Bonduelle specialises in the production of canned, frozen, fresh-cut and processed vegetables. Founded in France in 1853, the company is owned by the Bonduelle family and has been passed on for seven generations. The company’s products are grown by 3,000 farmers on 120,000 hectares of land globally. With over 50 industrial production sites, Bonduelle’s main consumer markets include Europe, North America and Asia, with approximately 46% of revenue generated in Europe. Bonduelle has been expanding its presence on the American continent, its latest acquisition being of US-based salads processor Ready Pac Foods in 2017.
Bonduelle is active in the agricultural products and commodities and food and beverage manufacturers/processors segments. The company performs strongly when compared to its peers in both segments. Notably, it outperforms all its peers on soil health and optimal use of pesticides and fertilisers, demonstrating leadership in these aspects in the agricultural commodities sector. However, there is room to strengthen its position in environment in both segments by defining a time-bound target for water consumption reduction and enhancing its reporting on greenhouses gases (GHG) emissions. In nutrition, Bonduelle performs better than many of its peers in terms of transparent labelling and availability of healthy foods. However, it can strengthen its disclosure on these topics, thus aligning with the best practices. Finally, Bonduelle falls behind its peers in the social inclusion measurement area, representing a clear opportunity for improvement.
Soil health and agrobiodiversity By 2025, Bonduelle intends that 100% of the surface area cultivated by its farming partners will use a combination of alternative cultivation techniques that will enable it to make progress on enhancing soil health. As of 30 June 2020, 85% of land is cultivated according to these techniques. Furthermore, the company has developed an agronomic charter applicable to suppliers, which includes standards for the preservation of soil health.
Fertiliser and pesticide use
The adoption of agricultural practices to reduce the use of chemical pesticides is part of the company’s target to achieve 100% of the surface area cultivated with alternative techniques by 2025. The company reports progress against this commitment and on the expansion of pesticide residue-free products. Furthermore, Bonduelle has included standards on the optimisation of fertilisers and pesticides in its agronomic charter.
Sustainable development strategy Bonduelle has joined B Corp’s B Movement Builder, an initiative that aim to lead systems change. The company’s sustainability strategy follows the B! Pact principles and revolves around a triple commitment to the planet, food and people. Furthermore, the company discloses 2025 targets for its triple commitment together with its materiality assessment and process for identifying CSR challenges. Bonduelle can improve its performance by setting targets for all its material topics.
Governance and accountability for sustainable development Bonduelle has set up a B Corp Steering Committee, led by the company’s head of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and external communications. The Committee is responsible for Bonduelle’s ambition to become a certified B Corp and its B! Pact strategy. Moreover, Bonduelle’s Executive Committee is in charge of executing the strategy defined by the board of directors. However, the company has an opportunity to disclose further information on how it links sustainability objectives and targets to roles and remuneration.
Bonduelle discloses its procedure for engaging with stakeholders and the results of this engagement by providing a materiality matrix. However, the company has an opportunity to strengthen its performance by demonstrating that its stakeholder engagement covers sustainability topics across all three benchmark dimensions (environment, nutrition and social inclusion) and across its value chain.
Scope 1, 2,3 greenhouse gas emissions
The company has set a target to achieve 20% reduction in GHG emissions from its operations by 2035 (base 2018-2019) on scope 1,2 and 3. However, it does not report progress against the target. Moreover, the company has an opportunity to align its targets to the 1.5-degree trajectory.
While the company discloses its water consumption, it does not demonstrate quantitative reductions in its water consumption across its operations.
Food loss and waste
In addition to disclosing the quantity of food donated to charities in 2019-2020, Bonduelle reports on quantitative reductions in food loss and waste across its operations, showing a 2.2% improvement on the previous year. Furthermore, Bonduelle states that 90% of vegetables waste is converted into methane, used as a compost or recycled for commercial use. The company has an opportunity to strengthen its performance by setting a time-bound target to reduce food loss and waste.
Plastic use and packaging waste
Bonduelle has set a global goal of designing all single-use plastic packaging and products to be 100% recyclable and/or reusable by 2025. The company has set complementary objectives in its business units in Europe. While the company reports an increase in the proportion of recycled materials in packaging for its European operations, it fails to demonstrate progress at the global level.
Availability of healthy foods
While Bonduelle provides evidence of quantitative reductions of salt and fat across its products, it has an opportunity to provide more information regarding its reference framework for nutritional values Visa Santé. Moreover, the company can strenghten its performance by setting a target and reporting on the proportion of product that meets these nutrition criteria.
Accessibility and affordability of healthy foods
The company does not disclose a commitment and commercial activities to improve the accessibility and affordability of healthy foods for vulnerable groups.
Clear and transparent labelling
The company commits to make nutritional information available to all its products in all the countries in which it operates. Moreover, it commits to adopting front-of-pack labelling schemes in several countries. The company can improve its disclosure by reporting on the percentage of products on which these labelling commitments have been rolled out.
While the company discloses evidence that some sites of its own operations are certified to a Global Food Safety Initiative(GFSI)-recognised food safety certification programme, it does not demonstrate that all its operations are certified to a GFSI-recognised food safety scheme.
Bonduelle requires its suppliers to prohibit the use of child labour. However, it does not disclose a similar statement committing to prohibit the use of child labour in its own operations. While the company addresses child labour in its Ethics Charter, it has an opportunity to strengthen its commitment by extending it to its non-risk suppliers and by providing evidence of an age-verification system to prevent child labour across its supply chain.
Forced labour In its Suppliers code of conduct, the company requires its suppliers to prohibit the use of forced labour. However, it does not disclose a similar statement committing to prohibiting the use of forced labour in its own operations.
Farmer productivity and resilience
While the company has a commitment to support the resilience, productivity and access to markets for farmers, it has an opportunity to disclose evidence of related activities.
Health and safety of vulnerable groups
The company does not specifically recognise the health and safety risks to vulnerable groups, such as migrant and temporary labourers, women and young farmers.
Core social indicators
The core social indicators are part of the social inclusion measurement area. These indicators assess societal expectations of business conduct that companies should meet if they aspire to be part of a system transformation that leaves no one behind.
Bonduelle commits to respecting human rights and provides a grievance mechanism for both workers and third parties. The company has a publicly available policy to respect the human rights of workers in its supply chain, but it lacks a commitment to prohibit forced labour and to respect collective bargaining in its own operations. While the company indicates that its human rights risk identification process is formulated and put into practise with the help of a vigilance plan, it does not describe the process(es) to identify these risks and impacts in specific locations or activities covering its own operations and supply chain.
Bonduelle commits to health and safety and gender equality. Although the company reports on collective bargaining agreements, it does not demonstrate how it supports these issues in its supply chain. No targets or evidence related to paying a living wage in its own operations and supply chain were found in the public domain. Moreover, no publicly available documents regulating working hours were found.
Bonduelle discloses a privacy statement on the use and protection of personal data. Additionally, the company has in place a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption in its own operations and supply chains, and it discloses the steps to identify and address these risks. However, no tax strategy was found in the public domain. In addition, the company does not disclose its approach to political engagement, nor a policy statement that specifies that it does not make political contributions.