People that follow me know that I repeatedly stress the importance of getting acquainted. Too many companies start of their CSR Report, expecting the readers to know who they are, what markets they services, what goods or services it delivers: Tell your audience who you are, before you tell them the nitty-gritty. In this blog I want to share you some insights I learned from the region session on Turkey at the GRI Conference 2013, introducing two Turkish leaders in CSR Reporting: Coca Cola Içecek & Akçansa.
The geographical context of Turkey
Turkey is a country bridging Europe and the Middle East. The land has one huge leg in Asia and a small one in Europe across the Bosporus. Next it is the only Muslim-state that is secular: law separates state and church. In Turkey live 80 million inhabitants. Whilst Europe faces a deep crisis, the Turkish economy has been growing with 8% over the last years, making it the 15th economic power of the world. All in all, Turkey is an interesting country. More information on Turkey…
The company context of Coca Cola Içecek
Coca Cola Içecek (CCI) presented itself as a company operating as producer under license in 10 countries east and south of Turkey. CCI is bottling their sodas in one of the dryest regions in the world, so the focus on water is evident. The economic positions of areas served differ enormously, however the markets have thing one common: more than half of the population is under 30.
The CCI CSR Report
CCI was in 2008 the first Turkish company to produce a CSR Report at the C Application Level. Four years later it produces an A+ report that is GRI checked. That proves me that CCI is determent to be a leader in CSR Reporting. Unfortunately G4 stops using the application levels, now that CCI has achieved the highest sport on the ladder. Obviously I asked him, what problems he would face, explaining his board that the road to A+ has ended with G4. Atilla Yerlikaya responded: “Yes G4 and especially that loss of the application level will be a novelty I need to digest. And, yes it will be difficult to tell this my boss. However difficulties lead to new opportunities.” Smart and optimistic fellow!
The CCI focus on materiality
CCI exactly knows what topics are important to report, as they engage with 18 different groups of stakeholders. As a result they commit themselves rightly to:
- Environment: Minimize our carbon footprint and water usage by reducing packaging, water and energy
- Marketplace: Consistently provide the highest quality and food safety compliant beverages
- Workplace: Ensure a safe place to work, respecting human rights and be fully compliant with workplace rights
- Community: Make a difference in our local communities by encouraging employee volunteerism and by corporate involvement
The way CCI manages dilemmas
Most impressive to my opinion, is the vision of ICC towards dilemmas. Yerlikaya: “You can not hide your dilemmas for ever, so get to understand them and share them with your audience.” That is fresh management. However, I did not find a single dilemma in the CSR Report. That is a bit disappointing.
CCI also shows leadership in their marketing approach:
- “At CCI, we believe that parents should make decisions about the eating habits of their children. We therefore do not engage in advertising or marketing activities targeting children under 12 years old.
- We do not actively conduct sales operations for sparkling beverages in elementary schools beginning from the 2010 – 2011 academic year, and we inform our business partners of this policy.”
The company context of Akçansa
Akçansa is a giant company within the Heidelberg Cement Group that produces concrete in quantities unknown to The Netherlands. This is an industry known for its huge demand for both resources and energy. In a graphic they show their impacts on the value-chain.
CSR report: Contract with society
General manager Hakan Gürdal explained to us, that his introduction with CSR totally changed the way he manages his company. Traditionally he was only occupied with steering on short-term money related issues. The report they produce gives him now a direction for ten years. He said: Our report is a promise to society on our behaviour. To my opinion, what he said even goes beyond: The report as a contract with society.
The focus on sustainability leads them on the route of smart economics, thus saving lots of resources and money. Turkey depends to a large extent on foreign energy supplies. That increases the focus on smart economies:
- Providing truck chauffeurs better delivery routes
- Introducing incentives to truck-drivers to reduce speed.
I think that the money saved with help of these smart economies was an enabler to get more attention and acceptation to CSR.
Leadership in the industry
To my surprise Akçansa wants to export its knowledge to their competitors. Instead of safe-guarding their competitive advantage, the company is willing to share its best practices. That is true leadership.
Taking this all into account, both Coca Cola Içecek and Akçansa are true sustainability leaders. Also in the Dutch context.
This is my 7th blog in the series for GRI2013
- CSR Reporting is on the verge of change
- A good corporate citizen reports on tax avoidance practices
- Future of application levels is unsure
- Communication should bridge the gap to the ordinary world
- Reporting outside your ownership boundary
- G4 weighing Context versus Materiality
- Turkish leaders in CSR Reporting