Foreword by the Chief Executive Officer

Dear Readers and Friends of KWS,

We want to achieve long-term business success as a company. That demands a proactive, forward-looking approach, i.e. thinking and acting in terms of sustainability – qualities that are deeply rooted at our company.

After all: It takes around 10 years to develop a new plant variety, from the first crossing to market approval. That means that we have to tackle and anticipate the ecological and economic challenges of the future now and gear our breeding programs to them.

For us, thinking and acting in terms of sustainability means protecting the environment and nature, taking prudent economic decisions, acting responsibly toward our employees and displaying social commitment.

Our Sustainability Report, which we are publishing for the 6th year now, provides transparent documentation of our sustainable actions and operations. Internal and external dialogue is of great importance to us. We say what we do and do what we say. Our report documents our performance in terms of sustainability and gives clear insight into our business activities at all levels and in every area.

In fiscal 2012/2013 we were able to improve our sustainability performance at many stages of the value chain.

  • We again increased our research and development expenditures: by 11.2% to €140.8 in the year under review or to 12.3% of net sales. Strong research and breeding is a vital component of our long-term commercial success.
  • Thanks to selective technical improvements, we have been able to reduce energy consumption by 1.0%, total waste quantities by 1.5% and hazardous waste by 3.6% year on year at our German locations, despite an increase in the volume of seed we processed.
  • In the field of corn seed processing, we have developed group-wide standards for environmental protection and work safety and pressed actively ahead with certification of external corn treatment facilities that produce for KWS.
  • The “Code of Business Ethics for Suppliers” is in the process of being adopted and will protect us in the future against violations of environmental and social standards in our external supply chain.
  • With our new “Capacity Development” initiative, we are promoting conservation of crop diversity in developing countries such as Peru and Ethiopia. The preservation of, access to and use of the genetic material of plants form the basis for breeding crops.

Those are just a few examples from the past fiscal year of how we have improved our sustainability. Our detailed report presents our strategic approaches and philosophies in the various fields of operation, measures, initiatives and key performance indicators.

We believe it to be very important to report on the subject of sustainability. The process of creating our Sustainability Report brings together many employees from a wide range of KWS departments at one table. It makes a major contribution to sensitizing people to the philosophy of sustainability we pursue at our company and to how improvements can be made in all areas.

That is why we keep on expanding our report to cover additional topics and countries. Our medium-term goal is to report on the whole of the KWS Group.

I would be delighted if our report meets with your interest and provides you with as many enlightening insights as it does for us. I wish you an exciting read.

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact our experts.

On behalf of the Executive Board, I offer my best regards from Einbeck.

Philip von dem Bussche
Chief Executive Officer

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