Dufil Prima Foods is one of Nigera’s biggest players in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) segment, what has been the motivation behind the huge investment in Nigeria?
The Group has been in operations here in Nigeria for a long time and what has guided us in terms of delivering products to the consumers is summarized into three A’s which is Affordability, Availability and Acceptability. For example the concept of launching in satchets, dufil was the first to launch oil in satchets. In terms of availability, through our multiple distribution partners, we have reached parts across Nigeria which is good for us and in terms of acceptability, we have invested heavily in marketing to ensure we deliver the right quality products at the right price and this has made consumers wanting more of our products.
Indomie is one of the most popular brands in the world, what is the brand doing different that makes it standout from other competitors?
Two things that stand out for indomie is taste and quality and I think beyond that for more than 20 years now, Indomie has been consistently delivering taste and quality products and I think that is what differentiates us. We have a very strong heritage and compared to few brands who have not withstood the test of time, indomie in Nigeria has done that.
Indomie has the largest noodle factory in Africa, aside from producing noodles, this means direct and indirect employment, What Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities is the brand engaged in?
I think as an organization, we are beyond the CSR, instead we are moving towards Corporate Ethical Responsibility (CER) for it is not about what you can do to the society at large but it is a lot beyond that. If I look at ethical responsibility, it is not just ethical responsibility to the society, rather it is responsibility to the environment, employees and every one somehow related to the organization. For the consumer, quality, taste is consistent and affordability is always ensured, these are amongst the things that we do but, our responsibility to the society has seen us involved in a lot f partnership, support projects, local schools, healthcare centers and the Indomie Independence Day Heroes Awards (IIDA) which is to support the young heroes of Nigeria, so these are lot of things we have done as an organization. Beyond this, healthcare is another industry we have added after the oil industry and I can tell you we have touched close to 4 million people where we checked for vital signs for people to make sure they are fine and if we detect any problem, we recommend them to see doctors. These are all the things we do as an organization.
What are the focal points of your CSR initiatives?
CSR for us extends beyond the society, it is to our employees. For example, about a month ago, we started an employee initiative by creating a small fund and in that fund are our drivers and warehouse loaders. What we do is that every 3 months, we etch out exams for their children and whosoever is ranked in the top ten, we give out scholarships and that has nothing to do with the company, that is something we employees has started for the employees of the company. We have gone beyond the CSR where you have a company that is doing things and advertising, we have gone beyond that. In terms of healthcare, Nigeria has lot of issues in the hospital especially at the paediatric wards and so a lot of government hospitals are being supported by us as we donate lots of equipments for these paediatric wards and we have also partnered with a lot of schools too. Another thing we recently started is that we have started building toilets because sanitation is very vital especially in schools.
For every initiative, there has to be an aim or objective, what are the objectives of these CSR activities you mentioned?
The biggest objective is that we want to do something good for this country and also communities in the country too as it is where we do business and also make our money. So it is our ethical responsibility to genuinely give back and I think that is what drives us.
IIDA is tied to Nigeria’s Independence, what is the reason behind this?
IIDA is a ten year old award and when we started discussing about the award, we observed that children in Nigeria are not celebrated and the child does a lot of selfless act without being celebrated. This is our own way of telling the child in any situation, he or she can challenge him or herself to do something selfless and extraordinary and in the past ten years we have had lots of beautiful and touching stories of what some people have done not for themselves, but for others which means that we are children the act of selflessness which is extremely important for any nation.
Despite the challenges in the country, how has the organization been able to consistently execute the awards for 10 years?
I think that one thing that is true for us is that we are very consistent in what we do and once we have decided we want to do something, we do it consistently. So we have been focused, consistent and driven to promote bravery in children and beyond that identifying the right partnership has also been the key. It is not just by finding financial grants but partnerships with for example judges who are also in the same direction with us or in common goal with our objective.
At the last award ceremony, children celebrated for their selfless act were aged 15 and below, why is that?
There are a lot of companies promoting talent shows but if you look at this age bracket, how many people are actually talking to these kids about such values? So we realize that there is a big opportunity and indomie as a brand has grown on the back of these children and it will be very unfair for us not to talk to them and also inculcate such values into these kids, so that is why we felt it is our responsibility to do this.
How much difference has this award made in Nigeria compared to other countries?
I think this award is a very unique award and in the process of trying to understand how we can actually make this award better than what is happening in other countries has seen us do a lot of online studies to understand what is really happening. I can name very few awards for example, CNN has got CNN Heroes, Tobacco companies are also doing heroes awards and Breweries also have the Gulder Ultimate talent search award too but no one is actually talking to children. This was a niche that we saw, it is an area we want to play in and inculcate selflessness in kids so I think this award is unique and stands out effectively when compared with awards in other countries.
The Masters Nutritional scholarship has been going on for a while now, how many students have benefitted from this scheme and why is it restricted to only nutritional studies?
The scheme has been going on for 7-8 years and about 84 students have benefitted from it and the reason is it is restricted to nutrition is because Dufil is a food company and as a responsible organization, it is important for us to provide nutritious content to our consumers so any segment you see us playing, be it noodles, flour, oil be it anything we are engaged in, we make sure that we give maximum nutrition to our consumers. So part of the nutrition thing is that they can also work towards improving our products as well to make them more nutritious.
Aside from IIDA and the MSC nutritional scholarships, what other CSR initiative is Indomie involved in?
In terms of structured CSR, there are paediatric donations to the health industry and we also o to communities to build for example boreholes or we look for the need of that community and provide it to them especially communities we are associated with in terms of our factories or communities we are benefiting at large. Beyond that, education is another area,we have also been involved with such as provision of science labs to schools.
This initiatives cost money, can you put a figure to your CSR budget in a year?
For us, it is beyond social responsibility rather it is based on ethical responsibility and I think is unethical to put a value to what people are getting from us but what I will say is that if there is a very strong project that needs our partnership, we will be happy and open to partner or support with them.
Are you proud of your CSR achievements so far?
Yes we are very proud of what we are doing and what we have gotten to and we have very high aspirations and so I am very happy with the pace in which we are going.
How are you engaging the Nigerian government and foreign government on your CSR activities?
There is no constant dialogue but we have been partnering with the Ministry of Health and local government hospitals where they tell us about the communities in need of amenities or healthcare infrastructures and we go to those communities and provide healthcare. That is one conscious effort we are making and beyond that we keep the government bodies informed of what we are doing and if they wish to partner with us, that option is always open but there is no consistent dialogue. We will continue to improve on our activities and also remain consistent next year.
What is vthe company doing to improve its carbon footprint?
There are numerous activities that have been undertaken by us. For example, recycling waste water is a big activity we are taking, even lot of efforts have been put in the direction of our carbon dioxide emission and we are now in the process of providing healthy fuel for example in terms of coal, we are creating a study to make it healthy. There are lot of initiatives that are going on.