Julian Smith, Strategic Information Services, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board
How do you communicate your sustainability/Corporate Social Responsibility/Creating Shared Value initiatives on the average individual consumer pack? These are typically complex, multi-dimensional programmes that are difficult enough to cover succintly on A4 pages.
One solution is to be found in our local market here (and apparently in Britain) is an interesting use of QR codes by Nestlé that allows them communicate on-pack a great deal of material about elements of their “Creating Shared Value” plan. This is similar to a piece we featured recently on McDonald’s carrying nutritional information on take-away packaging. While this Kit Kat example (currently on the multi-packs of eight ‘two finger’ bars) does have nutritional elements as in the McDonald’s case, it does extend into other aspects of their plan for Creating Shared Value.
Scanning the QR code on the reverse of the pack leads you to information on the nutritional, environmental and social aspects of the product (if you don’t have a smartphone or tablet with an appropriate ‘app’ and/or can’t find the product in a store near you, you can follow this link and see the pages on your personal computer). The environmental section explains the “product life cycle” as encompassing raw material sourcing (the most significant impact on the environment for Kit Kat where they boast of working with First Milk, a farmer owned co-operative in Scotland), manufacturing, packaging and distribution, consumption (including admonitions about not leaving unfinished product around!) through to disposal with advice on recycling the packaging. It also includes some bullet points on their “global actions” – Water; Climate Change; Energy; Waste and Biodiversity (also referred to as Natural Capital in the full document) – with links to the appropriate section of their web site.
The social section of the pages that can be read on a smartphone are Responsible Sourcing and Community Engagement, the latter featuring their support of an organisation called Fare Share which attempts to address both food waste and hunger in Britain and Ireland. While the content immediately encountered on the smartphone is not extensive, it is far more than might be encountered on even the largest consumer pack and they all contain links to further information on the full web site for those thirsting for more information. The fuller version on the web site encompasses staff issues including diversity and health and safety.
Nestlé’s British and Irish plan for Creating Shared Value 2012 is available on their web site and runs over 25 colourful and ‘busy’ pages if you download it. The plan is independently assured by Bureau Veritas so that ‘stakeholders’ can be assured of their performance against the plan, but it does use slightly different terminology and classification of initiatives than one gets on the smartphone version. “Creating Shared Value” (CSV) as a concept was articulated by the renowned Professor Michael Porter of Harvard Business School in an article co-written in Jan/Feb 2011 with Mark Kramer of the Foundation Strategy Group .