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.”
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).