ESG: Non-Financial Metrics Are Just as Important

For Danielle Vega, combining a focus on Scope 3 emissions with healthy eating makes for a winning business model, but how does it work in practice?

Valerio Baselli 20 October, 2023 | 9:41AM
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Valerio Baselli: Hello and welcome to the Morningstar Sustainable Investing Summit 2023. I'm joined now by Daniella Vega of Ahold Delhaize, one of the global largest food retail groups and a company at the forefront of sustainable retailing.

So, Daniella, as an expert in the field, what are the biggest areas of growth you have seen within the sustainability space over the last year?

Daniella Vega: Well, I think there's multiple opportunities for growth that we see in the sustainability space. But if I can talk about the food sector, I think the opportunity for us and the role that we play is to connect climate and health. So, we talk about driving co-benefits of climate and health, and let me just give you one example of how we do that. So, we have a role to play in society as a health partner for our customers. And so, we look at how we, as Ahold Delhaize and our great local brands, can help our customers make more healthy and sustainable choices. And that not only drives a healthier basket for our customer, but also helps us focus on our Scope 3 emission, of which a move to a more balanced diet and more plant-based proteins is very helpful in that journey.

VB: Absolutely. And you have integrated ESG information in your annual financial statements. So, how did you make this decision, and why do you think this is beneficial for stakeholders?

DV: Yeah. Well, we started from a fundamental belief that non-financial metrics should be as important as financial metrics, and this really drives our approach to integrating ESG in our annual report. And not only have we integrated it, but we have embedded it now, so it's not a section at the end, it's throughout the annual report, and that really is something that we're focused on and also that all of our stakeholders are asking for as well.

VB: All right. And finally, how do you coordinate with vendors and suppliers to prioritize your expectation on sustainability practices?

DV: Yeah, it's a great question, because Ahold Delhaize is a large retail-focused group. So, we have a very complex and diverse supply chain. So, we operate on the east coast of the U.S., but as well as Europe, in the Benelux in southeastern Europe. So, you can imagine the complexity of our supply chain. We're partnering with the smallest of farmers to the biggest of CPG partners. So, we need a tailored approach that looks at where are the hotspots in our supply chain, where can we really work together with our suppliers to reduce. And so, what we've done is identified that and supplied tools and support to work with our supply chain to help them decarbonize.

VB: Very interesting. Thank you so much, Daniella.

DV: Thank you.

VB: For Morningstar, Valerio Baselli. Thanks for watching

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Valerio Baselli

Valerio Baselli  is Senior International Editor at Morningstar.

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