Smucker’s 2015 sustainability report

by JulieCraves on September 8, 2015

JM Smucker Company, one of the largest coffee buyers in the world, has issued their 2015 corporate responsibility report. Smucker’s is the owner of Folger’s, Millstone, Café Bustelo, Café Pilon, and Dunkin Donuts retail brands; coffee represents the largest portion of the company’s sales and a 2015 profit of $549 million. This is their fifth CRR, and is as tiresome and uninformative regarding efforts to source sustainably-grown coffee as the four previous versions. Here are the previous posts:

The reports tend to lack relevant, quantitative data. Thus, an update in the 2015 report on their goal to have 10% of their retail coffee purchases be third-party certified (primarily UTZ Certified) by 2016 was a welcome tidbit. Smucker’s stated that in fiscal year 2015, they had reached 8%, up 2% from 2014. As I’ve previously noted, we don’t know the total amount of coffee the company purchases. The last figures available from 2013  estimate it at 300,000 tons. Nor do we know what proportion of total purchases consists of retail purchases.

In last year’s report, Smucker’s announced a show of their commitment to certified, sustainable coffee with their introduction of an UTZ Certifed brand, Life is Good. It has already been discontinued, although that fact was not included in this year’s report.

Once again, large sections of the green coffee sustainability portion of the report are copied wholesale, with little or no rewording, from previous years.

My favorite part of the report was the table on page 44, intended to highlight company activities in some coffee-sourcing countries. There were a few generic facts about coffee production, but the table said nothing about the company’s “direct global engagement.” Each spot in the table where that information was apparently supposed to appear was filled in with the words Type of Activities.

smucker-2015-chart

I think this is the equivalent of the “Hello World! This is your first post” placeholder.

What does it say when a company can’t be bothered to properly complete a report, or competently proofread it? This kind of indifference combined with the perennial lack of originality in the Smucker CRRs is insulting to stakeholders. It demonstrates a shortfall of sincerity in the company’s desire to inform the public about their coffee sustainability efforts in a transparent, thorough, and meaningful way.

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Revised on February 23, 2016

Posted in Corporate coffee

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