How is Podravka implementing the Sustainable Development Goals?
Podravka Group is one of the leading food companies in Southeast, Central and Eastern Europe. Thanks to the faith of their consumers, Podravka has become the number one food brand throughout the region. Podravka also owns Belupo, the second largest pharmaceutical company in Croatia. As a multinational company, Podravka is operating in more than 50 countries worldwide on five continents – Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and Australia while Belupo is present on 16 European pharmaceutical markets.
In general, Podravka operates under the principles of sustainable development, trying to minimize their consumption of natural resources and waste generation while taking particular care of the environment. Naturally, as it is a food company, the most important of the Sustainable Development Goals for Podravka is Goal 2: Zero Hunger.
Podravka is working on implementing this Goal in various ways.
For example, Podravka is supporting local and small-scale farmers and stimulating local food production, which is in line with target 2.4. Podravka actively includes the local community and assesses the impacts and development programmes in all activities that enable sustainable economic, environmental and social impacts.
The company aims to secure the greatest possible amount of raw materials – vegetables, grains and fruit – through production on several hundred family farms near the factories in the vicinity of Koprivnica, Varaždin and Umag. Promoting local food production is very important for the local community and has significant impact on the economic development of the local rural areas. The Podravka Agricultural development service works to improve the agricultural production through the education of famers, the use of contemporary production technology, organised introduction of adequate varieties, monitoring contracted production during the entire vegetation period, providing expert advice, and co-financing production by securing seeds, fertilizer and the necessary plant production compounds.
This approach in the organisation of agricultural production of the necessary raw materials was shown to be effective in the growing quantities of locally produced vegetables processes in the Podravka factories from 2014 to 2016.
Also, Podravka is working on maintaining genetic diversity of plants and seeds, in line with target 2.5. Podravka has a GMO policy: Podravka does not use ingredients derived from genetically modified sources and does not contain genetically modified organisms, nor raw materials produced from them.
In addition, Podravka, in collaboration with Faculty of Agriculture, has developed a special sort of red bell pepper. Prof. Zdravko Matotan’s team developed two varieties of red bell peppers – a pepper called Podravka and a pepper called Slavonka. Before that, Podravka had to import pepper for their products, most notably ajvar (a condiment made principally from red bell peppers) from Bulgaria and Macedonia, which was both expensive and unsustainable.
These two varieties of peppers (Podravka and Slavonka) can successfully grow in Croatian climate, therefore Podravka no longer has to import peppers from neighboring countries. Those two varieties of pepper produce enough for the production of large quantities of ajvar, which means they are better for the environment while simultaneously saving the company millions of euros.
Also, Podravka is working on food innovation, agricultural research and technology development, in line with target 2.A. Agricultural activities in research and development within Podravka have been present for over 50 years, dealing with seed base and agricultural seeds control, soil analysis, climate changes monitoring and so on. Education of Podravka manufacturers and suppliers of raw materials is an integral part of Podravka's story "from field to table".
Also, Podravka is connected with Croatian and international scientific and research colleges, institutes, small and medium entrepreneurs, suppliers and consumers. The company is building a platform for open innovations, aiming to faster generate innovative solutions for development of new and competitive products. Research-development projects are focused on consumer, food, food processing, food quality and safety, sustainability.
Author: Marina Tomić / IDOP