35 What would we be without our employees Without our customers banks authorities and suppliers Nothing Just a building if that at all because who would have built it We are part of a wider universe of stakehold ers with relationships expectations and mutual dependencies Mutual as in we not only have stakeholders but are also a stake holder ourselves This realisation prompts the questions what would we want to know How would we want to be informed Would that satisfy us These questions and the answers to them are important for our everyday business but exchanges with our stakeholders are also vital to drafting a sustainability report see page U3f Ultimately we want to talk about what our readers also want to know Feedback from stakeholders and dialogue with them are crucial to us for developing our business and range Our discussions with stakeholders are both planned and unplanned systematic and unsystematic regular and irregular Countless especially important ideas emerge spontaneously What matters is that we are open to dialogue whenever the moment arises While theories and standards often call for a systematic stakeholder process in which stakeholders should be specifically identi fied selected integrated or asked for feed back our actual exchanges with stakehold ers are often varied flexible and sometimes unexpected Naturally organised working groups forums advisory committees and the like are important to us Naturally we systematically survey prioritise and consult Relationship between us and our stakeholders Stakeholder process with stakeholders as well And of course our materiality assessment see page U3f is based on criteria and clear rules But it is also important that we do not lose out on the suggestions and opinions which we get outside of narrowly defined processes We also take these into account irrespective of the theory This approach is not always easy but it means we avoid operational blindness It is not 100 objective but dialogue and surveyed opinions never are Our approach and the results of our materiality assessment can be found right at the start of the report see page U3f There we have highlighted the topics of greatest importance to stakeholders We also let many stakeholders have their say directly in this report via inter views We cover specific and important stakeholder issues in various report texts For example on page 90 we report about how we deal with criti cism from the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment and various media on pyrrolizidine alkaloids In our text on the Lebensbaum Partner System see page 44f we look at our requirements with respect to the transparency of social standards in the supply chain which customers rightly expect of us We also devote a text to the topic of environmentally friendly packaging something which customers frequently bring up see page 120 And we do not just talk about ourselves we also ask questions For example in our representative survey of 1 000 organic produce customers in 2013 We looked at our brand including sustainability aspects In late 2013 management in Diepholz commissioned the Hanover based IMUG research institute for Market Environment and Society to undertake an extensive employee survey see page 151 And as you can never know too much we also conducted an internal employee survey on the impor tance of sustainability aspects in 2015 Some 75 of employees at the Die pholz site and more from the Gronau site took part The results were directly incorporated into this report s materiality assessment see page U3f Added to this is our ongoing exchange with a wide variety of organisations and associations see page 33 This also involves addressing the small issues as well as the big ones The careful fostering of our stakeholder relationships is far more than just a polite gesture in a world of overflowing shelves shrunk by globalisa tion products no longer sell themselves People want to know who and what is behind a product So it makes good business sense to answer these questions

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