'Doing things right' has always been a natural part of everyday life at Palsgaard and we can trace this value back more than a century. From the beginning, Einar Viggo Schou, the founder of Palsgaard, paid special attention to the needs of the employees and of local society, and down the years these values have been passed on and updated. Today, when we describe ourselves as 'heart working people', we say a great deal about how we see ourselves and how we would like other people to see us. This CSR report is intended to provide stakeholders with a comprehensive overview of the effects of these values in 2010 and our goals for the future.
The Schou Foundation and its subsidiary companies form a unique group, which combines agriculture, forestry, industrial production and research, and maintains special focus on its employees, local society and global orientation. Our objective is to preserve and develop Palsgaard as a good workplace, to carry out research, and to preserve and renovate the estate and its natural environment. Good financial results are the means by which we will achieve these objectives - and therefore this is not an aim in itself.
This does not mean, however, that we intend to rest on our laurels in terms of financial progress and the size of our business. I believe that solid and sustainable growth are prerequisite for maintaining the business and meeting our objectives. I am keen to see Palsgaard develop at a reasonable rate which means that we can retain our cultural values, avoid exposing ourselves to unnecessary financial risks and contribute to sustainable development. As a foundation owned company, we are in an especially strong position to take such a long-sighted strategic view.
During the last 13 years, Palsgaard A/S has grown on average 12% a year. I am acutely aware of the elements that have been key to our success in the past and that will continue to ensure that we enjoy success in the future. There are five key elements:
• Product quality and innovation
• Partnership with our customers
• Maintaining and developing dedicated employees
• Optimising consumption of natural and energy resources
• Historical background and strong corporate cultural values
At the end of 2010, we began to develop an overarching strategy for our CSR efforts and this work will continue in 2011. To kick-start the strategic process, we have set ourselves an ambitious climate target: We intend to achieve CO2 neutrality by 2020. This target should be seen in the light of the fact that Palsgaard's processes are energy-intensive and we consider it our responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint caused by high energy consumption.
In the strategy process, we have also set goals for improving the environment and working conditions in our production, and improving the skills of our employees. We will focus on responsibility and minimising the risk of corruption in the supply chain, and we will integrate CSR-related issues at an appropriate level in our subsidiary companies. Finally, we will ensure that the raw materials we purchase are produced using sustainable methods and we will continue to bring our influence to bear on the local areas in which we operate.
As this report demonstrates, many of our goals are quantitative and we have determined a specific period within which we intend to achieve them. Other targets will be finalised in 2011. The goals related to the supply chain may become a special challenge for us as we are a relatively minor player on our market. However, in our role as 'heart working people', we see it as our important duty to attempt to exert an influence on our business partners, and to encourage them, as far as the scope of our business activities will allow, to act more responsibly.
At Palsgaard, we see CSR as a journey rather than a destination. In this and future years' CSR reports, I look forward to demonstrating how we work with corporate responsibility and sustainability, and to continually setting new goals in the process.
I hope you will enjoy reading the report!
Birger Brix, CEO of the Schou Foundation
Palsgaard, 17th May 2011