Safeguarding the future with a tried and tested mission statement

Tchibo, a family-owned business founded in 1949, models itself on the ideal of the ‘honourable merchant’: We think long-term and see it as our obligation as a business to take respon­si­bility for our actions. That is why, on our way to becoming a 100% sustainable business, we consider the impact on people and the environment in all our key processes, thereby safeguarding our business success long term. We focus on areas where we can make a difference through direct influence. We are convinced that our business success should not come at the expense of people and the environment. The Tchibo brand should be synonymous sustain­ability and be perceived as such by our stake­holders.

Tchibo stands for enjoyment and quality – and we intend to continue living up to this claim. An intact natural world as a source of high-quality products; fair cooper­ation with respon­sible business partners; passionate employees; and the trust customers place in us determine the future viability of our business. That is why sustain­ability has been firmly integrated in our business strategy, in the Tchibo DNA and in our Code of Conduct since 2006.

On the path to a 100% sustainable business

Tchibo is on its way to becoming a 100% sustainable business – that is our key strategic objective, which was adopted by the management in 2011. We take the respon­si­bility for striving to eliminate the negative impacts of our activ­ities, or minimise them where this isn’t possible. To this end, we are working, step by step, to make the processes and products in our company and value chains environ­men­tally and socially compatible. In these efforts, we follow three principles:

  • We ensure that our conduct complies with legis­lation and standards, every­where and at all times. In 2006 we intro­duced the Tchibo Code of Conduct as a binding directive for this purpose.
  • We take respon­si­bility for the social and environ­mental impact of our business activ­ities on people and the environment. We have embedded sustain­ability in our Tchibo DNA.
  • We concen­trate our efforts on the processes and products with the greatest impact on people and the environment, and where our company has the greatest influence.

We see it as our duty as a business to take on respon­si­bility in our value chains and initiate change where it is most urgently needed. Due to our business model, we can make a difference primarily in the culti­vation and processing of coffee, cotton and wood.

Achim Lohrie
Director Corporate Respon­si­bility, Tchibo GmbH

Tchibo takes care to ensure compliance with social and environ­mental standards in the manufacture of products. We system­at­i­cally work towards perma­nently improving working condi­tions in the production of consumer goods in factories and in the culti­vation and processing of natural resources that we require, and to minimise any environ­mental damage. As a basis for this we have developed a management system with clear respon­si­bil­ities. We cooperate with inter­na­tionally accredited standards organ­i­sa­tions in the devel­opment and sourcing of sustainable coffee, cotton and wood and pulp. We include all relevant external stake­holders in our activ­ities so that together, we can improve the social, environ­mental and economic condi­tions in our source markets for raw coffee and consumer goods.

Protecting people and the environment, increasing employee loyalty, strength­ening customer trust, ensuring business success

Sustainable corporate devel­opment requires extensive modifi­ca­tions to business processes. It also offers us and our stake­holders many oppor­tu­nities. Factory workers benefit from socially acceptable production methods, while at the same time their produc­tivity and the quality of the products increases. By conserving resources and including ecological aspects in production as well, we protect the environment, safeguard the basis of our business, and reduce our costs. Sustain­ability strengthens employee loyalty and the trust of our customers and helps us to keep inspiring them. This results in products that help customers make sustainable buying decisions, thereby making a lasting contri­bution to our business success.

Tackling challenges with new forms of global collab­o­ration

But there are limits to what we can do; some challenges cannot be resolved by individual companies alone. Despite decades of efforts by various stake­holder groups, the results achieved in many Asian procurement markets are hardly satis­factory – especially regarding building and fire safety, living wages and freedom to form trade unions. Although our consumer goods procurement policy can go a long way to ensuring that our own suppliers recognise and comply with social and environ­mental standards, this does not eliminate struc­tural and political short­comings.

Around the world, the reali­sation is growing that in these cases success can only be achieved with a joint effort by all relevant stake­holders from government, business, nongovern­mental organ­i­sa­tions and trade unions. Tchibo supports efforts to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights through action plans and the like, and partic­i­pates in cross-sector alliances. These include the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and the Alliance for Sustainable Textiles in Germany. Voluntary commitment by companies also plays an important role, for example, to the DETOX standard developed by the environ­mental organ­i­sation Green­peace.

Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh
An important alliance for our efforts in the textile supply chain is the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. We were one of the Accord’s first two signa­tories in 2012. Since then we have worked with other inter­na­tional trading companies, producers, the government, with trade unions and NGOs on the assertion of stringent fire and building safety standards for the textile industry in Bangladesh (Social aspects of production).

Alliance for Sustainable Textiles
The Alliance for Sustainable Textiles now repre­sents more than 50% of the textiles industry in Germany. Like other major market partic­i­pants, Tchibo joined the Alliance in June 2015. The partners are currently drafting a joint action plan to promote the imple­men­tation of environ­mental and social standards at all stages of the textiles supply chain. For many companies, such an action plan will mean signif­icant changes to their own processes: staff and infor­mation resources need to be estab­lished, existing approaches in sustainable supply chain management strengthened and expanded to other protag­o­nists in the upstream stages of the supply chain in conjunction with the suppliers. Here at Tchibo, we are well prepared for this with our sustain­ability concept already integrated into the consumer goods supply chain, and our practical experience (Social aspects of production).

The aim of the Green­peace DETOX standard is to eliminate the use of undesirable chemicals in all processes of textile production by 2020. In 2014 Tchibo signed the DETOX Commitment, which many inter­na­tional commercial and indus­trial companies joined before and since. The imple­men­tation of the exacting standards by 2020 presents partic­i­pants with major challenges. The two biggest are to create trans­parency about the complex prelim­inary stages of the supply chain, and to develop alter­na­tives to unwanted chemicals at the various upstream stages (Ecological aspects of production)

We are convinced that our future economic perfor­mance is largely deter­mined by whether it is possible to improve the social, environ­mental and economic condi­tions in the sourcing countries. We will use our influence as a global company and as a partner in existing and emerging alliances.

Setting prior­ities, joining forces

Over the past nine years, Tchibo has developed an integrated management approach to tackle the various challenges in the supply chains. The very design of our products already helps to conserve natural resources. In the production process, our Purchasing teams work in partnership with suppliers on the ground, helping them to comply with our stringent quality require­ments, which include social and environ­mental standards. We focus on long-term collab­o­ration with selected strategic partners. This increases trans­parency and reduces risks in our supply chain, while also increasing our suppliers’ planning and investment security. This integrated management approach validates the trust our customers place in our products and their lasting quality.

Coffee value chain
In the coffee sector, it is essential to work in partnership with the coffee farmers on the ground. Our Tchibo Joint Forces!® quali­fi­cation programme encourages the positive economic devel­opment of small­holder opera­tions, putting them in a position to make their own contri­bu­tions to imple­menting social and environ­mental standards. We system­at­i­cally select suitable producers and monitor their sustainable devel­opment step by step in a multi-year process. This modular process starts with training to increase the yield and quality of the coffee to improve the farms’ profitability. In many cases it culmi­nates in certi­fi­cation by a recog­nised standards organ­i­sation. We have success­fully qualified more than 30,000 coffee farmers through Tchibo Joint Forces!®, and are steadily increasing our share of validated or certified sustainable coffee: in 2014 the share of raw coffee that met the criteria of the Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, UTZ Certified and certified organic or 4C baseline standards accounted for around 35% of our total raw coffee (Coffee value chain).

Consumer goods value chain
With our Worldwide Enhancement of Social Quality (WE) quali­fi­cation programme and systematic monitoring of suppliers, we help producers comply with the social and environ­mental standards of our Tchibo Social and Environ­mental Code of Conduct (SCoC). WE training focuses on fostering dialogue between our buyers and the management and employees at factories. Based on this, the partners draw up action plans for a continuous improvement process. WE leads to a joining of forces and increased trans­parency. Already, 75% of our purchasing volume comes from suppliers who have completed our WE programme (Consumer Goods value chain).

Customers & products
“Find it only at Tchibo” – In accor­dance with this guiding principle, we seek not only to satisfy our customers, but to inspire them anew every day. That is why we place the highest quality demands on all of our products, offer them at a fair price, and strive to promote sustainable consumption. To achieve this, we have set three prior­ities: we consis­tently focus on the wishes and needs of our customers, offer them excellent service, and ensure effective complaints management. We ensure the high quality and safety of our products by setting high standards, and include social, environ­mental and ethical standards in our quality claim. We are gradually shifting the purchasing of the raw materials processed in our products to sustainable sources, build awareness of their benefits among our customers, and thereby promote sustainable consumption (Customers & Products).

Environ­mental protection in our opera­tions
Protecting the environment and climate is a key element in Tchibo’s sustainable business strategy and is firmly anchored in the Tchibo DNA. We take a close look at all our key business processes and take measures where we can most effec­tively reduce CO2 emissions and the consumption of resources. In the case of climate change, this involves reducing the energy efficiency of our logistics processes and roasting facil­ities, as well as the fuel consumption of our vehicle fleet. In this way we have been able to reduce CO2e emissions related to goods transport by around 32% using 2006 as a base year. Our fleet strategy sets lower ceilings for new company car CO2 emissions each year. We conserve valuable resources by making our own processes more efficient and system­at­i­cally reducing our demand for paper and packaging materials. At the same time we are switching to purchasing paper and cardboard from respon­sible sources (Environ­mental protection in our opera­tions).

Employees at Tchibo
Tchibo fosters an appre­ciative company culture and offers its employees a stimu­lating, perfor­mance-oriented working environment. We contin­u­ously adapt our recruitment, education and training activ­ities to the changing demands of the working world and/or the needs of our employees. Our compre­hensive occupa­tional health management system is designed to help our employees stay healthy. We make it easier for our staff to achieve a healthy work-life balance with flexible rules regarding working hours and homeworking, childcare offers, and support in caring for family members. We reward perfor­mance with personal recog­nition, attractive, fair and perfor­mance-based pay, and providing a wide range of voluntary benefits (Employees at Tchibo).

In 2014, we continued to make measurable progress on our path to becoming a 100% sustainable business. The indicators are listed in the Progress subchapter (Progress 2014 & aims 2015).