Taking our sustainability commitment to a new level
A materiality analysis has laid the foundation for BioGaia’s ongoing sustainability work. We have a clear strategy and have set the goals and priorities for 2017. Our sustainability initiatives have been given structure and a long-term approach.
In 2016 BioGaia reviewed its sustainability work. In connection with this, a materiality analysis was carried out to define the future strategic focus and to ensure compliance with the new legislation on non-financial reporting and board diversity.
“One of the main goals of the project was to better integrate sustainability work into our core activities,” says Eva Nelson, Communications and Sustainability Manager at BioGaia. “Another was to improve our communication about what we are already doing.”
Key stakeholder opinions important
The first part of the project consisted of a market analysis to identify the global megatrends that are shaping the world and how these could affect BioGaia. This also included a review of international initiatives and policies and benchmarking against competitors in the industry.
Surveys and interviews were carried out with a number of key internal and external stakeholders who had the opportunity to give their views on BioGaia’s challenges and opportunities from a sustainability perspective. To increase the understanding of what external stakeholders consider to be BioGaia’s most important focus areas, they were asked to take a stand on a number of specific aspects and evaluate the importance of corporate social responsibility for BioGaia’s future.
Selected stakeholder groups:
Shareholders, investors, suppliers, board members, distribution partners (customers), special interest groups and academia (researchers).
The final part of the project was an internal workshop with BioGaia’s management. The members of the management team discussed the same issues as the external stakeholders and then ranked the various aspects.
“When the results of the external and internal analyses were combined, it became clear that everyone was essentially in agreement. Both internal and external stakeholders ranked sustainability work as highly important and there was also far-reaching consensus about which issues were the most central for BioGaia,” says Eva. “Some of the issues that most people agreed on as being the most significant for BioGaia to handle and communicate were the safety and quality of the products, that purchasing is carried out in a responsible manner, that the company has a sustainable supply chain, and how BioGaia contributes to global health.”
The next step
The most important aspects have been categorized in four strategic focus areas:
- products and production
- supply chain
- attractive employer
- contribution to global health.
For issues such as conducting ethical and responsible marketing, having policies for bribery and compliance with laws, BioGaia has been found to already have established internal rules and policies, and these have therefore ended up outside the focus areas.
In order to set realistic goals for 2017, BioGaia’s management further prioritized the most material aspects in each of the strategic focus areas.
“For the aspects that were given highest priority, we will now break these down into greater detail, set goals for them and work with them during the year,” says Eva. “Other issues in the strategic areas will be prioritized in the next few years, but there is no detailed plan for these at present.”
Sustainability part of core operations
“The materiality analysis has helped us define the most significant aspects for being a sustainable company. Fortunately, it turned out that virtually all these issues were found within our core operations, which was one of our ambitions when we started the project. Now we know that we focus on and communicate issues that are important to both us and our stakeholders. These efforts must naturally be upheld and continuously evaluated, but now we have a platform to work from, which is a big step forward,” says Eva.