Tate & Lyle is a world leading manufacturer of renewable food and industrial ingredients. Based in the UK, it is a global company with operations in Europe, the Americas and South East Asia. Tate & Lyle provides ingredient solutions and services to food, beverage and industrial customers.
Tate & Lyle operates over 60 production facilities in 24 countries. Almost 7,000 people are employed in subsidiaries and a further 2,300 in joint ventures.
For Tate & Lyle, CSR equates to applying four core values - safety, integrity, knowledge and innovation - to the way the business is run. CSR is an integrated part of everyday business processes and forms part of an ongoing journey embracing health and safety, human rights and environmental issues.
The company has developed a Group-wide community involvement policy and a full time community role was created within the organisation eleven years ago. In the UK, Newham (in east London) is home to Tate & Lyle's main manufacturing operation and is the focus of the company's UK community involvement programme. This centres on education and, to a lesser degree, environmental, health and arts programmes. These focus areas are dominant issues in Newham, a borough suffering from considerable economic and social deprivation and Tate & Lyle aims to support local regeneration through partnership working with key community organisations.
This case study profiles how one of Tate & Lyle's CSR initiatives is contributing to regeneration in east London by providing on-site support for local community organisations in the form of rent-free warehouse and office accommodation, salary funding for staff and access to business advice and other on-site facilities.
The main driver for Tate & Lyle's community activities was a strategic decision to support the regeneration of local areas. This is based on the belief that increased prosperity in the communities where it operates will help enable Tate & Lyle's business to thrive.
programme of on-site support for local community organisations grew out of its 30-year partnership with Newham-based Community Links (www.community-links.org), one of the foremost regeneration charities in the country. The company has sponsored projects, supplied volunteers and equipment and provided an annual cash contribution to the Founder Director's salary. But, eight years ago Community Links developed a profit-making arm and the relationship took on an additional dimension.
Tate & Lyle began providing storage space free of charge to the newly formed company, Community Links Events. Both partners soon realised that the benefits of this undertaking extended far beyond simply giving the company equipment storage space. It has enabled the business to develop far more quickly than it ever would have done without that support.
More recently, Tate & Lyle's involvement with Community Links has contributed to business innovation. The organisation was looking to develop more sustainable funding methods to cover its core costs. A 'blue sky' strategy session resulted in Tate & Lyle funding a business development role to develop new funding streams. One of the most notable outcomes has been the 'Auction My Stuff' (www.auctionmystuff.org ) project which sells unwanted 'stuff' via online auction site eBay, the proceeds being used to help fund Community Links social programmes.
Over time, the programme has grown to the point where Tate & Lyle has donated a warehouse to help store the volume of material donated to this social enterprise. Increasingly, support has grown from individuals to companies who donate goods in bulk, including furniture, cosmetics, small electrical, fashion and stationery items. Thirty percent of the sale proceeds from 'stuff' from individuals and 100% from business 'stuff' goes to Community Links.
The size of the programme means that the operation is now run by eight to ten young people over a 10-week course which provides training in employability and business skills. Links are now being made with other employers to give the youngsters access to a number of recruitment programmes.
Encouraged by the early success with Community Links, Tate & Lyle has since expanded the programme and a further four community organisations are now accommodated at the Newham site. The organisations have been handpicked, based on their social regeneration track record or evidence of a strong likelihood of considerable impact in a reasonable period of time.
Healthy lifestyles are being encouraged through provision of office space for Hoops4Health, a not-for-profit organisation using professional basketball players as role models in a school project bringing healthy eating and healthy lifestyles to primary students. And by giving Community Food Enterprise (CFE) (www.community-food-enterprise.org.uk ) office space, delivery vans and business expertise, Tate & Lyle is supporting the rapid expansion of this innovative organisation. This addresses food access and food poverty issues in 'food deserts', areas of high deprivation with no easy access to affordable fresh fruit and vegetables. CFE runs breakfast clubs in schools, food co-ops in school playgrounds and community centres and a mobile food delivery van.
Improved management of resources has been achieved for Crisis as a consequence of being given access to significant warehouse space by Tate & Lyle. The equipment used for the Crisis Open Christmas annual shelters can now be reused, rather than being binned each year when the shelters are dismantled.
London's first hospice for life-limited children, Richard House (www.richardhouse.org.uk ), has also benefited from Tate & Lyle's support, through trustee board membership and provision of other skills. More recently, Tate & Lyle has provided warehouse space for overflow from the Hospice shop.
The enormous value brought by this type of support to the partner organisations has been clearly demonstrated by their extremely rapid rate of development and successful outcomes shown.
The business benefits
Tate & Lyle's community involvement programmes in Newham are contributing to the regeneration of the local area. The Company expects this to result in a higher calibre of employees; better qualified recruits with increased skills and better attitudes, producing more motivated employees.
Why is it CSR?
Equal and mutually beneficial partnerships, a key element of effective CSR programmes, form the basis of Tate & Lyle's community activities in East London. The partnerships contribute to local regeneration by reaching socially excluded groups. Furthermore, Tate & Lyle uses its professional expertise and dedicates time and other resource to mentoring and supporting socially excluded groups and community organisations.
The on-site programmes run by the social enterprises are being continually reviewed to bring greater added value, e.g. involvement of young people in Auction My Stuff.
The team overseeing the social enterprise programme is seeking approval to bring all six organisations currently on-site at Newham into one three-storey building. The aim is to create a social enterprise hub which would be run by Community Links on behalf of Tate & Lyle. Established enterprises, in partnership with the company, would support the development of fledgling enterprises. The idea has already generated interest from the School for Social Entrepreneurs.
For more information on Tate & Lyle's community involvement programme at Newham, please contact Michael Grier at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ken Wilson at email@example.com , or visit www.tateandlyle.com
© Article 13 and CBI – CSR Case Study Series, March 2008