FrieslandCampina Vietnam, which is highly regarded for its corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities such as the Den Dom Dom and Dairy Development programmes was honoured last week to rank among the very few enterprises that Princess Máxima of the Netherlands chose to visit in Vietnam.
To mark the occasion, the managing director of FrieslandCampina Vietnam (FCV) Mark Boot spoke to VIR's Minh Thien about his vision of the responsibility of the company to the community.
The Den Dom Dom and Dairy Development programmes have been running for a long time. How have the results of these two programmes panned out so far?
FrieslandCampina Vietnam builds corporate social responsibility on three main pillars: enhancing the quality of education in Vietnam with the Den Dom Dom Programme, improving nutritional quality, and organising the Dairy Development Programme to support Vietnamese dairy farmers on their path to sustainable dairy farming in Vietnam.
Over the past nine years, the Den Dom Dom Programme has awarded over 20,000 scholarships and built six Den Dom Dom schools throughout the country. From this programme, we have seen many students coming university. One great example is Bui Duc Hung, a handicapped student, who received the Den Dom Dom scholarship three times and then recently passed the entrance examination for the Ho Chi Minh City University of Information Technology.
Through the Dairy Development Programme, which started up in 1995, we have supported local farmers using activities including setting up a comprehensive milk collecting system, providing farmers with good quality farming services and training, stimulating them to invest in biogas systems for lighting and cooking, and setting up quality control for systems from farm to factory. The company has so far invested $1 million annually and the Dairy Development Programme has 70 permanent employees. Also, FCV collects 23 per cent of the total national milk production from more than 2.500 farmers around the country; that’s 170,000 kg per day.
What did Princess Máxima of the Netherlands say during her visit to the company?
This honour reveals the high appreciation of Princess Máxima has for the positive contributions that Dutch Lady (FrieslandCampina Vietnam) has made towards the sustainable development of Vietnam through the Den Dom Dom and the Dairy Development programmes. She was impressed by what we have done for Vietnamese farmers, and this is the essence of how FCV contributes to the community. However, she said there were still much to do. We reconfirmed our commitment to continue our social activities.
On the same day, at the reception at the Netherlands consulate the Dutch Minister for Agriculture and Foreign Trade Henk Bleker expressed his appreciation for our sustainable farming model and initiatives, and for the contributions of FrieslandCampina Vietnam through its Den Dom Dom educational programme.
Speaking of CSR, what specific CSR activities will the company focus on in the future?
FCV has been in Vietnam for 15 years. We have supported 2,500 households through the DDP since 1995. And of course, we have created jobs to help develop country areas. In the future, we will expand agriculture promotion areas, especially in areas around our factories in Binh Duong and Ha Nam provinces.
Moreover, we will focus on programmes to control the quality of milk from grass to glass. Secondly, we will continually support farmers so that they are able to connect together to deliver milk to the company with bigger quantity.
For our Den Dom Dom educational programme, after nine years of operation, we hope sincerely that it will not cease to be just our own programme and become a social one which appeals to people and enterprise communities and helps them share their responsibilities to society.
How to make this happen is our challenge now and we are giving serious thought to. Because our aim is to convert the Den Dom Dom Programme into a social movement.
One CSR strategy for a milk processing company is to create affordable products for children in the country. What do you think about this?
We have recently worked with the Ministry of Planning and Investment to look at milk prices. We are also concerned about inflation in Vietnam. As a company, FCV is trying to adapt to the inflation situation and, on the other hand, to help the government control inflation.