Shining Light Company: Sysco Corporation

Sysco Corporation (Symbol: SYY) is the largest distributor of food products to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, lodging establishments and other customers who prepare meals away from home. They also provide equipment and supplies for the foodservice and hospitality industries. Founded in 1969 through the merger of several separate companies, Sysco now operates 193 distribution facilities serving approximately 425,000 customers. Each year, its 48,000 employees deliver 1.3 billion cases of food and other products.

Founder John Baugh was deeply respected as a man of integrity and selfless behavior, principles he made sure were an integral part of his new corporation. As he approached retirement, the Sysco Board of Directors honored him with the “Resolution and Tribute,” containing two statements which perhaps sum him up best:

“Throughout all his years of leadership in the SYSCO enterprise, John F. Baugh demonstrated unstinting devotion to the principles of loyalty, integrity and harmony with his God.”

“We express our deep gratitude for the nearly 29 years of John Baugh’s executive leadership, the legacy of his enduring accomplishments and an appreciation for those lives he has touched and made better by their association with him.”

Years after his retirement and death, the company remains true to Mr. Baugh’s vision. They know that success does not happen on its own. Instead, it is dependentupon relationships that require mutual trust and understanding, something that must be continuously nurtured and earned. Sysco’s Code of Conduct and corporate governance are based upon one simple principle: Do the right thing. Signing the Code and attending annual ethics training are conditions of employment. All board members and executive officers are required to own a specified minimum number of shares of company stock by their fifth year with the company. Suppliers have their own Code of Conduct for doing business with Sysco and may be audited at any time, with or without advance notice.

Sysco has significant opportunities to affect change.  They focus their sustainability efforts on three aspects of business that have the greatest impact potential: Food, operations and community.

Sysco customers are expressing a new set of values. Many care not only about price and quality, but also about where their food comes from, who grows it, and how it gets to them.  Striving to be their customers’ most valued business partner and use industry best practices,Sysco  maintains relationships with growers, ranchers, processors, and foodservice peers across the nation to deliver the most responsibly produced food possible. Sysco’s sustainability path has taken them from their suppliers’ fields to their customers’ tables. They are influencing the entire foodservice lifecycle by promoting low-impact farming methods, using hybrid diesel delivery trucks, providing local and organic foods and using biodegradable takeout containers.  Their goal is to do what’s right for their business, community and the planet.

They take their corporate responsibility seriously by supporting local causes through philanthropy and volunteering.Their goal is to direct 75 percent of community donations and volunteerism toward hunger relief initiatives.  They are a significant supporter of Feeding America (formerly Second Harvest) and Share Our Strength. The company also sponsors “Dine Out America,” an effort to encourage restaurants to donate two weeks of proceeds to childhood hunger. Sysco’s operating companies independently manage their community giving and volunteer programs within the areas they serve, working with local nonprofits and using a similar hunger relief strategy.

Creating an inclusive environment helps to gain the very best from their associates and is essential to their continued success.  Another part of being a good corporate citizen is stewardship. Sysco employees have access to a wide array of benefits, including a stock participation plan, tuition reimbursement, and matching gifts to charitable causes.

Sysco offers their customers more good things than they expect. They go above and beyond to get customers the foodservice products they want, when they want them, at the right price and delivering as promised. They know that when their customers are successful, they are in turn, successful.  Through doing business this way, Sysco is living up to that one key principle of doing the right things right.  For this reason, we are proud to honor them as a Shining Light Company!



DISCLOSURE: Shining Light Companies are exemplary companies who live out the Golden Rule in their business practices, demonstrate strong servant leadership and create compelling value through the products and services they offer. This is intended for general information purposes concerning only the values, corporate culture and business practices of the companies being spotlighted. It DOES NOT incorporate any analysis of the companies’ investment merit based on intrinsic value, fundamental analysis, etc. This must not be construed as investment advice or a buy/sell recommendation. These companies may or may not be included in our LightPoint Portfolios at any given time.