To build a better tomorrow, WDHB collaborates with Avril as they explore agricultural sustainability in Israel. They then apply this knowledge to their internal culture, creating a compassionate and inclusive ecosystem open to change and transformation.
Founded in 1983 as an initiative of the agricultural world to ensure sustainable outlets for French production, Avril is the main industrial and financial player in the vegetable oil and protein sector. In 2021, Avril generated revenue of €6.9 billion. Present in 19 countries, it employs nearly 7,350 people working in 73 industrial sites around the world. This organization is built upon two complementary trades that are key to the strength of its model. On the one hand, Avril is an industrial company organized around plant processing from the seed to the processed product. On the other hand, they are an investment business carried out by their subsidiary, Sofiprotéol. Through the acquisition of minority holdings, they support companies in the French agricultural and agri-food sectors.
Context and Challenges:
In 2021, Avril announced their new ambition: to become the leader in plant processing with a focus on the agricultural, food and environmental transitions of the future. Consequently, the organization reviewed their portfolio and placed priority on four markets with high growth potential: specialty ingredients, consumer goods, renewable energies and products and services for the agricultural world.
These four priorities are where Avril will focus their investments to ensure the Group's future development. For this reason, they asked WDHB to design a program that explores the following topics:
- Connecting with actors of the Israeli agricultural subsidiary
- Redistributing value through collaboration and dialogue
- Inventing tomorrow by being open to change and transformation
- Taking care by creating an inclusive, safe and sustainable ecosystem.
Collaboration with WDHB:
Some years ago, WDHB organized a program for Sofiprotéol in Istanbul. One of the participants eventually became the CEO of the group and wanted to take his leadership team on a new learning expedition. After several rounds or proposals and a final pitch, WDHB was selected to design, organize and deliver the program.
Working closely with the Avril Academy, WDHB proposed Tel Aviv as a destination to cover the topics of collaboration, sustainability, innovation and the food industry. The client wished to go beyond the usual company visits and fully experience local communities. They hoped to dive deeply into the challenges of this society and gain an emotionally touching experience as a result. WDHB’s design team started the experience in Jerusalem to explore how different world religions live together. Beer-Sheva was next, introducing irrigation projects and technology-driven innovation in the agricultural sector. Finally, the client wrapped up in Tel Aviv to explore Israel’s start-up spirit.
One month after the learning expedition, Avril had a Top100 seminar where they shared their experiences in Israel. They had 5 key takeaways:
- Strengthen the leadership model by increasing empowerment and delegation in all processes
- Dare to take risks on people- especially young people
- Celebrate failures from the field along with the best practices
- Introduce strategic marketing competencies
- “Chutzpah” has become a codeword to “go for it.”
The CHRO explained during a feedback call that the expedition also improved internal networks and understanding, creating an amazing bonding effect. She pointed out that the relationships between General Managers have strengthened and that gaps have been filled. Through this Learning Expedition, the team learned about agile innovation, building communities and sustainable agriculture, while also supporting their internal community with bonding and collaboration.