully understand and can deliver against the company’s goals will help drive your mission forward. Through programs such as our employee source trips, our employees experience our values in action and feel more connected to the work we do. All employees should be given the opportunity to make a positive impact through their work, whether on the job or in the communities where your business operates.
To read more about Keurig’s approach to sustainability, view our recently released 2017 Sustainability Report at www.BrewABetterWorld.com.