Why doing good is good for business?

Mondelēz International

Kelly Farrell has been part of the Mondelēz International team for 20 years, starting her chocolatey career at Cadbury World. Following two weeks emersion with cocoa farmers in Ghana, she saw first-hand how business can be a force for good.  Inspired and determined to make a positive difference in peoples’ lives – she joined the company’s community affairs team and is now Community Affairs Manager for Northern Europe, based in Bournville, where the Cadbury brand was born.

Bournville and Cadbury are synonymous, and it’s possible neither would exist without the other. Kelly gives her insight into why it’s so important to continue the Cadbury legacy and how doing good is good for business.

According to global data from Edelman, people have more trust in business than in governments, believing we can take action that improves economic and social conditions in their local communities, rather than waiting for governments to implement it.  Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in how a company acts around important social issues and employees want to work for a company that reflects their purpose and values.  

This of course comes with a great deal of pressure and responsibility – but luckily our founders knew this even in 1895 when George Cadbury moved out of the city and began to build Bournville and his ‘factory in a garden’ – providing quality housing and education in a natural green space for his employees and their families.  The Cadbury Foundation was then set up in 1935 in recognition of the Cadbury brothers and their conviction that prosperous, educated, enterprising and inclusive communities were good for business.    

The story of how our business began is a source of much pride amongst employees and although the language and the world around us has inevitably changed, our core values remain the same today.

Our consumers are at the heart of everything we do and their needs are ever changing at an unprecedented pace.  Combined with the growing health concerns of the nation, we know we have a role to play and health and wellbeing is a huge area of focus for our business.  Thanks to our world class RDQ team in Bournville, we recently launched Cadbury Dairy Milk with 30% less sugar. This is the most significant innovation in Cadbury history - the result of three years’ work by 20 scientists, nutritionists and chocolatiers. We’re working hard to find innovative solutions to the challenges obesity brings by offering consumers choice without compromising on the great taste they expect from Cadbury.

At a community level, our award-winning Health for Life programme in Birmingham has been inspiring nearly 150,000 children, teachers, parents and local communities over the last seven years to lead healthier lifestyles through physical activity, food growing and cooking. We’ve seen a 25% increase in students growing food and a 35% increase in cooking whilst at school and at home.  The programme continues to go from strength to strength, with the addition of a nursery schools programme this year, reaching all the local authority nursery schools over the next two years.

Education was very important to the Cadbury family, just as the employability and skills of young people are important not only to our business, but our industry.  We’re particularly proud to support Feeding Britain’s Future – a campaign led by IGD which sees industry volunteers inspire the next generation of food and grocery talent nationally by sharing their insights, career paths and what life is really like working behind some of the country’s most well-loved brands.  The programme is making a huge impact not only on students understanding of the food and grocery industry, but their awareness of the diversity of roles and careers open to them.  More than 11,000 students have taken part which emphasises the power of collaborating with our peers and customers to tackle an issue we all face. Feeding Britain’s Future is also having a positive impact on our volunteers, including several of our UK leadership team who are active ambassadors for the programme. 

Making a positive impact in people’s lives was the cornerstone of the Cadbury family ethos and we continue to recognise that today through the power of our people – all 4,500 of them in the UK.  Engaging with and supporting local communities is actively encouraged through our global Impact4Good programme - whether through fundraising or by sharing time, expertise and manpower.  Almost 7,500 hours were invested by our colleagues during 2018 and they raised over £200k for charities across the UK. 

Volunteering is part of our DNA and key to building a winning growth culture. 77% of colleagues volunteer to give back to their local community but over 66% use it as a team building opportunity and 48% use it to increase their understanding of others. Volunteering is recognised by colleagues as a tool to develop their personal learning and development and over half of our volunteers include it within their annual commitments. We’ve provided some invaluable support to many local charities with a skill shortage through our #powerhour. This matches the skills and expertise of our volunteers with a community need. For example, our nutritionists at Bournville created some cheap, nutritious recipes for the B30 foodbank, whilst the team at Cadbury World have shared their insights into the world of catering and events to nearby Rowheath Pavilion.       

The passions of our colleagues are integral to our community impact strategy and we support their fundraising endeavours financially through The Cadbury Foundation.  Alongside the typical match funding programme, we run ‘Your Charity Your Choice’ where all our Northern European sites receive a £5k grant and colleagues vote for the local charity they want the funding to be directed to.  Over the years we’ve donated grants to the most amazing small charities that would otherwise be overlooked, but they have supported many of our colleagues and their families in times of need. 

Last year our manufacturing team in Bournville voted for Little Hearts Matter, a charity that has supported the daughter of Craig Foxall, Plant HSE specialist who was born with Pulmonary Valve Atresia and Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome.  Little Hearts Matter is the only UK charity of its kind, dedicated to helping children diagnosed with only half a working heart and Craig, his daughter and family find their support invaluable.  To be able to support a charity so intrinsically linked to our colleagues and their families is a true privilege and I believe we continue to honour the Cadbury brothers legacy.   

The Cadbury Foundation celebrates its 85th birthday next year and is still going strong – from its first grant of £40 to Stirchley Girls Club in 1935 to the millions of pounds we have given to date. The Cadbury brothers pioneered the ‘CSR’ movement before it was even conceived and for me, the reason I still come to work every day is to make a positive impact in peoples’lives.  To be able to do that whilst inspiring my colleagues to do the same is still a ‘pinch me’ moment and I feel privileged to be a part of Cadbury’s amazing heritage.