Photo: Dupont
27-06-19 DI Business News

DuPont stops all development that doesn’t serve SDGs

The 50 top leaders at DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences have identified seven central goals and two focus areas within the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In autumn, the company will host a workshop presenting tools for others with the same ambitions.

The 50 top leaders at DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences have identified seven central goals and two focus areas within the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In autumn, the company will host a workshop presenting tools for others with the same ambitions.

“We’ve created a model based on the UN’s 17 SDGs that can be used to screen innovation projects and enhance the development of more sustainable products. If new products score below a certain level in terms of fulfilling the SDGs, we stop or change the project,” explains Mikkel Thrane, Global Sustainability Leader at DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences.

He and the company are part of the project ”From Philanthropy to Business”, and Mikkel Thrane has had no trouble convincing the company’s management that the SDGs need to be integrated in the business.

And that was the case despite the fact that the company is undergoing a number of organisational changes that impact its finances.

See also: Blog: Three tips for becoming a sustainable manager

The article continues below the photo. 

50 top leaders at DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences took part in a workshop through the project “From Philanthropy to Business”. Here, they pinpointed seven central SDGs and two focus areas.

Several thousands of products to be reviewed

Initially, the challenge was to figure out which of the 17 SDGs could be integrated into the business. The company’s 50 top leaders therefore took part in a workshop through the “From Philanthropy to Business” project. Here, they pinpointed seven central SDGs and two focus areas. One is the SDGs within innovation and one is the SDGs in relation to the company’s portfolio.

As part of the latter, the company has launched an initiative which will result in the company’s several thousand products being ranked in sustainability “levels”, where products at the top could be labelled “top performer”, while the next level might be “performer”. Below that, a “standard” level, and at the bottom, a “challenged” category.

We’ve appointed someone full time to work on ranking our existing products according to sustainability, measuring to what degree they fulfil the SDGs, among other things. Mikkel Thrane, Global Sustainability Leader at DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences

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Avoiding greenwashing

The hope is that the ranking will help create an internal incentive to bring the less sustainable products up to the next level.

“It should help create an internal drive in the company,” says Mikkel Thrane and points to yet another challenge that has led DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences to bring in a consultant and more experts.

“We need to make sure that this is scientific and that we avoid greenwashing or SDG-washing. We need some clear criteria, so we avoid too much cherry-picking. The method will be developed following the WBCSD’s ‘Framework for Portfolio Sustainability Assessment’. The better we do our homework, the easier it will be to explain why one product performs better than another,” says Mikkel Thrane, emphasising the fact that the company’s work with the sustainability scale is still very new.

“This year, we’ve focussed on developing our methods, and next we’ll be looking at how to implement it and create optimal value,” says Mikkel Thrane.

See also: SDGs and sustainability are necessary for recruiting young people

Opens the door to knowledge sharing and networking

As part of its participation in the “From Philanthropy to Business” project, DuPont will be hosting a network meeting this autumn. The meeting is part of the ”Network for SDGs and strategy”, which will organise 6 network meetings focussed on the SDGs throughout autumn.

At DuPont, the focus will be on “The SDGs as a business driver,” offering a number of good examples. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to work with methods that can help develop their business within the scope of the SDGs.

“The network is for all sectors and all company sizes. The common denominator is an interest in adopting the SDGs as a strategic framework for one’s core business, and there will be many concrete examples that can serve as a starting point for the company’s own SDG initiatives,” says Henrik Schramm Rasmussen, Senior Consultant at the Confederation of Danish Industry.

See also: Carlsberg makes green tables out of recycled plastic kegs

TIPS

FOR WORKING WITH THE SDGS

3 tips from DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences 

DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences Global Sustainability Leader Mikkel Thrane here offers three tips for those interested in incorporating the SDGs into their company:

1) Limit yourself! Focus on a few of the goals. Ideally, narrow it down to two or three - we have chosen seven, but we’re also a company that operates very broadly.

2) What are you already doing? Find out what goals your company already supports and use them as the starting point for new SDG projects.

3) Find some tools! - There are various guides for what role the company can take on in terms of fulfilling the SDGs. Find two or three guides, publications or tools and use them. We used the Global Reporting Initiative's “An Analysis of the Goals and Targets” and the UN’s "The SDG Compass - UN Global Compact".

FACTS

Dupont Nutrition & Biosciences

DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences is a global leader supplying ingredients and product solutions for the food, beverage, dietary supplement and pharmaceutical industries.

DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences is part of DuPont.

Employees at DuPont Nutrition & Health: 10000+

Headquarters: Copenhagen

Read more about DuPont’s sustainability strategy here.

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