Responsibility in our Supply Chain
The Strauss Group purchases products and services from 17,000 suppliers worldwide and strives to build long-term relationships with them that are based on mutual trust and accountability and adherence to sustainable processes. We recognize the fact that as a large and influential company, we bear a commitment and a responsibility toward our business partners. We expect our suppliers to conduct their business responsibly, both from an economic standpoint, and from a social-environmental standpoint and to fulfill their commitments in accordance with all laws and agreements. We strive to work with a wide variety of suppliers and to support suppliers in peripheral areas and development areas as well as with companies that employ people with special needs.
Engagement with Local Suppliers
We make efforts to implement a policy and targets to increase the scope of our work with local suppliers wherever we operate. 80% of all of Strauss Israel’s suppliers are Israeli suppliers. Strauss Coffee purchases green coffee beans which are produced in more than 60 countries and purchased from some 50 different suppliers. Purchasing depends on harvest times, the quality and taste of the coffee beans and the price. We follow established procedures for inspecting the quality of the green coffee beans in accordance with regulations. Other than the purchase of coffee, we engage with local suppliers. All suppliers of Elite Coffee are Israeli, other than the purchase of single-use containers (half of which are purchased from foreign suppliers). Sabra has significant contracts with a number of local suppliers. Corrugated cardboard packaging constitutes the most significant category, alongside the purchase of fresh vegetables from local suppliers. Sabra strives to purchase as much as is economically and logistically possible from local suppliers.
The Supplier Evaluation Process
Ethical behavior throughout our supply chain constitutes the basis for sustainability, quality and safety in the production process of our products. We expect our suppliers to meet the highest quality, safety and health standards. As part of the supplier evaluation process, we constantly monitor quality assurance. The vast majority of the suppliers with whom we do business are required to adopt the most stringent quality and safety standards, such as ISO 22000, ISO 14000, ISO 9001 and HACCP packaging standards and food safety methodologies that manage and monitor all of the critical control points in the production process. We give preference to suppliers who provide certification or who declare that they act pursuant to the principles of fair trade.
At Strauss Israel
We continually evaluate our suppliers as part of our strategy, and assess a number of parameters including ethical practices, human rights, quality, service, cost, transparency and other aspects of supply. Each parameter constitutes a percentage of the evaluation grade. The evaluation process is comprehensive and includes a proactive inspection of samples at the supplier premises. Manpower suppliers declare that they are committed to paying their employees in line with legal wage and benefits and some are audited by an accountant. During 2010, 50 suppliers underwent the full supplier evaluation process in addition to the 23 suppliers who were evaluated in 2009.
Therefore, approximately 0.13% of Strauss Group suppliers have undergone evaluation.
Strauss Group Companies around the World
- At Sabra, the main corrugated cardboard supplier – the International Paper Company –is approved by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). PNW, the sole supplier of hummus, reports that all of their towers operate pursuant to the instructions of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). In addition, 5-10% of the suppliers are approved by the Food Alliance Certified (FAC).
- Elite Coffee ensures that social benefits are paid to contracted employees by obtaining the salary slips from the employment companies.
- At Três Corações, Brazil, supplier evaluation is conducted relating to compliance with labor laws by obtaining relevant documents each month.
- At Strauss Coffee Adriatic, inspections were conducted as part of the supplier evaluation process by an external party, including an inspection to assess supplier compliance with labor laws, workplace health and safety and aspects of environmental protection.
Social-environmental responsibility in the supply chain – the proper care of animals in milk production
As a company that is active in the production of milk and milk products, one of the important aspects of responsibility and ethics in our supply chain is how animals are treated. In our case, this refers to dairy cows in dairy farms throughout Israel who supply milk for our manufacturing processes. The dairy farms are not owned by the Strauss Group, but they are under the supervision of both the Ministry of Agriculture and Strauss.
As part of our commitment to providing good, quality products to our consumers, we compiled the “Milk Quality Book” a few years ago, which is a summary of regulations including quality targets and milk quality guidelines from the farm to the manufacturing plant. The regulations have been sent to all dairy farms that supply milk to Strauss and dictate the basic instructions for maintaining the cowsheds and handling the milk production process.
The Milk Quality Book contains the charter of proper treatment of the animals by Strauss’s milk producers. Each and every one of the milk producers from whom we purchase milk commits in writing to accept all the Charter’s terms and conditions as a condition of the business association with Strauss.
Key requirements of the Charter for the proper treatment of animals include:
- Act in accordance with the Animal Wellbeing Law (1994), whose main provision is: “A person shall not torture an animal, shall not be cruel to it, and shall not abuse it in any way…” (Section 2a).
- Provide proper treatment, to prevent unnecessary suffering, and act for the wellbeing of the cows and calves throughout their growth, maintenance, treatment, milking and transportation from one location to another.
- Calves will be raised under proper conditions in a clean and ventilated place.
- Provide proper treatment of cows in milking and in sheds without unnecessary hitting or shouting.
- Housing the dairy cows in a spacious, dry and drained place with means for alleviating the heat during the summer season.
- All medical treatment of the cows shall be performed under partial or full anesthesia, at the recommendation of the veterinarian.
- Animals will be transported on authorized trucks, with loading and transportation performed without causing unnecessary suffering to the animals.
We conduct monthly inspections of the cowsheds, during which we make a strict assessment of a long and detailed list of elements that includes aspects of treatment of the animals as well as cleanliness, maintenance, managing medication for the animals, inspecting the environment in which the cows live, and more. Strict inspection is conducted on every batch of milk that arrives at the Group’s dairies to test for use of antibiotics, hormones and prohibited substances. Problematic batches of milk are immediately tracked to the farm that supplied them.
Strauss’s Milk Supply and Producer Relations Manager, who is responsible for coordination between Strauss and the milk producers, visits each of the farms at least once a month in order to inspect them. For farms which are underperforming or require assistance, the Strauss manager visits more frequently and provides guidance and support.
The inspection conducted by the Strauss Milk Supply and Producers Relations Manager is very thorough and is based on a points system, where the farms that achieve high marks in the inspections are also rewarded in terms of the price paid for the purchased milk.
We have business relations with dozens of dairy farms, and are strict (in conjunction with the close supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture) about compliance with all of the requirements of the law and regulations and about fulfilling our instructions concerning the quality and level of management of the farm in general and of care for the animals in particular, as a condition of engagement with Strauss. We will not engage with a milk provider who is not strict about the standards that we require and/or who does not provide the animals in his farm with proper and fair treatment. On the other hand, the milk providers who do meet all of the required criteria win financial rewards in order to encourage them to constantly improve the quality of the milk production processes and the farm’s quality.
We view this strict control relating to legal requirements and the rights of the animals to proper treatment and the prevention of suffering as part of our responsibility. This is relevant for our consumers, to provide them with clean, quality and choice milk that is produced in an ethical and strict process and for society and the environment through maintaining the rights of animals that are a source of the milk we use and market in our products.