ESG Sustainability

Being a leading PAN-ASEAN-TASMAN player, URC's business and operations have a great impact on all of the company's key stakeholders - namely its employees, suppliers, customers, investors, and society. That being said, the company has started incorporating ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) initiatives/practices, consciousness, and awareness into the business.

Following are some of the steps taken by the company in this area and URC will continue to evolve these as the company further grows its footprint across its markets.


Environment

URC believes that it has a responsibility towards the environment and has taken concrete steps towards compliance with environmental laws, promoting recycling and reincorporation, investing in renewable energy, sustainable sourcing, promoting animal welfare, and sustainable farming.

Environmental Laws and Compliance:
  • URC ensures that its production facilities are compliant with the latest requirements across the globe, such as HACCP, ISO 9001:2008, ISO 22000:2005, and FSMS certifications.
  • All waste water from URC's production facilities are treated to ensure that the environment is not harmed from the company's operations. The company's New Zealand operations, Griffin's, is working on enhancing waste management by reducing total waste and increasing recycling as a percentage of waste to minimize the impact on landfills.
  • URC has created a specific department that handles occupational, safety, health, and environmental concerns being handled by Mr. Jose Lagarejos.
Recycling/Reincorporation:
  • The company uses recyclables for its packaging materials such as PET and Polypropylene. It also incorporates at least 5% of PET regrind during bottle production.
  • URC also reincorporates some byproducts of its manufacturing processes such as candy mass and chocolate trimmings back to the production process in order to minimize wastage
  • URC also uses some by-products of its flour production like bran and pollard into animal feeds.
  • Griffin's separates food waste into high protein, starch, dry product and wet product. This allows Griffin's to earn revenue from waste materials and recycle starch into raw material for packaging products.
  • All product waste of Griffin's is moved through Ecostock to farms and is used for stock feed for both cattle and pigs.
  • Griffin's waste oil is broken down and used as biodiesel.
  • Griffin's pallets that are removed from site by EnviroWaste are broken down and reused in playground construction.
Renewables:
  • URC has invested in facilities that further processes its byproducts into renewable sources of energy that are either used internally to power the company's facilities and/or are sold to the grid (power) and petrol companies (bioethanol). URC has invested in the following facilities:
    • Bioethanol Distillery - utilizes blackstrap molasses from its sugar business
    • Biogas Facility - uses manure waste from its agro-industrial business
    • Biomass Cogeneration Plant - uses bagasse from its sugar business
Suppliers:
  • The company has a dedicated supplier selection team that employs a stringent selection process.
  • URC works with suppliers that have a strong commitment to sustainability like Cargill, Barry Callebaut, and Bunge.
  • The company also encourages its supplier base to promote sustainability.
  • All palm oil purchased by Griffin's is certified by the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil.
Animal Welfare:
  • Sustainable animal rearing is promoted by URC as it follows world-class practices in its agro-industrial businesses such as practicing No Hormone No Antibiotic Residue for both poultry and hogs and for implementing infrared beak trimming rather than manual beak trimming for poultry.
  • The company was also awarded a Good Animal Husbandry and Practices (GAHAP) certification from the Bureau of Animal Industry under the Department of Agriculture for both its hogs and poultry businesses.
  • URC does not conduct animal testing in any of its products
Sustainable Farming:
  • URC has a Planters Program that helps its partner sugar cane farmers by providing the following sources of assistance:
    • Cultivation/tractor assistance
    • Fertilizer assistance
    • Propagation and deployment of high yielding varieties of sugar cane

Social

URC believes that its commitment to society rests on providing safe and healthy products, taking care of the people involved in its business and operations, and giving back to the underprivileged.

Products:
  • URC offers low calorie and healthy alternatives such as its C2 tea made from real tea leaves and its Nova Multigrain snacks to promote healthy eating and nutrition. The company also provides vitamin fortified snacks for kids that bear the "Sangkap Pinoy" seal from the Department of Health.
  • All nutrition (Calories, RENI) and portioning (servings) information is published on the back of all URC products. URC also publishes all ingredients and materials used in its products on the packaging.
  • URC has full traceability in its production chain and complies with manufacturing requirements across the globe such as HACCP, ISO 9001:2008, ISO 22000:2005, and FSMS certifications.
  • URC also ensures responsibility and accountability on how the company advertises and sells its products and clearly communicates the value proposition of each brand to the consumer. URC ensures that the brand delivery and experience is aligned to how it is communicated so that the company's customers are well informed on the benefits of the product.
Human Factors:
  • URC promotes employee wellness by conducting an annual sports fest, fun runs, family day and holiday events.
  • URC promotes equal employment opportunities by making it a point to hire a combination of talents from the different markets the company operates in. In fact, URC tries to localize management per country.
  • URC encourages its employees to attend in house and independent training programs for employees to develop their competency. It also designs systems and conducts trainings to ensure that employees work in a safe environment.
  • The company has created a management trainee program, which has let the company hire top graduates of local universities with the aim of utilizing their talents and making them succeed within the organization.
  • All of URC's employees are assessed based on their performance and contributions to the company and not on their nationality, race, religion, gender, age, or family status.
  • Within URC's sphere of control, it discourages child labor with its third party suppliers and business partners.
Corporate Social Responsibility:
  • URC has supported projects of the Dynamic Team Company (DTC) that advocate learning and literacy for the disadvantaged.
  • URC is a contributor to the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation, which provides education to the less fortunate.
  • URC has partnered with Gawad Kalinga to create Jack 'n Jill Village in Taguig, which provides housing for 48 families and is a step towards the elimination of poverty in the community.
  • URC assists the areas where their plants are located by providing feeding programs to the surrounding communities.
  • The company takes care of its employees during times of natural calamities such as Haiyan. URC has provided temporary housing and transportation for its employees displaced by typhoons.
  • URC worked with the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Social Welfare and Development in cases of natural disasters to supply products for disaster relief purposes.
  • URC also has CSR initiatives in its other countries such as Griffin's partnering with Te Whakaora Tangata in New Zealand, which is a community foundation committed towards restoring disadvantaged families - families overwhelmed by poverty, sexual abuse, gangs, drugs, and violence to create a bridge to stable employment for these families.

Governance

URC values the opinion of all shareholders, regardless of whether they are majority or minority shareholders. The company has taken the appropriate steps in terms of compliance and reporting to protect the interests of all its stakeholders.

Compliance:
  • URC is compliant with the latest Corporate Governance requirements as set forth by the PSE. The company annually reviews its Corporate Governance program in order to ensure compliance.
  • URC has created a system where all employees, suppliers, and stakeholders could easily report any compliance violations.
  • URC has created an Audit and Risk Management committee in order to ensure compliance with the principles of good corporate governance.
  • URC commits itself to preventing corruption via its Code of Business Conduct and by its Conflicts of Interest Committee.
  • URC's Board of Directors is filled with members who have complementary and relevant backgrounds, with corporate governance training given when directors join the board. The Board of Directors is very participative, with an average board meeting attendance rate of 97.7% for 2014.
  • URC has implemented a Daily Management System, a systemized scorecard that tracks performance, quality, and safety across its Griffin's operations in order to provide visibility.
Reporting:
  • URC is transparent with sharing results to its stakeholders and the company ensures the integrity of the numbers by employing an external auditor that is selected by URC's shareholders and board. URC also regularly provides updates on the financial performances of the company to its stockholders on a quarterly basis through its website and submissions and disclosures to the SEC and the Philippine Stock Exchange. The company also regularly discloses all material information dealings through the filing of all the required information through the appropriate mechanisms.
  • URC has installed an Investor Relations program in order to effectively communicate the Company's business model, performance, and long-term strategies and prospects to stakeholders and external parties.