The Ferrero Way

Welcome to Duty Calls. This regular feature aims to shine a light on some of the most laudable examples of altruism and sustainability within the travel retail industry by companies that go beyond the call of duty.

The Ferrero Group, which includes Ferrero Travel Retail, is very clear when it comes to the company’s modus operandi. It is determined to “do things the right way”.

Ferrero aims to maintain a respect and dedication to satisfying customers’ needs, with a commitment to quality through an “extraordinary dose of creativity”. It also puts a huge emphasis on its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.

Since its foundation in Alba, Italy, by Pietro Ferrero in 1946, Ferrero has committed to paying attention to people and the planet. The company even says it gives them precedence over its financial goals.

Ferrero’s financial success has positioned it as a global chocolate and confectionery giant, with world-known brands such as Nutella, Ferrero Rocher and Tic Tac. At the same time, Ferrero has quietly maintained an ambitious CSR programme, which is not well-known within travel retail.

The programme focuses not just on the company’s present employees, and those who collaborate with the company, but also those who have worked for Ferrero in the past.

The company says its approach to sustainability is based on a ‘Sharing values to create value’ strategy. “These values are our roots; this is the DNA of the business,” it says.

From humble beginnings: The Ferrero Group started in 1946 from this pastry and confectionery shop in Alba.

Ferrero maintains that the creation of shared value is a practice that affects all stages of the supply chain. “It goes from caring for the people who have made and continue to make the history of the Group, the support of local communities, the promotion of active lifestyles among youths and their families, all the way to a strong commitment to sustainable farming practices and safeguarding and protecting the environment,” the company notes.

Ferrero’s commitment is demonstrated through the activities of the Ferrero Foundation and the Michele Ferrero Entrepreneurial Project, which is active in Africa and Asia.

The Ferrero Foundation was founded in 1983 by Michele Ferrero. With a ‘Work, Create, Donate’ motto, the foundation aims to help retired employees to view the third age as a source of new opportunities. It is based in Alba, on a complex designed to meet the needs of around 3,500 former employees and their spouses.

The complex includes a meeting place, workshops, a library, an auditorium, gyms, exhibition halls and spaces for medical and clinical conferences. There is also a modern nursery for employees’ children.

The foundation offers about 40 activities groups, which range from internet skills and foreign languages to ceramics and embroidery. It offers daily health and social care assistance and collaborates with specialist medical institutions and with the University of Turin.

The foundation also supports a second-level Master’s degree course in Science and Technology of Human Nutrition.

According to Ferrero, the foundation mirrors the Ferrero family’s ethical principles. It has become a point of reference for all the Group’s companies – many of which have started similar initiatives to support employees, the elderly and children.

The global Kinder+Sport programme underlines the importance of movement and sport and aims to inspire children to adopt active habits from an early age.

“All of the Ferrero Foundation’s initiatives have been based on a strong philosophy that the Group should offer human and financial resources to tangibly thank its senior employees, thus guaranteeing them a place that meets their material and moral needs, as well as represent a vital and long lasting activity centre,” the company says.

Still concerned with people, the Michele Ferrero Entrepreneurial Project cares for Ferrero workers on another level. It aims to give employees and those in companies collaborating with the Group the chance to become “masters of their own destiny”.

The project focuses on ensuring that workers have an income that enables them to make a living for themselves and their families. It aims to share a strong sense of dignity with working men and women, to provide professional training and working skills and to foster a modern culture of industrial work.

The project was launched in 2005 in Cameroon (Yaoundé), in 2006 in South Africa (Walkerville/Midvaal, Gauteng) and in 2007 in India (Baramati/Pune, Maharashtra).

Social and humanitarian initiatives focus on childcare in health and education sectors. They include the construction, rebuilding and restructuring of public schools and nurseries, support to paediatric care centres for homeless children and seminars for young adults to raise awareness on the prevention of transmittable diseases.

Maintaining its roots: The Ferrero Foundation centres on a complex in Alba.

In India the Kindergarten Pietro Ferrero in Baramati hosts 120 children and in Cité Verte, Yaoundé, Cameroon, a primary school has been restored and a new block has been built.

The Cameroon project offers educational support to children and young people hosted at the refugee camp at Gado-Badzere in the southeast of the country. The camp houses thousands of people who have taken refuge in Cameroon because of hostilities in central Africa. These include more than 1,000 children between the ages of six and eight, many of whom do not go to school.

The project was implemented in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and has re-used Ferrero exhibition structures to create classrooms for children and young people.

Ferrero’s commitment to improving the lives of youngsters is also evident in its global Kinder+Sport programme, which has been running for over ten years. The project underlines the importance of movement and sport and aims to inspire children to adopt active habits from an early age.

The programme runs in 28 countries. Ferrero says it has ‘moved’ 4.4 million children through 23 different sports, involving 125 sports federations and associations.

The Ferrero Foundation aims to look after former employees through activities which lead to new opportunities.

Its short-term aims are clear. Ferrero wants the programme to reach more than 30 countries and to ‘move’ 5 million children. And, while not sport and movement related, Ferrero underlines its strict control on other health-related topics. More than 95% of Ferrero’s products are sold in portions providing less than 150 calories.

In Europe, Ferrero takes part in the EU Pledge initiative, which fosters a responsible approach to food product advertising to children under the age of 12 and, at a global level, applies the IFBA Global Policy on Advertising and Marketing Communications to Children.

Any consideration of Ferrero’s CSR policy must also include the Group’s respect and protection of the planet, which it regards as a “fundamental pillar’ of its strategy.

There are two main projects:

  • F-ACTS (Ferrero Agricultural Commitment to Sustainability) represents Ferrero’s commitment to procuring raw materials from sustainable supply chains.
  • FER-Way (Ferrero Environmental Responsibility Way) offers a long-term approach to a more effective management of environmental sustainability. Ferrero says it is “firmly convinced that the transition to a circular economy is the only way to ensure a sustainable and respectful economic growth”. FER-Way is based on four actions: Measure, Planning, Educate and Collaborate.

To support its aim of sustainable agricultural supply chains, Ferrero has launched the Ferrero Farming Values programmes for its key raw ingredients, within the F-ACTS framework.

Ferrero is aiming to source 100% certified cocoa beans by the end of 2020. The Group collaborates with non-profit and farmer organisations to address agricultural, social, environmental and business issues in cocoa farming and supports local projects to combat child labour and to enable training for farmers.

An overview of some of the company's main CSR programmes (video in Italian).

Since January 2015, Ferrero says it has been using 100% sustainable palm oil. In the year 2015-16, the Group achieved traceability for over 7% of its hazelnut supplies and is committed to 100% traceability by 2020.

In the same year, sugar purchased by Ferrero could be broken down into approximately ¼ refined cane sugar and ¾ beet sugar. Ferrero has maintained and committed to strong trust based relations with numerous agricultural cooperatives and sugar producers, to ensure 100% non-GMO sugar sourcing.

Further plans and the company’s commitment to minimising its environmental impact are summarised on Ferrero’s dedicated CSR website.

Former Ferrero employees are encouraged to take part in the activities offered by the foundation.

Focus on education: A Cameroon primary school has been restored with classrooms made from re-used Ferrero exhibition materials.

Ferrero says its determination to work for the future of the planet and its people is inherent to the company’s DNA. It is symbolically represented in a letter that Michele Ferrero, the son of Ferrero founder Pietro Ferrero, sent to company employees when he took the leadership in 1957:

“I personally pledge to dedicate everything I do and all my intentions to our company, so that it may continue its journey in the same light that my father and my uncle gave it, assuring you that I will only feel satisfied once I am able, with concrete facts, to ensure you and your children a safe and peaceful future.”

A leap ahead: Ferrero’s Kinder+Sport project encourages children to take be active.

The Moodie Davitt e-Zine Duty Calls feature highlights environmental and socially responsible initiatives around the globe where people and the planet are the priority. If you have CRS projects, big or small, that you would like featured in Duty Calls, please contact Michael Barrett at

The Moodie Davitt e-Zine | Issue 249 | 11 October 2018