With roughly 13,000 products from more than 100 brands, food produced by Grupo Bimbo is found in homes around the world. Because of this, the company considers itself a vital part of the communities it serves and the areas in which it operates.

As part of its four-pillar sustainability strategy, which includes Wellbeing, Planet, Community and Associates, Grupo Bimbo strives to be a valuable corporate citizen in the regions where it operates.  

 “Since our beginning, we’ve always had a social responsibility culture,” said Martha Hernandez, institutional relations global vice-president, and leader of the Community pillar. In 1945, no one was talking about that type of culture, but our founders were always concerned for and grateful to society for the acceptance and predilection of our products. They looked for ways to return to society the things our company received from the community. The way to do that from an institutional perspective was to create a Community pillar that could manage an action plan with those stakeholders.”

Through  a third-party materiality study in which it polled key stakeholders, including customers, consumers, suppliers and others, to identify what aspects of the company matter most to them, Grupo Bimbo identified community participation, philanthropy and social investment, and youth employability as the top issues, which the company addresses through programs like Good Neighbor, which offers every facility and sales or distribution center the opportunity to actively participate in its community.

Each year, every operation is provided a budget to develop and execute a community project of its choosing. The most impactful initiatives are then recognized by Daniel Servitje, Grupo Bimbo’s chairman and CEO at the company’s annual top management meeting. Once a project is completed, the facility is responsible for maintaining it, even after a new one begins.

In 2018, Mr. Servitje awarded recognition to 10 projects in locations around the world, including a green space with a safe crossing area for students near the Bimbo plant and a recreation area made from recycled materials in a cancer hospital in Costa Rica. In the United States, a Bimbo Bakeries USA (B.B.U.) facility was recognized for cleaning and planting flags at a national veterans’ cemetery in Nebraska. The B.B.U. facility also invited military families to spend the day participating in the effort.

Since 2012, Grupo Bimbo has executed 762 Good Neighbor projects.

Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of a four-part series exploring Grupo Bimbo’s sustainability strategy. Future articles will explore the bakery’s Wellbeing and Associates pillars. Click here to read about the company's planet pillar.