Interview with Roland Buchwalder and Joao Fontes of Givaudan

31st August 2022

“Every member has a voice, whether you are one of the large dairy buyers or a small processor or farmer cooperative. It is this inclusivity that we value most”

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Givaudan is the global leader in the creation of flavours and fragrances. Through it’s Sourcing4Good programme, Givaudan is committed to playing its part in ensuring a sustainable future and aligning business performance with the expectations of stakeholders and society.

We recently met with Roland Buchwalder, Global Dairy Procurement Lead and Joao Fontes, Responsible Sourcing Manager to discuss the value of their engagement in SAI Platform’s Dairy Working Group.

Roland Buchwalder and Joao Fontes of Givaudan.

How does Givaudan benefit from being actively engaged in the Dairy Working Group despite not being a large dairy buyer?

Roland Buchwalder: 

Sustainability is at the heart of our business, driven by our purpose – creating for happier healthier lives with love for nature. As we fulfil our bold sustainability ambitions and live up to our purpose every day, collaboration is vital.

Our membership of SAI Platform and our participation in the Dairy Working Group allow us to tap into the insights, experience and expertise of members from various industries, enabling us to go further, faster. Every member has a voice, whether you are one of the large dairy buyers or a small processor or farmer cooperative. It is this inclusivity that we value most.

João Fontes: 

By being a member of this working group, we can contribute to driving change at sector level. In this way, we can maximise the impact we can make at a global level. SAI Platform ensures that its industry-led sustainability solutions, including the SDP, offer online guidance documents to support with both adoption and scalability.

Engaging our suppliers is a vital part of our journey and the Dairy Working Group provides the tools and technical support that is required to help them get onboard and encourage them to take action with us. For example, the Sustainable Dairy Partnership (SDP) Reporting Hub allows dairy producers to share detailed sustainability data and information with dairy buyers. This tool allows the Dairy industry to consolidate data into one platform, saving time spent on other data and audit requests. The members of the Dairy Working Group are committed to using the SDP Report Hub instead of requesting farm audits from dairy producers, increasing efficiency and avoiding duplication of effort.

What are the key characteristics of the Dairy Working Group that make it a unique collaborative space?  

Roland Buchwalder:

SAI Platform provides the potential for a unique collaborative space within which the Dairy Working Group realises this to the maximum and unites an industry with a view across the entire value chain, from suppliers to customers. It offers a precompetitive space, facilitating open dialogue, with high levels of transparency. This inclusive approach, which focuses on continuous improvement and the provision of practical tools to members, really helps us to boost the impact we can have.

The working group has developed tools like the SDP together, with the active involvement of members including Givaudan. This helps us to leverage synergies across companies and create a harmonised approach for the dairy industry at large.

What value has the interaction with other SAI Platform members brought to Givaudan?

João Fontes:

It has allowed us to further accelerate progress by harnessing insights from members at different stages of the journey towards sustainable dairy. The interaction with other members has provided us with a continued source of invaluable inspiration on best practices. It has allowed us to stay closely connected with the evolving industry standards and requirements at all times.

We get insight into how other companies are addressing the challenges and opportunities when it comes to transitioning towards a more sustainable dairy industry, enabling us to make solid progress on our sustainable agenda. Through this collaboration we have been able to increase agility in this area. The SDP Report is now the standard for dairy sustainability at farm level for Givaudan and we have successfully embedded it into our Sourcing4Good programme.

What have you learned from collaborating precompetitively with the bigger dairy players? 

Roland Buchwalder: 

We’ve found the process highly constructive. The key takeaway for me is that it is through industry collaboration that we can continue to accelerate action and amplify our impact across the whole dairy value chain, from farm to consumer.

How are the projects undertaken by the Dairy Working Group assisting Givaudan in achieving its ambitious sustainability targets?

João Fontes:

Sustainability is at the heart of our business at Givaudan. We have set a number of bold purpose and sustainability commitments, including our ambition to become a climate positive business before 2050 (scope 1, 2 and 3), and to source all materials and services in a way that protects people and the environment by 2030.

In order for us to achieve these goals, we need to address underlying issues such as deforestation and GHG emissions in our supply chain, which also relate to our dairy portfolio. For this reason, we are active members of the Dairy Working Group’s deforestation and carbon workstreams. The practical progress being made in the deforestation workstream is very promising for us as we believe the outcome can be a game-changer in addressing deforestation within the animal feed supply chain. Likewise, the tools and methodology currently being created and piloted by the carbon workstream have the potential to help us in achieving our climate goals.

For more information on Givaudan’s sustainability commitments, visit their website. To find out more about the deforestation and carbon workstreams within SAI Platform’s Dairy Working Group, please contact Patricia Garcia Diaz, Dairy Director, SAI Platform.