How our Sustainability Ambassadors are taking action for impact

As a global leader in the food and agriculture industry, COFCO International is committed to being a responsible and sustainable player with local impact. Its sustainability strategy will be central to help meet the growing demand for food. And employees will play a major part in making this happen. That’s why the company has created a network of 190 Sustainability Ambassadors to connect with local communities and take action to meet their needs. The ultimate goal is to involve all employees, starting from the Impact Season campaign in October.

The way the world produces food must change to nourish the growing population in a way that conserves nature and protects the planet. COFCO International is taking action to help meet tomorrow’s demand by promoting sustainable agriculture and making positive social and environmental impacts at a local level. It’s what customers want and it’s what the company needs to thrive into the future.

"I call on all our employees to take action, be influential, and work together to change the world and the future for the better." Wei (David) Dong, CEO 

The global network of Sustainability Ambassadors, launched in 2020, is designed to inspire and enable employees to support this strategy, making a positive difference in their location and community. And this year, the company is launching its first-ever Impact Season, offering its workforce even more opportunities to get involved. 

COFCO executives are leading employee engagement efforts to encourage participation

“Social and environmental expectations are growing and our performance needs to grow with it" - Marcelo de Andrade, MD Softs and Global Head of Asset Management

“Our customers expect more than quality commodities delivered on time,” says Marcelo de Andrade, MD Softs and Global Head of Asset Management. “Social and environmental expectations are growing and our performance needs to grow with it. We need to walk the talk in all we do.”

“In 2020, our employees made an incredible collective effort to keep our supply chains moving and support our local communities,” says COFCO International’s Head of Sustainability, Julia Moretti. “Now, we’re asking everyone – from commercial traders to our farms and facilities on the ground – to apply the same energy to helping us move further and faster towards fulfilling our ambitions.” 

In 2020, COFCO International volunteers played a major role in supporting over 30,000 people in our communities.
In 2020, COFCO International volunteers played a major role in supporting over 30,000 people in our communities.

The 190 Sustainability Ambassadors are drawn from all walks of life and different teams across the company, and vary from new recruits to senior managers. They all have different levels of knowledge and experience in sustainability. So the company has made sure they have the right training to understand the issues and why they’re important. They’re learning how to develop local action plans and projects, share best practices and inspire their colleagues to play a role. 

“Through the Network, we are invited to act as change-makers and innovators” - Margarida Carvalho, HR Specialist in Porto

“Through the Network, we are invited to act as change-makers and innovators,” says Margarida Carvalho, HR Specialist at Porto Centre of Excellence. “We develop and implement solution-oriented projects focused on improving lives locally.” 

“I chose to become a sustainability ambassador in hopes of making a difference in our office and eventually within the community,” says Steven Potash, Senior Sugar Trader at our Stamford office in Connecticut, US. 

In 2019, we introduced a comprehensive volunteering programme in Brazil.
In 2019, we introduced a comprehensive volunteering programme in Brazil.

So far, the Sustainability Ambassadors have led over 150 impact activities worldwide. For example, they have planted over 5,378 trees everywhere from industrial facilities, warehouses and port terminals to commercial and administrative offices, and taken part in an industry-wide digitalisation project to eliminate paper consumption for barge documentation. Elsewhere, they have organised charity running events and donated food, clothing and school supplies to disadvantaged children. 

The COFCO Sustainability Ambassadors have planted over 5,378 trees everywhere from industrial facilities, warehouses and port terminals to commercial and administrative offices.
The COFCO Sustainability Ambassadors have planted over 5,378 trees everywhere from industrial facilities, warehouses and port terminals to commercial and administrative offices.

“What motivated me to volunteer is the gratitude that the children show us for everything we do for them,” says Sustainability Ambassador Juliane Quicolo, Travel and Expense Analyst in São José do Rio Preto. “I believe the world can be changed, it will be a long path and requires teamwork. I want to contribute my share, to be someone who helped the world to become a fairer place for everyone.”

The COFCO impact map visualises the positive actions undertaken by its employees, with over 150 individual initiatives to date.
The COFCO impact map visualises the positive actions undertaken by its employees, with over 150 individual initiatives to date.

“Our employees want to take action on sustainability, especially as they see the impacts of climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Moretti. “They’re passionate about many of the issues we care about - from diversity in the workplace to creating opportunities for education in their local community to preventing deforestation. In Brazil, for example, our volunteering programme reached triple the number of beneficiaries in 2020, year on year. Our network enables our employees to live their values,  and make a tangible contribution to positive change, while also developing personally and professionally."

COFCO employees taking part in food donation activities.
COFCO employees taking part in food donation activities.

The first Impact Season will run from 28th September to the end of October 2021, and will focus on tackling hunger (SDG 2) and helping to promote responsible production and consumption (SDG 12). Leaders representing all major areas of the company will highlight how every employee can play a role, helping to increase the network’s positive impact. 

Collective action is the key to achieving a more sustainable world, COFCO International invites all our partners to collaborate and help make a difference. Every action counts to taking care of the planet, and of each other and our communities.

To learn more about COFCO International’s sustainability ambitions, click here.