for 65 years, a focus on long-term success and the paradigm of the honourable Hanseatic merchant have guided Tchibo’s conduct as a family-owned business. Based on this corporate culture, we first named sustainable business operations as an explicit goal in our corporate strategy in 2006. As a business, we want to
consistently integrate sustainability in our processes, thereby contributing to the development and enforcement of international social and environmental standards.
Tchibo relies on the principle of voluntary commitment. Since 2009 we have subscribed to the principles of the Global Compact of the United Nations, a voluntary alliance of companies and organisations that advocate human rights, fair working conditions and environmental protection around the globe. Beyond this, we
participate in other voluntary alliances such as the Bangladesh Accord, which we co-developed in 2012, and the Alliance for Sustainable Textiles in 2015, with which Germany has assumed a pioneering role internationally.
Developing and enforcing international social and environmental standards requires the involvement of many stakeholders: governments that provide the necessary regulatory framework; scientists who contribute their expertise; as well as civic society groups and trade unions that advance the issues and put them on the public agenda. Consumers also play a key role: with their purchasing decisions, they determine the value of social responsibility on a daily basis.
2014 gives us reason for optimism. The year was strongly influenced by this sense of ‘shared responsibility’: governments in key buyer countries for consumer goods established new rules for globally connected supply chains. The UN principles for business and human rights have started being transferred into national action plans. The industry is called on to participate.
Sustainability Balance Sheet 2014
In the past year, we made important progress on this path. Our long-term partnerships with producers, suppliers and other stakeholders is an important success factor in this endeavour.
In 2014, we increased the share of sustainable green coffee, i.e. validated or certified by standards organisations, to around 35%; we expect this to increase to 40% for 2015. Tchibo doesn’t just rely on certifications and standards as it works to further increase this share. We participate in various alliances to improve framework conditions, such as the Sustainable Coffee Program, and are also increasingly relying on direct, close cooperation with local producers and suppliers. Our Tchibo Joint Forces! ® (TJF) programme helps coffee farmers and co-operatives to act entrepreneurially, to improve the efficiency of their operations, and increase their sales opportunities. More than 30,000 coffee farmers have successfully completed this programme to date.
In our textiles range, the shift to using only sustainably grown cotton is nearly complete at 85%. Already, Tchibo is the world’s third-largest vendor of organic cotton textiles.
We support the manufacturers of our consumer goods with the supplier qualification programme WE (Worldwide Enhancement of Social Quality). It involves the management and employees entering into dialogue to develop concrete solutions for improving local working conditions and environmental protection. 320 factories had participated by the end of 2014: we now cover around 75% of our consumer goods purchasing volume with suppliers from risk markets whom we have helped meet the necessary qualifications.
I cordially invite you to take a first-hand look at these and other advances and challenges. Let us know your wishes,
suggestions and any criticism you may have. We look forward to hearing from you!
Dr Markus Conrad