How to maintain regular dialogue with stakeholders

Ahead of The Responsible Business Summit Asia Elina Yumasheva spoke with Ada Wong, Head of External Communications and Public Affairs for FrieslandCampina Asia.

Ethical Corporation: Tell us, in a sentence, what it is you do?

Ada Wong: I lead the regional External Communications and Public Affairs for FrieslandCampina Asia.

Ethical Corporation: As a diverse region, with a variety of socio cultural norms as well as institutional backgrounds, achieving business consistency across Asia Pacific remains a difficult task. What strategies do you have in place to achieve collaboration with regional stakeholders?

Ada Wong: As a leading dairy company in the region, our focus at FrieslandCampina is to ensure that we understand the local cultures of each market we operate in, encouraging our market teams to collaborate and engage with each other regularly to share learnings and understandings which may resonate well with our regional stakeholders.  It is also important for us to understand the geopolitical landscape and build relationships with our key stakeholders in all markets, both internally and externally.

In my role, I lead our proactive efforts to deliver a consistent approach in relation to regional stakeholder engagement by ensuring regular dialogue with our market teams, empowering and equipping them to communicate consistently on behalf of FrieslandCampina. We maintain a very strong local presence by employing locals who speak the language and understand the political sensitivities on the ground. Whilst individual markets will all have nuances my role is to ensure we join forces internally to understand and respect the diversity.

Ethical Corporation: Do you have timeline and metrics in place to measure the success?

Ada Wong: FrieslandCampina has been operating in Asia for more than 90 years and we continue to grow quickly in the region as the regional dairy industry benefits from fast growing demand from consumers.  We do not adhere to strict timelines in our efforts to ensure the regional profile of FrieslandCampina is reflective of our heritage and expertise as a leading food and beverage company, instead we measure our success based on strengthening relationships with our key stakeholders.

Ethical Corporation: At the Summit you are speaking on stakeholder engagement. What are your top suggestions to build an effective stakeholder dialogue?

Ada Wong: Transparency, consistency and demonstrating an appreciation of local market dynamics are all key attributes to communicating clearly and effectively with all stakeholders.  In addition, ensuring we identify common ground with our stakeholders is an important element of establishing successful dialogue with one another. At FrieslandCampina, we focus on maintaining regular dialogue with our stakeholders, encouraging knowledge sharing and expertise exchange between all parties to build strong foundations upon which to establish long-lasting relationships.

Ethical Corporation: What are the big issues to watch in 2015?  

Ada Wong: Regionally, 2015 will be an important year in the evolution of the ASEAN Economic Community and will be highly important to all businesses operating in Asia.  Particularly relevant to our business, we will continue to proactively address the important issues of food security and food safety in collaboration with government, partners, consumers and key industry stakeholders.

Ethical Corporation: In your role what are your priorities for 2015?

Ada Wong: In line with our growth ambitions, we are focused on leveraging our strong heritage as a leading international dairy company to enhance the profile of FrieslandCampina across the region.  Implementing a strategic communications programme is essential in my role and dovetails with my focus on Public Affairs.  To maintain our great progress in the region we will be prioritising our relationships with governments, NGOs, schools and industry bodies to create and contribute to the ongoing dialogue on the important issues of regulation, food security and safety.

Ethical Corporation: And finally, why are you looking forward this year's Responsible Business Summit Asia?

Ada Wong: It promises to be a great opportunity to engage with peers from a diverse range of industries, share knowledge and exchange ideas.

Asia  communications  CSR  public affairs  stakeholder 

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