High-Profile Development - Corporate Principles

KWS: Seeds are the basis of life

At a time when farming is undergoing constant change, this company profile provides a clear indication of KWS’ forward-looking position as an independent seed-growing company. For more than 150 years, quality and innovation have been the key to our success. We deliberately concentrate our efforts on the products sugar beet, corn and cereal seed, as well as oil seeds. Our core markets lie in the temperate climate zones, centering on Europe and North America.

We see plant breeding as the improvement of a plant’s traits in terms of agricultural production processes, for the benefit of our customers, the people who process or refine our products, the end consumer and the environment. Plants are an inexhaustible source of food and raw materials. That is why we have a commitment to treating nature responsibly.

In the future, too, our product quality, our technical service and our power to innovate will set us apart. For this, we need to have a consistent understanding of quality and innovation. That is why we have laid down the following basic principles. They show the vision and the goals we are striving toward in our work, every day. At the same time, they determine the values and standards of our work and our way of interacting on a daily basis.

Our customers: We create a foundation for the farmer’s success.

With our quality seed, we offer farmers a crucial means of production – a must for successful farming. Our customers are leaders of a wide range of agricultural operations. They in turn orient themselves by their customers’ wishes – from raw material refineries through to the end consumer.

Our high-performance products and highly competent technical service ensure that we constantly acquire customers and maintain long-term, reliable customer relationships with them. We know our customers’ needs along with their problems, and are at their side with specific solutions. The differing demands of processing industry and end consumers are taken into account in our work.

Our seed lets farmers run a profitable operation while producing healthy end products. Thus, we enhance the farmer’s entrepreneurial scope of action. We also maintain a continual dialog with our customers: their satisfaction is a central benchmark in our work.

Our product: We make better seed.

Always maintaining the highest level of quality, we breed new varieties for the temperate climate zones, and produce and distribute seed for sugar beets, corn and cereals, along with oil and catch crop seed. Each day, we do our best to ensure that KWS can justify its claim to quality.

Our seed is precisely tailored to our customers’ needs and demands. To ensure that we occupy leading market positions in the future as well, we will continue to steadily improve the varieties and the technical quality of our seeds. At the same time, we see our consulting and service skills as products that we will continue to improve and enhance.

Plant breeding means understanding and tapping into the natural processes of life. Our goal is to fulfill the requirements set by our customers and society. Parallel to this, we develop solutions that allow us to meet the demands of emerging markets. Handling natural resources with care has always been one of our priorities.

Research & Development: Our goals are innovative, our work is transparent

Each year, we invest a portion of our earnings – considerably more than the industry average – in research and development. We improve our product quality by taking advantage of the latest findings in molecular biology, plant breeding and seed research. Our research work is both transparent and open. These characteristics are symbolically communicated in the architecture of our research facility – the KWS "Biotechnikum".

We aim to further increase our innovation power, implement new varieties and product lines more rapidly, and tap new markets. The key to this is in-depth research and development work, which results in a high number of successfully concluded projects. A circumspect use of gene technology is also part of our activity.

Our sense of responsibility toward nature and society prompts us to measure our goals, methods and products against the yardstick of sustainability, in the sense of a sparing use of natural resources. At the same time, we strive to make our actions understandable for customers and consumers as well. That is why we actively promote a dialog with customers and consumers and take part in discussion forums. Beyond this, we specifically invest in the continued development of in-house measures to protect the environment and ensure quality.

Corporate strategy: Our actions are independent, co-operative and return-oriented

KWS is an internationally organized company that competes with globally organized corporations as well as with smaller, specialized seed breeders. We co-operate with selected partners all over the world. Our co-operation is always governed by mutual respect for each other’s cultures and corporate philosophies. This KWS partner culture lives by a self-assured and trusting interaction, especially at the personal level. We firmly believe that good co-operation agreements should be drawn up for the long term and should be beneficial to everyone involved.

We measure our success by our qualitative growth and our earning power. We strengthen our viability by using innovation and our own initiative to ensure high earning potential. Our non-dependence on interest groups allows us to respond to market opportunities in a fast and flexible manner.

Our corporate development is shaped primarily by the responsible actions of our employees. This includes a high degree of willingness to co-operate and further development on a personal basis. All the companies in the group act as affiliated but self-reliant economic units, each of which is integrated into regional agriculture at their respective locations.

Our team: We like working for KWS.

The success and strength of KWS is built on the ideas and performance of each and every employee. Each staff member is promoted and challenged according to his or her own individual needs and strengths. KWS believes in the fair principle of performance and reward, as evidenced in its merit-based remuneration schemes and up-to date fringe benefits.

It is central to our corporate evolution that all of us can identify with the KWS goals. One essential prerequisite for this is open and regular communication between the departments, individual staff members, and between supervisors and team members.

Above and beyond purely professional skills, we attach great importance to developing social skills. To this end, we take advantage of the opportunities for further training and education at all corporate levels, and continue to extend them. Personal initiative and independent action – each person in their respective field of work – are as self-evident for us as a sense of personal responsibility and open-mindedness. Personal interaction in the daily work environment should be fun, too.

It is our mutual goal to work together in efficient, motivated teams and to continue developing our corporate identity into a common perspective for the long term.

Responsibility toward humankind and nature

The KWS principles presented herein were developed by Corporate Management during the 2000/2001 business year, with input from the works council and many employees. They provide a frame of reference and a living set of guidelines for our daily work. At the same time, they illustrate our standards and perspectives for the continuing development of KWS.

In this sense, we see our work as an ongoing process of quality control and improvement, involving the active participation of each employee and - indirectly - our customers and the larger society as well. We wish our daily actions to be measured by the fact that, at all levels, they are founded on a sense of responsibility toward humankind and nature.

Seeds, after all, are the basis of life.