Creating value by engaging in business with ethical responsibility

Feike Swennenhuis, marketing director Europe at Bunge Loders Crocklaan, gives a presentation during our next Business masterclass “Perceived Value, True Costs”, the 22nd of June. “A marketeer can make meaningful impact. Not just financially, but also on his surroundings.”

Feike knows the industry quite well. He’s worked at the business consumer department of Univelever for over twenty-two years, taken on diverse roles in R&D but mainly focusing on strategic marketing. “As a marketeer, I am driven by innovation.”

In 2019, Feike started at Bunge Loders Crocklaan. Here he diverted his focus from B2C to B2B.

In this lecture, Feike will present tools to increase the value of your company’s products. “At the end of the day, a marketeer works for the outside world. Therefore, one needs to always look at the needs of people.”

Find your purpose

To increase your value comes back to returning to the core of your company. Ask yourself these questions. What does your company stand for? Why are we here? What can we add to the greater context? “At Bunge, for instance, our purpose is to unlock the full potential of lipids to enable better food and nutrition choices. We do not say “We sell oils”, however. There is a whole story to it.” When you understand what you do as a company, you understand your value. Getting the story straight is where it starts.

Good business

Creating value demands sacrifices and investments. That is why Feike will not only refer to Bunge’s vision in his presentation. He’ll present businessman Paul Polman to us, whose vision is much shared at the moment. “We cannot keep treating our planet the same way we’ve been treating it the past decades. The global food system is broken. There is a massive climate change coming, there are inequalities, there is a CO2 problem. In short: there is a whole world system that is broken.

Paul Polman vouches for ‘good business’. Good businesses are net positive, they are morally and ethically just, as well as performance driven.

Good business as selling point

Good business means using the earth in regenerative way and paying fair wages to farmers. Not all these elements appear in the final price a consumer pays for a product. Yet because true pricing should reflect all of these things, the final price ends up being higher than the average, possibly leading to resistance on the part of the customer

The focus, therefore, of the good business products and the job to be done across the whole food system is to re-evaluate pricing and value. Will the customer perceive the value of a product which purports to a better, fairer world system?

There are still a lot of challenges ahead of us to achieve a fairer pricing that truly supports the sustainability goals. However, a lot of actions are to be foreseen for individual companies. We need partnerships and collective initiatives to stimulate a more equal level playing field, but individual companies can also have a purpose as compass. Driving proactively, developing the right sustainable business initiatives, and understanding the customers’ and consumers’ values are crucial to move into a better system. In the lecture Feike will also give a concrete example of how Bunge Loders Crocklaan strives to do good business and simultaneously respects the SDGs set out by the United Nations.