Monday, February 1, 2010

Anyone for haggis ?

Macsween call themselves the Guardians of the Scottish National Dish. They have been making authentic, award-winning Haggis for the past 50 years. In 2009, the Company published its first Sustainability Report (having published an Environmental Report in 2008).

For those of you who have never tasted Haggis, well, believe me, it just can't compete with Chunky Monkey. When you realise that Haggis is made of sheep's liver, lungs and heart, plus onion, oatmeal, suet and spices, and cooked in the sheep's intestines, then you probably can understand why.(>> no walnuts).  This Scottish dish is served traditionally on Burns Night in January in commemoration of Robert Burns, the poet, who wrote a poem to a Haggis. (He was apparently under some stress at the time) Haggis became very popular in Scotland, during Burns' lifetime, in the 1700's, as it was a cheap dish for the poor, as almost everything that everyone else wouldn't eat was thrown into an empty intestine and cooked up to deliver a gourmet feast. Haggis is also used in sports. Brawny kilt-wearing Scots stand atop barrels and hurl the haggis as far as they can in this fascinating sport called.. yes, you guessed, haggis hurling. I always wondered why they chose to hurl the haggis. I mean, I never had the inclination to hurl a Chunky Monkey. I supppose it has something to do with those intestines. 

Macsween is a family owned business, which has been handed down over three generations since the founding of the Company and the first proud Haggis production line in 1953. They have come a long way since then, having turned Haggis into a magical brand which can now be traditional, vegetarian (oops, there go the intestines), microwaved,  barbequed, used in lasagne, made into pakura, stuffed in a pitta, topped on a pizza or delicately served up as Haggis tartlets. You know the Macsween's are totally into Haggis when they describe it on their website as a "gastronomic gem". I suppose thats why they say in Scotland that Haggis is a girl's best friend. ( gem >> diamond >> get it ?)

The 2009 Sustainable Haggis Report is a 13 page charmer, complete with little Haggises roaming around the pages on little Haggis legs. There is clearly a commitment to environment and community which, at the level of a small family business, may not have major global impact (Haggis saves the world from global warming) but is undoubtedly highly significant in Scotland. Macsween have an Ethical Sourcing Policy which requires suppliers to report on their quality , environment and sourcing practices. Also, the Company has an Environment Policy which has led them to deliver significant reductions in gas and water usage, and a waste recycling level of 97.8%.  Macsween is involved in the local community and contributes time, energy and Haggises. All in all, a delightful demonstration of how a small business can develop sustainable practices and state its commitment to making the world a better place, complete with green Haggis. Well done, Macsween. Despite my flippancy, I admire your business and your values.

You probably know what's coming next. Haggis flavored Chunky Monkey. With real Haggis chunks. A flavor to die for. Literally.

elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm. Visit our website at:  


David Coethica said...

Is nobody safe from the Elaine's scrutiny? Even a small Scottish Haggis producer gets the Chunky Monkey treatment!

Thanks for the review and history of the Haggis! Not my cup of tea (or should I say bag of intestines) but great to see a small company on the right track.

elaine said...

hi david, I admit to having eaten haggis many moons ago whilst in Edinburgh. Actually, it wasnt all that bad!Thanks for reading and commenting! elaine

שירלי קנטור שני said...

הי איליין
נהדר להחשף לחברות שאלמלא הבלוג שלך, לא הייתי מכירה ולא הייתי יודעת על ניהול האחריות התאגידית שלהן (לא יצא לי לטייל עדיין בסקוטלנד ולטעים את המעדן המדובר).
בכל מקרה, אחלה דוגמא לניהול אחריות תאגידית בעסק קטן. הוכחה לכך שלא הגודל קובע, אלא הערכים שמאחורי הבעלים.
תודה על עוד מעדן מקצועי :-)

elaine said...

hi shirley, thanks for your comments. Yes, there are many small companies who are doing a great job in sustainable and responsible business who never make the headlines. i am always pleased to write about such companies here. best wishes, elaine

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