Thursday, April 25, 2024

Why Synlait’s B Corp status matters

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Hamish Reid, director sustainability and brand, shares Synlait’s Certified B Corporation journey and tells us why pledging to use business as a force for good is an essential part of the Canterbury-based company’s DNA.
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Synlait Milk started life as a dairy farming company in 2000. Fast-forward 20 years and it is a 21st century milk nutrition company harnessing New Zealand’s natural capital and combining expert farming with state-of-the-art processing to produce a range of nutritional milk products. 

Doing Milk Differently for a Healthier World is the reason Synlait exists. It shapes who we are, what we stand for and what we do. 

We realised early on that consumers were craving a change. 

We all have rapidly evolving expectations on how companies should care for people and the planet, and as a central player in NZ’s food and fibre sector, we wanted Synlait to be a catalyst for this change. 

This ambition, and subsequent commitment, was recognised in June when Synlait’s strategic decision to elevate people and the planet to the same level as profit was acknowledged when we became a Certified B Corporation™.

Achieving B Corp certification was a goal we set in early 2018. It played a central part in our vision to launch bold social and environmental performance targets later that same year, followed by a new purpose and brand identity. 

We knew that our disruptive, innovative spirit, combined with resolute determination to do the right thing for the planet and people would set us apart from the competition – and now it has.

For us being B Corp certified starts in the paddocks of our nearly 300 milk suppliers in the Canterbury and Waikato regions. 

Our Lead with Pride programme is a huge milk sourcing and retention advantage to Synlait. By recognising and rewarding best practice, it helps us source milk from the best farms that have similar values to us. 

Our milk suppliers also see it as a positive challenge to farm better. The Lead with Pride programme was a key driver in Synlait becoming B Corp certified.

Our customers see the difference too. 

We are a key supply partner for Danone’s Early Life Nutrition in NZ and Asia Pacific. Danone, a leading world food company, is a passionate member of the B Corp™ movement, and they have acknowledged that together we have a great opportunity to keep shaping our industry for the better, while making sustainable business mainstream.

During the B Corp assessment process we identified commercial opportunities and operational improvements which would improve the performance of Synlait. 

We are actively pursuing these opportunities, which extend across our value chain, and we look forward to seeing them realised with the support of our key customers.

Becoming B Corp certified is a stringent process. A team of over 30 of our people were engaged to complete the comprehensive B Impact Assessment™ which measures a company’s ongoing impact across its workers, community and suppliers, customers, governance and the environment. 

Using business as a force for good is most powerful when your team is mobilised and passionate about making a difference. 

Now that we are certified, the process does not stop. 

This is a journey of continuous improvement for Synlait and I am inspired by our team of over 1000  who have accepted this challenge. 

Doing Milk Differently for a Healthier World truly is taking Synlait to a new level.

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