The role of a multi-national in developing markets
A Cargill case study

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Page 3: Vision and mission

Cargill has grown to its present scale as a result of long-term planning. Bringing together producer and consumer by:

  • finding new and innovative ways to process and transport basic goods and services efficiently and economically
  • drawing upon years of knowledge and experience to meet the needs of today and prepare for the challenges of tomorrow.

These are the traditions and commitments of Cargill. Cargill's vision is to raise living standards around the world by delivering increased value to producers and consumers.


‘We will accomplish this vision by being the best at merchandising, processing and distributing agricultural and other commodities. We will reinvest a substantial amount of our cash flow to provide needed products and services for our customers, rewarding career opportunities for our employees and attractive long-term value for our shareholders. We will be a valued customer of our suppliers and responsible neighbours in our communities.’

Cargill’s basic beliefs are founded upon:

  • Integrity - Our word is our bond.
  • Excellence - Making Cargill the best at whatever it does.
  • Growth - Creating opportunities for individuals and our businesses.
  • Teamwork - Pooling individual knowledge and skills through effective communication to build shared success.
  • Long-term view - Having the patience and foresight to build sustainable businesses for the long haul.
  • Desire to compete - Seeking to win on an open, level playing field.

Cargill provides an object lesson in running an effective business in a
number of respects:

  1. In particular, it has stuck to what it does best and in areas where it has built up a wealth of experience over a long period of time, namely processing and transporting goods and services. It has stuck to its core competencies as a middleman, skilled at removing inefficiencies in the chain of supply from the producer of a raw material to the retailer. It has rarely become directly involved in farming, or in selling branded products to customers.
  2. It has benefited from concentrating on economies of scale in businesses where size brings considerable benefits. Cargill started in grain and has since moved on to a range of other commodities. This range lessens the impact on its earnings of price swings in a particular commodity and makes maximum use of shared distribution channels (ships, freight trains, etc.) and storage facilities.
  3. Cargill follows a conservative, long-term approach to investing. The company is involved in fulfilling basic human needs, primarily for food and food-related products. Cargill seeks to extend the basic skills it has developed in these businesses to areas in which they are both needed and wanted. Unlike some other multinational concerns, Cargill is in the business of serving market demand - not creating it.

Ethical behaviour

Ethics are the moral principles or guidelines which underpin what an organisation believes to be right or wrong. Many decisions made by Cargill have an ethical component, often involving relationships between producers and intermediaries. It is for this reason that strong, clear ethical values are built into the organisation’s culture, enabling Cargill’s decision makers to take long term views on issues as they arise.

Cargill | The role of a multi-national in developing markets