On 19 March, at an event hosted by the Italian Embassy, Ferrero Australia launched a report titled Sharing Values to Create Value – Corporate Social Responsibility. The report canvasses the company’s philosophy and principles. These include respect for human rights (eg no exploitation of workers or use of child labour); respect for the environment (move towards self-production energy at each plant, reduce CO2 emissions, reduce water consumption and use packaging from renewable sources); use of raw materials (cocoa, palm oil) from sustainable sources and use barn-laid eggs; and promotion of healthy lifestyles particularly among children through its Kinder+Sport program.
The main reason why Ferrero can afford to be a good corporate citizen is that it is still family-owned and therefore it is not under shareholder pressure to maximise profits and minimize costs at the expense of its workforce, product quality, or the environment. Founded at Alba in 1946 by Pietro Ferrero, it employs over 22,000 people and has 41 operational sites as well as 18 production plants around the world including in Australia (Lithgow), Africa, India and South America. It has become a global company but at the same time has maintained a local focus for instance through sponsoring cultural events. It even takes care of its retired employees by providing them with opportunities to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.
Among the many awards won by Ferrero, in 2011 it was rated by “Global RepTrak 100” as the Italian company with the best reputation internationally.
So the next time you enjoy one of its delicious chocolates, you can also feel pleased with yourself because you have bought a product from a company that is in the business not just to make money but also to contribute to society’s well-being by behaving ethically in all its operations, something that is all too rare in the corporate world.