Sourcing and supplier partnering
Hero is a global company, and we make a huge range of products across a variety of categories. Our Procurement team keeps environmental and social criteria in focus, and this is key to deliver on our sustainability commitment.
The team has a clear set of objectives, and participates in meaningful collaboration with our suppliers, whether they provide us with ingredients, packaging, finished goods, or services. We are convinced that success depends on forming trustful partnerships, and on working together over time to cut carbon emissions, protect the natural world, and improve conditions for workers.
What have we done so far?
They’re small, but without them we would face serious problems. Bees are among the world’s most prolific pollinators. Our bee careful initiative focuses on this very important though small creature for our ecosystem. We have done research to develop a toolkit that creates bee-inspired ecosystems aimed at improving biodiversity and enhancing yields.
Strong direct relationships with our farmers
We are also building strong direct relationships with our farmers to increase the percentage of raw materials directly sourced. For example, 89% of our fruit sourcing in Spain is direct, while this figure stands at 70% in Schwartau, Germany. These close partnerships allow us to work together to positively impact biodiversity through sharing best practices in sustainable farming.
Sustainable farming fosters practices that help preserve our environment while producing better crops, better raw materials, and better food. Our sustainable farming principles provide a definition based on what we believe we can achieve in our food system. They form the foundation of how we work with our suppliers and farmers across the Hero Group.
“Our sustainability strategy is derived from our mission, and we commit ourselves to make a positive difference. This means that we will up our game.”
Chief Executive Officer Hero Group
Supporting developing countries
While we aim to source locally where we can, we buy significant volumes of tropical fruit, cocoa and oils from developing countries. As we are aware of increased social and environmental risks in special areas, we pay special attention to commodities and origins within our procurement processes.
We choose to support suppliers in these regions that work within recognized certification schemes such as Rainforest Alliance and Smeta, or that work directly with the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO). Where possible, we choose to support smallholder farmers and to partner with them to improve on-farm productivity, social engagement, and environmental benefits.
Our sustainability pillars
Sourcing & Supplier Partnering
We work in partnership with our suppliers on sustainable agriculture and fair labor conditions. We are also innovating to make our ingredient sourcing and packaging more sustainable.
Production and transport efficiency
We continuously improve the efficiency of our production, switch to renewable electricity, conserve energy and water, and reduce waste. We optimize our transport and deploy technologies for decarbonization.
Naturally healthy food
Conserving nature's goodness via naturally healthy food. We will leverage our brands to educate and collaborate with consumers on a holistic diet good for us and for the planet. We will enhance our portfolio to give consumers more naturally healthy options – more of the good like nuts and whole grain and less of the bad like refined sugar and red meat.
Growing and developing our people. Hero is a values-led family company and that's reflected in our culture. We work hard to keep our team feeling engaged, included, and motivated. We encourage personal development, health and safety in our workplaces, and we engage with local communities.
To increase transparency in our supply chain, we use external tools and certification systems such as EcoVadis or Sedex which give us access to information about a supplier’s approach to corporate social responsibility and sustainability.
These tools are integrated into our supplier assessment tool, meaning that sustainability is always considered when we select a supplier and when we evaluate its performance towards Hero standards.
Over time, we aim to increase the weight of the sustainability performance in our assessment tools.
Code of Conduct Supplier & Business Partner
Our mission to ‘delight consumers by conserving the goodness of nature’ can only be achieved with the support and co-operation of those with whom we work. This Code of Conduct outlines Hero’s requirements for suppliers and business partners. It incorporates ingredients, packaging, transportation, third party manufacturers, service providers, and sub-contractors employed within the Hero supply chain.
Our packaging principles
Packaging constitutes around 10% of waste globally. Each EU citizen generated an estimated 175kg in 2018. At 77.5 million tons in a year, that’s a lot of waste, with a significant environmental impact. Improving our approach to packaging is crucial for our sustainable sourcing transformation. The principles provide a framework for thinking and assessing packaging in a more sustainable way.