Nourishing by nature through FrieslandCampina Vietnam initiatives

07:00 | 14/12/2020
Thanks to programmes that support thousands of people from children to dairy farmers across the country, FrieslandCampina Vietnam was honoured at last week’s Sustainable Companies in Vietnam 2020 event for its contributions to socioeconomic and sustainable development. VIR’s Thanh Dat spoke to managing director Berend Van Wel about the company’s activities in the past year and its prospects for sustainability in Vietnam.

What are some of the processes and cultures that have been embedded to bring success today?

nourishing by nature through frieslandcampina vietnam initiatives
Managing director - Berend Van Wel

At FrieslandCampina Vietnam (FCV) we are proud of our work and love to exceed expectations by striving for the highest quality possible for customers, consumers, and member dairy farmers alike. Innovation is key to achieve this, and it’s a strong driver in our daily work.

Our motto of nourishing by nature is at the heart of everything we do. All our employees worldwide are motivated to contribute to fulfil that purpose. While we develop affordable nutrition, we push quality, sustainability, and ethical standards in order to impact the future of the planet and people in a positive way.

To win in the market and to reach the ambitions we set, we have to go the extra mile. We need to build and embed a winning performance culture. Our win-win mindset and behaviours consist of the three core building blocks of being purpose driven, commercially obsessed, and having an owners’ mindset, and each comes with the same goal: to win in the market.

How does your business remain agile when markets fluctuate, and what governance practices have been created to achieve stability of growth?

Our people are open, friendly, straightforward, and pragmatic. Every one of them works as a team player and always seeks collaborations built on trust and respect. That truly reflects our cooperative heritage and fuels the power of “we”. We believe in a rather flat organisational structure where people feel empowered and backed up by strong leaders.

With our aim to win in the market, we need to build our performance on a solid understanding of what is happening and what is working and not. At the same time, we need to move forward and take today’s and tomorrow’s opportunities. Therefore we have revamped our monthly governance to be much more agile from a quick understanding at the start of the month, to swift execution and adjustments where needed from then onwards.

What are the key milestones for the company thus far?

FrieslandCampina officially entered Vietnam in 1995 by forming a joint venture with PROTRADE Company in the southern province of Binh Duong. It was one of the first multinational dairy companies to come to Vietnam and has two modern factories in Binh Duong and the northern province of Ha Nam. It has greatly contributed to the country’s socioeconomic development and growth of its dairy industry, helping improve the health and nutrition of the Vietnamese.

Each day FCV sells nearly four million units of products including Dutch Lady milk, Friso baby formula, Fristi nutritious drink, Yomost yogurt, and Hoan Hao and Truong Sinh condensed milk, winning the trust of consumers thanks to the quality of milk, which is the same in every country in the world.

Besides developing its business to become an outstanding foreign enterprise that makes a large tax contribution to Binh Duong and Ha Nam, FrieslandCampina also always discharges its social responsibilities to develop the society and community. In more than two decades of establishment and development, being patient in creating sustainable value and contributing to the improvement of the quality of life of Vietnamese, FrieslandCampina has been honoured with the First-Class Labour Medal by the country’s president in 2016 and the HR Asia Best Companies to Work for in Asia award from HR Asia Magazine in 2018, among others.

In 2020, with company contributions in fighting against the pandemic and corporate efforts towards business, FCV was selected in the top 10 best food and beverage companies, and we are also in the Profit500 of 2020 list as announced by VN Report.

nourishing by nature through frieslandcampina vietnam initiatives
FrieslandCampina Vietnam’s successes have translated into various accolades over the past few years

What programmes are in place for developing the right skills and competencies?

In 2020, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of FCV’s Management Trainee Program and we’re proud of gaining many talents from that. And to continue nourishing those talents, we keep creating opportunities for our people to learn new things. The only way you will learn new things is by doing them and by challenging yourself in the process.

It’s about finding a place that will give you a good push, that will give you the challenge you need to grow, but also make sure it’s somewhere they give you the trust to take on responsibilities and to make mistakes. You only learn when you make mistakes.

In today’s world we need to leverage speed, cross-functional working and decisiveness to get to results. So in addition we have created cross-functional, independent teams to work on key business opportunities, so-called ‘battles’. They have the full attention and support of the management team, so they can continue to move fast and win.

What philanthropic activities have been developed to engage employees as well as for giving back to the community?

Our corporate social responsibility initiatives are guided by our nourishing by nature purpose and by our mission for Vietnam to leap forward and reach higher, and they focus on three strategic areas in particular.

The first is education and development of nutrition for Vietnamese children. In Vietnam, the company has carried out the Den Dom Dom Study Promotion Program and Drink-Move-Be Strong campaign at schools, benefiting millions of children across the country over the last 25 years.

To continue that success, the Dutch Lady brand has signed with the Ministry of Education and Training on a 5-year agreement worth VND55 billion ($2.4 million) investment.

Under the agreement, it will help improve primary school students’ awareness of nutrients and physical health, set up 1,250 booths to disseminate information about nutrients, and build playgrounds for 65 schools. More than 1.5 million students at 1,500 primary schools will benefit from these activities.

The second factor is improving the lives of Vietnamese, especially farmers, through a dairy development programme and an effective and successful community assistance model. The programme underlines our position in the vanguard of sustainable development of the milk cow breeding industry for the last 25 years.

The company has held more than 12,000 training courses with experts and farmers from the Netherlands, taken care of the health of the milk cows for free, managed farms, and provided technical counselling. It has created jobs for more than 7,000 people in rural areas.

Working with Vietnamese farmers for the Dairy Development Program, FrieslandCampina has provided more than 3,000 farming households with professional knowledge and skills in breeding milk cows to Dutch quality standards since 1996, and since then cow numbers have increased to 35,000.

The final factor is protecting the environment and developing sustainably. FCV has taken efforts to create an effective and sustainable production chain by joining Packaging Recycling Organization Vietnam and implementation of environmental protection activities such as reducing the use of fossil fuels, reducing discharge of CO2 and plastic waste into the environment, saving water, and enhancing waste recycling. Sustainable development is the first requirement to ensure the long-term development of FCV.

By Thanh Dat

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