Cooperating on CSR:
Interview with Richard Piechocki
and Thomas Ursem
Rabobank's F&A Principles were created to
provide the business with a set of clear guidelines
to better foster and implement sustainable value
chains. Richard Piechocki, CSR Issue Manager
at Rabobank Group and Thomas Ursem,
Manager CSR at RI, explain how the F&A
Principles will be translated into supply chain
policies and their impact on the business.
Richard Piechocki and Thomas Ursem
Q Why does Rabobank have F&A Principles?
A "Firstly, because it's clear that sustainability and
the business case will be more and more intertwined.
This means that if we integrate CSR in the commercial
business process, we can create a competitive edge.
Secondly, Rabobank's cooperative principles are to act
prudently, responsibly and demonstrate involvement,
which are important elements of both sustainability
and sustainable entrepreneurship, and as such lay out
the framework of our F&A Principles. If we want to
achieve our ambition of being the leading F&A bank
outside the Netherlands, we know we have to integrate
sustainable thinking into our business."
Q Why do the F&A Principles need to be translated
into supply chain policies?
A "The supply chain policies are designed to provide
our relationship managers with guidance on the
types of environmental, social or human rights issues
that exist in each sector, allowing them to make in-
formed decisions on how we can contribute to making
our clients' business more sustainable. Using the policies,
relationship managers will be better equipped to assess
transactions within each sector, meaning we will be
better able to identify societal risks, serve our clients
and spot opportunities to act more sustainably."
Q Which supply chain policies do we have?
A "We have developed policies within the production
chains and sectors of palm oil, soy, forestry, cotton,
sugar cane, aquaculture, fisheries, biofuels, coffee,
cocoa, mining, and oil and gas. It's important for the
business to understand that these aren't areas where
we're looking to end cliënt relationships, but rather
areas where we are looking for opportunities to introducé
sustainability into our clients' business practices, and
we want to do this through persuasion and by offering
up solutions. We want the relationship managers to
talk to their clients, learn more about the direction they
are going in, and discuss issues, because this will help
us better serve our clients in the future."
Q What do you believe Rabobank can achieve with
these supply chain policies?
A "Sustainability should not simply be viewed as 'doing
good', but rather as a means to help clients solve sustain
able issues and improve their business. Increasingly,
clients ask for advice on how to deal with such issues,
and this is where Rabobank is really able to deliver: by
recognising the problems that our clients have and
utilising our expertise for finding appropriate solutions.
These policies have the potential to be a great commer
cial opportunity for Rabobank."
For more information on the F&A Principles and supply chain policies,
please visit: http://meetingpoint.rahonet.com/themes/csr/newsletter/
ISSUE 22 JANL