Royal FrieslandCampina’s sustainability provides nutrition in a sustainable way

May 21, 2022 | 07:50
With over 150 years of global presence and more than 25 years operating Vietnam, Royal FrieslandCampina has become a household brandname to most Vietnamese consumers. The company’s key products including Dutch Lady, Fristi, Yomost and Friso among others, have become a regular nutrition source for millions of families in the country. On the occasion of his first visit back to Vietnam after COVID-19 pandemic, Roel van Neerbos, president of F&B at Royal FrieslandCampina talked with VIR’s Thanh Tung about the market as well as the company’s mission in bringing nutrition to the Vietnamese.
Royal FrieslandCampina’s sustainability provides nutrition in a sustainable way
Roel van Neerbos, president of F&B at Royal FrieslandCampina

Firstly, our congratulations to Royal FrieslandCampina’s 150th anniversary that you started last year, which marks a milestone in the history of the company as one of the leading nutrition companies in the world. On this occasion, could you please share with us more about Royal FrieslandCampina’s mission “Nourishing by Nature”, which I believe plays a key factor in your company’s success globally?

Our purpose is Nourishing by Nature. The word “nourishing” fits us so well because nourishing is very close to providing nutrition. You nourish your consumer or someone who needs a particular kind of nutrition. Nourish goes further which is taking care. At Royal FrieslandCampina, we pursuit the “nourishing” mission for our farmers, our people and our customers. In addition, we are making efforts to nourish a better planet. In all the innovation programmes that we do there’s always a sustainability factor. We can do that thanks to our “from grass to glass” chain in which sustainability is executed at many different steps in the chain. We are trying to improve day by day with a little step further. That is how we improve the company and improve our consumers’ lives.

Royal FrieslandCampina’s sustainability provides nutrition in a sustainable way
Royal FrieslandCampina uses hydrogen milk trucks

As you mentioned above, sustainability plays a big role in the business strategy of Royal FrieslandCampina. Why and what are the group’s plans in this regard?

Sustainability is not only a matter of importance for Royal FrieslandCampina but also for consumers and the world. If you look at all of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, the goal of people livelihood and better living come first, then environment, plastic waste, and CO2 or carbon footprints.

As a dairy company, the first purpose we have in mind is providing nutrition to the world population, and in that sense, sustainability means, first and foremost, better nutrition, affordable and accessible for everyone. But we must do it in a sustainable way, so that we can reduce our impacts to the environment, preserving a better planet for future generations. In other words, in the most holistic way, our sustainability agenda includes better nutrition, better livelihood for famers and consumers at large, better climate, better nature, better sourcing and better packaging.

High-quality is not the only factor persuading customers to choose the company’s brands. Its sustainability strategy and “Nourishing by Nature” mission are critical factors in helping to maintain the company’s competitiveness among fierce dairy market in the world in general and in Vietnam in particular.

I can give you some facts and data on our sustainability journey in Vietnam. Our two factories in Vietnam are considered the best facilities within Royal FrieslandCampina in the world. We were the first company to implement a dairy development programme in Vietnam, during last 25 years, more than 8,500 farmer families participating in our Dairy Development Programme and benefiting from over 12,000 farmer to farmer training courses and product innovations from Netherland. We invest in Vietnam’s young generation through strategic partnership with the Ministry of Education and Training to provide nutrition education and physical development for Vietnamese children, helping them to leap forward and reach higher.

Royal FrieslandCampina’s sustainability provides nutrition in a sustainable way
Solar panels at a dairy farm of Royal FrieslandCampina in the meadow

Vietnam is one among the first markets you visit in the region after COVID-19 pandemic, so how is Vietnam positioned in the global company, and what is its strategy to win the market?

I am very happy to visit Vietnam again. Asia including Vietnam is very important for Royal FrieslandCampina as the region accounts for more than 45 per cent of our business, even bigger than Europe. Before, people often talked about BRICS [including five major emerging economies namely Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa], but nowadays, we talk about VIP countries, which are Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. In these markets, it’s not just about business and their growth potentials but also where we can make a difference by making nutrition affordable and accessible to all, doing what we can to help improve livelihood for the people.

We are of course very proud of what we have achieved in Vietnam over the past 25-26 years and we are committed to do even more.

What are the next bold steps for FrieslandCampina Vietnam regarding its sustainability commitments?

Our global sustainability agenda, named “Nourishing a better planet”, focus on 6 pillars: better nutrition, better living for farmers, better climate, better packaging, better nature and better sourcing. In Vietnam, we focus 4 of the 6 above mentioned pillars: better nutrition, better livelihood, better climate, and better packaging.

I will give you one example in better nutrition: Recently, we launched a new product, cereal with dairy, and Vietnam is a pioneer market. It is innovation to give affordable nutrition to people to fulfill their morning energy, as breakfast is very important source of nutrition, especially for kids. Personally, I want to see all kids going to school with full of energy, provided with good nutrition so that they can study and play with all their own. We need to continue to invest in innovations to provide Vietnamese consumers with better and affordable nutrition. And in all innovation programmes that we do there’s always a sustainability factor, implemented at many different elements in the chain.

By Thanh Tung

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional