Jim Hamilton is president of DSMBy Jim Hamilton, DSM Nutritional Products USA

Sustainability is one of our core values, something we take very seriously. In fact, DSM is one of the leaders in the chemical sector of Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since 2003. But besides being a core value and a responsibility to society, sustainability is good business.  Embracing the necessary elements to ensure a sustainable world and brighter lives for generations to come also brings opportunities for growth and collaboration with our customers. There are three key elements of sustainability I would like to emphasize.

1.  Our people

Sustainability starts with our people. When I am asked why DSM as an organization is so successful, I have a very simple answer: our people. Across the organization, DSM’s people are dedicated to creating brighter lives through innovation, sustainability and quality, and our management works very hard to support and enhance their successes. Any invention or patent can eventually be copied, but our people cannot. Our success is because of our people.

2.  Meeting consumer needs

From a broader perspective, sustainability is ultimately one that is consumer-driven. Consumers are looking for solutions that enable them to contribute to a more sustainable world. So sustainability is not only important as a corporate value, it’s also good business. There are many examples. In product innovation, we see it in the creation of products that are more environmentally-friendly. Our ECO+ products and solutions, which have a much smaller environmental footprint than mainstream solutions, increased in 2012 to 43 percent of our total sales and accounted for 80 percent of our innovation pipeline. We see it in our operations people, who constantly strive to improve the energy efficiency of our facilities. Through their efforts we’ve achieved a 14% reduction in energy consumption through lighting innovations in our warehousing over the past four years.

3.  Our products are essential to life

In North America we sometimes become so focused on “optimal nutrition” that we forget about the essential nature of the products our industry provides. One needs only to travel to developing nations to see that nutrition is not about being able to run faster, be active longer or have our kids do better in school – for many people in the world, it’s about life and death. I had the opportunity to travel last year with Vitamin Angels, a wonderful organization that is delivering vitamin A to impoverished and undernourished populations. In India I was introduced by one of their doctors to a little girl with Bitot’s spots who, without vitamin A, would go blind and possibly die within the year. DSM supports not only the Vitamin Angels but also other organizations including the World Food Programme, Sight and Life, US Aid, World Vision and Scaling Up Nutrition to help create and sustain a healthy future for millions of people in need.

We invite you to engage

If you’re already involved in your own sustainability effort, or if you would like to launch such an effort in your company, we invite you to submit your idea or program to our “Sustaining a Healthier Future” contest. The best submission will win $5,000 towards your own effort plus a matching $5,000 contribution to Vitamin Angels. We hope this might be a fun way to give recognition and motivation to you who are taking sustainability to heart.

Jim Hamilton is the president of DSM Nutritional Products USA.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Watch the video "Sustaining a healthier future with DSM Nutitional Products" on Dairy Foods TV.