Ülker Biscuit Publishes Its Sustainability Report

Ülker Biscuit has cut down how much water it consumes per unit of production by 15% within the past two years

Ülker saves enough water to feed 2.1 million people a day

  • Ülker recently published its second Sustainability Report including its goals for 2024, which will mark its 80th anniversary. In it, they highlighted how far the company has come and what goals it hopes to reach by 2024.
  • Within the past two years, Ülker has cut how much water it consumes by 15%, reaching half of its 30% target reduction by 2024. That is enough water to feed 2.1 million people per day.
  • Last year, Ülker made its way into the FTSE4Good “Emerging Markets Index”, a global sustainability index. Lunched in 2016, the index measures how well companies do when it comes to their environmental, social, and management performance.
  • Ülker’s CEO, Mehmet Tütüncü aims to make his factories carbon emission-free, increase energy efficiency by 25%, reduce packaging waste by 50% and cut down on using plastics in flexible packaging by 20% -- all by 2024.

Ülker published its second Sustainability Report, in which it combined its sustainability principles and goals under the motto “This World Is Ours.” The report highlights – in detail – Ülker’s work, progress, and the investments in sustainability in 2016.

Ülker announced its 10-year Sustainability Goals back in 2014. 2024 will mark the company’s 80th anniversary. The report features six headings: “Environment,” “Value Chain,” “Innovation,” “Employees,” “Social Responsibility” and “Leadership.”

The report also talks about Ülker having made its way onto the FTSE4Good Emerging Markets Index (a global sustainability index) in 2016 thanks the efforts it has made towards achieving sustainability. The FTSE launched the index back in 2016 as an independent organization co-owned by the London Stock Exchange and the Financial Times. It measures how well companies do when it comes to their environmental, social, and management performance. Many view it as one of the most important indices worldwide. Many institutions take it as a reference point for responsible investing. Ülker is one of only a handful of Turkish companies on that index.

Ülker’s CEO Mehmet Tütüncü pointed out that his company’s sustainability efforts are based on Sabri Ülker’s (the company’s founder) “waste-free” company model. He added: “The results we’ve received are encouraging and have drawn us even closer to our goals. We’ve conducted numerous workshops with our stakeholders and have identified what key issues we need to address: R&D, innovation, food safety and quality, water risks, water management, risk management, climate change, energy, and occupational health and safety.”

Tütüncü also noted that the “Sustainable Development Goals” that world leaders have agreed upon also guide Ülker’s sustainability own efforts. He gave the following information about the developments:

“Within the past two years, we’ve cut down how much water we consume per unit production by 15%. We’ve reached half of the 30% reduction target we had originally set for 2024. In two years, we’ve saved enough water to feed 2.1 million people per day. Within the scope of our goal of increasing energy efficiency by 25%, we’ve saved 9.3 thousand MWh worth of electricity – enough to light 1.1 million homes daily. We’ve cut down on the number of tours we have to conduct when it comes to logistics by focusing on vehicle occupancy rates, using trucks, and making pallets more efficient. Since 2014, we’ve lowered our carbon footprint by 430 tons when shipping goods to our distributors from our factories. In 2015, we delivered customers the same number of products we always do and yet drove 2 million km less. Lastly, an international independent audit company provided us assuring news about how (less) much electricity and natural gas six of our factories (now) consume – the data of which we later included in our report. That was one of our biggest sustainability goals.”

Biodiversity and “Sustainable Hazelnut Agriculture” Project

Tütüncü feels that protecting biodiversity ultimately affects how fertile soil agricultural soil is, and thus has made that a top priority. Ülker recently completed stage one of the “Sustainable Hazelnut Agriculture in Giresun,” a project that they launched in 2015 with Wildlife Conservation Foundation (WWF). He also noted that they see hazelnut agriculture as one of Türkiye’s biggest agricultural export items as well as a major raw material for Ülker, adding that its value is a both socio-economic and ecological value. “Our goal is come up with solutions to maintain Giresun hazelnut production. It is a unique product because of its quality, and because of its relationship to nature. We’ve begun to focus on good agricultural practice and capacity building in various pilot gardens around [the Province of] Giresun.”

Wheat accounts for half of our main raw materials

Tütüncü noted that cacao beans, hazelnuts, and wheat all ensure sustainability in value chains where food gets delivered from the field to the table. He continued:

“Sustainability guides the way we work from start to finish. We think about environmental, social, and economic footprint of all of our products when we design their packaging, when we transport and distribute, and when they reach customers’ hands. We’ve established a Supply Chain Policy so that we can encourage our suppliers to adopt sustainable business practices themselves. Our policy is based on the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Global Compact, and it supports suppliers to join international certification systems. We audit our food and packaging suppliers in particular to see how well they comply to the international standards. We can then in turn demand that they improve areas open to development, and ensure that they adhere to global production standards.”

Tütüncü said that Ülker is in the midst of conducting research on wheat, as it constitutes half of the raw materials they use each year. He added, “We meet 80% of our wheat needs domestically as we believe in local products as much as we possibly can. For the past 10 years, we’ve been working with the Bahri Dağdaş International Institute of Agricultural Research to breed wheat that is ideal for making biscuits. We’ve come up with a high-yield wheat species that we’ve dubbed Ali Ağa. The Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock’s Central Directorate of Seed Registration and Certification recently patented it. Now, we’re working to promote it around the country.”


R&D and Innovation are vital

Innovation is critical to ensuring sustainable growth and generating additional value. We focus on coming up with solutions that cater to our customers’ every need and wish. We rely on innovation to improve our social and environmental performance so that we can meet our 2024 sustainability goals. We’ve invested 40% more money in R&D investments this year compared to last year. We’ve worked on over 1,000 projects related to developing new products, improving existing products, and improving process(es) and quality. We include customers as well as all of our employees in the innovation process. We’ve received 8,373 recommendations from our employees this year alone and have implemented 8.3% of them. That is a 3% increase compared to last year. One example of this is that we’ve cut down how long it takes us to produce Cocostar from 270 minutes to 70 minutes by removing a number of steps. That in turn has saved us both labor and energy. Pladis Türkiye’s Chocolate R&D Department was recently awarded an “R&D Center Certificate” from the Turkish Ministry of Science, Industry, and Technology.

Waste going to landfills is dropping
We believe that waste management plays an important role in ensuring natural resource efficiency and in spreading sustainable production and consumption habits. We want to reduce our reliance on natural resources by recycling more waste. We’re still working towards reaching our goal of “waste-free in regular storage sites by recycling everything” Every year, we recycle more, and thus send less waste to landfills. We’ve reduced how much waste we [have to] send to landfills to 9%.

What did we accomplish in 2016?

2024 Sustainability Goals

  • We cut down how much water we consume per unit of production by 10%. We’ve saved up to 15% of our water resources within the past two years.
  • We’ve invested 40% more money in R&D investments. Pladis Türkiye’s Chocolate R&D Department was awarded the “R&D Center Certificate” by the Turkish Ministry of Science, Industry, and Technology.
  • In 2016, we received some 8,373 recommendations from Ülker employees. We implemented 8.3% of them. That’s a 3% spike compared to last year.
  • We saved more than TL 1 million by coming up with more innovative packaging solutions.
  • We’ve increased employee training to 22 hours from 17 hours.
  • We’ve begun using 82% more trucks in shipments (from 78%) and 43% more double-decker truck (from 35%).
  • We’ve cut how much waste we send to landfills to 9%.
  • We’ve made our way onto the FTSE4Good Emerging Markets Index.
  • We are the first food company ever to have made it on the Borsa Istanbul (BIST) Sustainability in 2015 and 2016. 
  • Expand ourselves without increasing emissions
  • Reduce our carbon footprint per unit of production by 40%
  • Increase our energy efficiency by 25%
  • Reduce how much water we consume use per unit of production by 30%
  • Send waste-free to regular storage sites by recycling everything
  • Reduce our logistical carbon footprint by 20%
  • Increase how many hours we spend training our employees by 40%
  • Reduce how much paper we use in parcels and boxes by 20%
  • Cut the number of work-related accidents (and hence lost workdays) down to zero
  • Continue collaborating with leading institutions on public health projects
  • Cut our personnel turnover by 3.5%
  • Improve our employee loyalty by 85%

For information: Senem Erdil ( – 0 (216) 524-2900

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