Tuesday, July 8, 2014

When a business is criticized for its practices, don't be surprised if it changes its practices

We all know that there are evil businesses in the world that do terrible things that offend progressive thinking folk. (Obviously I didn't want to say "right thinking folk" here.) Oil companies pollute our waters and cause wars that kill people. Fast food outlets supersize all of us. So when someone compiles a blacklist of evil companies, it's no surprise that it includes Exxon and McDonalds.

And if anyone thinks about it, it's no surprise that these companies gravitate to things that are less offensive to the blacklisters. Take solar, for example. There's a good chance that if you decide to snub your nose at the evil oil companies and go solar, you may be getting your solar from...Chevron. And you may be getting your healthy food from...McDonalds.

Which brings us to Archer Daniels Midland, which has its share of critics.

Between 1980 and 1995, ADM cost American taxpayers tens of billions of dollars to maintain subsidies on 43 percent of its goods.

ADM is one of the leading producers of genetically engineered corn and is partly responsible for the “genetic pollution” of organic corn species.

ADM was part of a suit brought against several companies by the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF) for involvement in the trafficking, torture, and forced labor of children who cultivate and harvest cocoa beans that the companies import from Africa.

Obviously a devoted progressive would try to avoid ADM products at all costs, and would instead seek a much greener company. For its investors, KKR maintains a "green" portfolio, and one of the featured companies is a European company called Wild Flavors.

WILD Flavors is a leading private producer of natural flavors, ingredients, and systems to the food and beverage industry. The information and data below relate to WILD Flavors’ European production footprint....

In 2012, as part of the Green Portfolio Program, WILD continued measuring energy consumption. In absolute terms, GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions from these sources have decreased an estimated 9% compared to a 2009 baseline. Over the same time period, efficiency has improved by an estimated 30% (GHGs/ton of product). The improvement in efficiency helped WILD to avoid more than €2.7 million, or approximately $3.4 million, in costs and roughly 16,000 metric tons of GHG emissions since 2009....

In 2012, as part of the Green Portfolio Program, WILD continued its focus on reducing and recycling waste. Since 2009, WILD’s waste production has decreased by 26% in absolute terms and waste efficiency has improved by approximately 43% (kg of waste/ton of product). In addition, since 2009, WILD has reduced the hazardous waste produced in absolute terms by approximately 3% and has improved its hazardous waste efficiency by more than 25% (kg hazardous waste/ton of product). Since 2009, these improvements have helped WILD to avoid an estimated €166,000, or approximately $144,000, in costs, more than 5.3 million kg of waste, and almost 77,000 kg of hazardous waste....

In 2012, as part of the Green Portfolio Program, WILD continued focusing on reducing (fresh) water consumption in its manufacturing facilities. Since 2009, WILD has increased water consumption in absolute terms by approximately 19%. This is partially attributed to the increase in product batches that results in additional cleaning cycles, where the majority of water is consumed during operations. Over the same time period, WILD has improved its water efficiency by approximately 8% (liters of water/ton of product). These improvements helped WILD to avoid approximately 160,000 liters of water.

Impressive results...and results that would make green-responsible investors gravitate to Wild Flavors. And for any such investors, their investment decisions are about to be rewarded.

Private equity group KKR, which bought a 35 percent stake in Wild in 2010, has more than tripled its investment, a person familiar with the investor said.

How did the value of Wild Flavors shoot so high? Well, Wild Flavors is being sold.

To Archer Daniels Midland.
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