Sylvia Radebe is the Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications, South Africa, for one of the world’s best-known brands, the Kellogg Company
Kellogg’s has an incredible legacy internationally, but it also has a long history in South Africa?
W.K. Kellogg founded Kellogg Company in 1906 with his discovery of toasted flakes and a dedication to the well-being of others. Those toasted flakes became world-famous as Kellogg’s® Corn Flakes®. When our manufacturing plant was opened in Springs, South Africa, in 1948 it was only the fourth plant opened by the Kellogg Company. Our vision is to enrich and delight the world through foods and brands that matter. Fortified cereal ranks as one of the better breakfast choices available because it is typically a low-fat, low saturated fat food. It’s made from simple grains and helps to provide us with many valuable vitamins and minerals. In fact, nutrition experts have agreed that fortified breakfast cereals can be an effective way to supply essential vitamins and minerals to our diet. At Kellogg we are committed to nourishing families so they can flourish and thrive.
What role does Kellogg’s play in supporting climate and smart agriculture?
In order to support the focus on climate and smart agriculture, Kellogg has committed that, by 2020, it will help to increase the adoption of climate smart agriculture practices for 15 000 smallholder farmers in communities from which it sources, in so doing helping to improve their livelihoods. Kellogg believes that smallholders play a critical role in the global food supply chain, fostering food security in their own families as well as in the communities in which they live. Kellogg has long realised that achieving food security and responding to the climatic challenges are two goals that must be achieved together.
We focus on many different ways to help combat climate change, including low carbon energy and agricultural practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and being active in climate change policy. We are dedicated to continuing our work in reducing energy and greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 15% (per ton of food produced). We are also committed to increasing our use of low-carbon energy in our plants by 50%.
Our Manchester plant has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 50% since 2005, achieved by installing energy efficiency measures and after the installation of a combined heat and power plant to generate electricity and steam for use in the factory.
What are the essential tenets of smart agriculture?
Smart agriculture is an integrative approach to addressing these interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, with the aim of establishing training best practices in sustainable agriculture, including water management, climate change adaptation and soil testing. Smallholder farmers are generally farming less than five acres of land. It’s very important to be supportive of farmers - in particular smallholders and women farmers - so they can also nurture their own families. We are currently increasing the number of farmers we support directly and through our suppliers and partners on the ground. Furthermore, we continue to engage with farmers and partners with regards to how our ingredients are sourced and grown.
The Lambasi Farming Development Initiative (LFDI) sounds like a wonderful project. What is the involvement from Kellogg?
Kellogg, in partnership with Anglo-American, TechnoServe-South Africa, and the traditional Authority (the latter as representatives for the community), launched the Lambasi Farming Development Initiative (LFDI) in the O.R. Tambo District in the Ingquza Hill Municipality, 30km east of Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape.
Lambasi comprises six villages that fall under traditional Paramount Chief Mthuthuzeli Faku. The Lambasi community farmers are organised into development committees for each village, and the village development committees combine to form the Lambasi Development Trust. The Chief of the area, Chief Faku, presides over the Lambasi Development Trust, together with the 11 Development Committee members that represent around 300 people.
The initiative recently celebrated its second harvest in Lambasi Lusikiksiki in May 2016. The event was graced by the honourable Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Mr. Senzeni Zokwana), the Premier of the Eastern Cape (Mr. Phumulo Masualle) and the MEC Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (Mr. Mlibo Qoboshiyane).
What are the essential aims of this initiative?
The initiative was formed to improve food security as part of Kellogg’s sustainable development goals, as well as to create employment and empower existing farmers and members of the community in the Lambasi area of the Eastern Cape. As a global food company, Kellogg’s has a significant role to play in helping to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
What are Lambasi’s achievements thus far?
As at July 2015, 49 farmers had been recruited into the programme, of which 70% were women. Farmers in the area have been producing maize for self-consumption for many years but have not yet had the opportunity to expand to a commercial size. Through the partnership, Kellogg has enabled the community of Lambasi to aggregate their land and farm it as a commercial enterprise.
A training programme has been put in place by Kellogg, with the focus on empowering farmers through educating them on best farming practices. To date, the Lambasi farming initiative has created 409 jobs in South Africa.
In 2015, a baseline study was conducted by the Monitoring and Evaluation Department of TechnoServe, South Africa. What were the report’s key findings?
Their report determined high levels of food insecurity with the majority of households headed by women. The family size was large —about nine—and all were sustained primarily by vegetable gardens and the remittances from social grants. The majority of the community is steeped in extreme poverty (64% earning less than R440 pp/pm, as defined by Statistics South Africa, 2014).
Clearly, there was a great need to encourage and support the Lambasi community in commercial maize production. For the first time, the farmers in the area would be able to farm commercially with the use of modern farming methods that supported the environment and be able to generate a surplus for sale. Currently, India is Kellogg’s largest and most diverse smallholder sourcing country.
What are the challenges in terms of the state of food security in South Africa?
The world today faces unprecedented challenges in the areas of food security and climate change, with a real threat to human existence as we know it. Unpredictable weather patterns leading simultaneously to extreme droughts and floods across the globe have resulted in an increase in hunger and poverty of proportions not yet seen before.
As a developing country, South Africa has not been spared from this danger, and the extreme 2015 drought has already began to affect food, water and energy supplies. It calls for interventions not only from government but also from corporate South Africa to partner with communities to make a difference.
The company’s vision is “to enrich and delight the world through foods and brands that matter”. What does this entail?
Kellogg’s is one of the world’s leading cereal companies and its vision is to enrich and delight the world through foods and brands that matter. We do this through encouraging people to start their day right by enjoying the benefits of breakfast with a fortified cereal. A true visionary, W.K. Kellogg aspired to make “quality products for a healthier world”. More than a century later, the company continues to provide consumers with a wide variety of great-tasting, high-quality foods. 2016 marks Kellogg’s 110th Anniversary, and we seek to nourish families so they can flourish and thrive. That’s our company’s purpose, and we aim to fulfil that purpose through responsible sourcing and conserving of natural resources.
Responsible farming entails sustainable agriculture, and utilising smallholder farmers for sourcing and empowering women farmers and workers. Women farmers represent nearly half of Africa’s agricultural workers, and they are critically important to developing the full potential of African agriculture and food security. Conserving natural resources involves reducing energy use, maximising water usage through water reuse, reducing waste and using recyclable packaging material.
Globally, Kellogg will use a combination of certification, direct investment in grower communities and documented, continuous improvement in the places where these ingredients are grown. Furthermore, Responsible Sourcing is being embedded into global procurement systems and practices (sourcing events, category strategies, etc.).
In what ways does Kellogg manifest itself as a “company with heart and soul”?
Our K values are part of our DNA. They guide the way we work with our business partners, within our communities and with each other. They are our heart and soul. Through integrity, accountability, passion, humility, simplicity and a focus on success we have created a vibrant company culture where ideas can blossom, people can thrive and success can flourish.
What does Kellogg have to do in order to “earn a seat” at millions of breakfast tables across the globe every day?
According to brandshareTM 2014 © Daniel J. Edelman, Inc, 68% of global consumers feel it is important for brands to communicate openly and transparently about how products are sourced and made. As a result, consumers are most interested in the health and taste credentials of our foods, so we ensure that we build credibility around our foods through transparency about what ingredients are in our food. A recent study by the Hartman group entitled “How to Earn Consumers Trust by Communicating…” revealed that 64% of global consumers want to know what ingredients are in products, followed by 46% that want to know how products are manufactured in order to assure quality and safety standards. In third place, on 44%, consumers trust can be won through communicating how a company treats animals that are used in its products.
Consumers expect transparency, authenticity and progress. Being clear, honest and public about where we are and where we are going and demonstrating meaningful progress along the way are fundamental to what we do.
How aware are South Africans of the importance of good daily nutrition?
Our consumers are at the heart of everything we do. We go to great lengths to ensure that consumers are aware of good daily nutrition and this information is on-pack as well as available through websites and engaging with consumer groups and healthcare professionals.
In 2005, Kellogg was one of the first companies to pioneer the use of Guideline Daily Amounts front-of-pack, fact-based information, while part of our Breakfasts for Better Days® Initiative is educating parents about the importance of breakfast through interactive workshops.
How do you give back to local communities?
Inspired by our founder, Kellogg’s strives to make a difference in communities around the world. Through our flagship initiative Breakfasts for Better Days, the company is providing over one billion servings of cereal and snacks (more than half of which are breakfasts) to children and families in need around the world by the end of 2016.
We have committed to promoting and supporting initiatives with producers in every country in which Kellogg sources rice globally, and we believe that this initiative will, by 2020, lead to a 25 percent increase in the adoption of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices. This will, in turn, improve smallholder livelihoods, enhance producer resilience and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
We are doing this by engaging global stakeholders, showcasing Kellogg Company’s leadership in rice, including the International Rice Research Institute, the Sustainable Rice Platform (Kellogg is a founding member), the United Nations, World Bank, Environmental Defense Fund and the Meridian Institute.