Many protagonists, one goal: 100% sustainable business conduct
Tchibo pursues its strategic core objective of “becoming a 100% sustainable business” at all levels in the company. In our integrated management system, the departments contribute to this with the support of the Directorate of Corporate Responsibility.
Moderated by our Directorate of Corporate Responsibility, the departments derive key objectives from the core goal of “becoming a 100% sustainable business”. These key objectives describe the ecological and social transformation process for the specific tasks of the individual departments, which break them down into tangible sub-goals and measures. The fixed and variable components of employee remuneration are linked to achieving these objectives.
Integrated system of targets
The example of coffee: a resolute focus on the core objective, and ongoing success monitoring
Our strategic core objective “on the path to becoming a 100% sustainable business” and related key objectives for all departments were adopted by the Tchibo GmbH management in 2011. In the Coffee value chain, for example, we pursue the medium-term key objective of only offering coffee from cultivation that meets economic, ecological and social requirements. Based on this key objective, the staff of the specialist departments responsible for the Coffee segment develop qualitative sub-goals for the fiscal year, overseen by their managing directors. The sub-goals are quantified using measurable indicators wherever possible. One of the sub-goals for 2015 was to increase the share of certified or validated sustainable coffee that we process to 40%.
We have already come a long way on the path to becoming a 100% sustainable business in recent years. You can read about the major milestones here: (Progress 2014 and goals 2015).
The Directorate of Corporate Responsibility
In 2006, we created the central Directorate of Corporate Responsibility role to mainstream and firmly anchor the management of sustainability activities in all areas of our organisation. The Director of Corporate Responsibility reports to the Chairman & CEO and with his staff supports the various departments in implementing and further developing their sustainability goals. He checks whether departments have achieved their sub-goals, and reports the results once a year - after consultation with the departments - to the Chairman of the Management Board (CEO). If necessary, the targets for the following business year are adjusted, and new targets are adopted. In addition, the Directorate coordinates company-wide and department-specific stakeholder management. The company’s Data Protection Office is also organisationally affiliated with it, giving it direct and mandate-free access to senior management (Corporate Governance).
Sustainability management system for all products and main processes
Stakeholder involvement: resolving structural challenges together
Involving our stakeholders within and outside the company involved is very important for us. We get to know their various expectations, can pick up on suggestions at an early stage, and build and expand a trustful relationship with our stakeholders. The dialogue with our stakeholders also often triggers innovation processes, both within the company and on a societal level.
The Directorate of Corporate Responsibility determines the processes and formats of stakeholder involvement in conjunction with representatives from the departments and the Corporate Communications Directorate. This includes representation on committees, and participation in round tables, alliances and initiatives such as the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and the Alliance for Sustainable Textiles. Here, we join other trading companies, producers, governments, NGOs and trade unions, to work on structural questions concerning the integration of environmental and social standards, questions that affect our value chain and can only be answered jointly. In conjunction with the various protagonists, we work to improve conditions in our procurement markets, while further developing our integrated management system.
An overview of key organisations, initiatives, memberships, etc. can be found here: (Facts & Figures).
Systematic review and analysis of relevant issues
Since 2006 we have been driving forward our sustainability management in a comprehensive, systematic and integrated way. We defined the material issues and strategic priorities based on our own knowledge. In 2012 we supplemented this with a comprehensive materiality survey among our stakeholders. Our stakeholders confirmed the relevance of the action areas we determined in 2006. They agree that the greatest social, environmental and economic challenges lie in the Consumer Goods and Coffee supply chains. The most important issues include the socially responsible and resource-conserving production of consumer goods, and improving the economic and social situation of the mainly smallholder coffee producers.
Materiality process 2012/13 – Basis for integration and reporting
In the lead-up to our 2012 survey, we identified 1,200 stakeholders and classified them into distinct groups (customers, employees, suppliers and business partners, government organisations, NGOs, trade unions, consumer organisations, science, banking, insurance, media). We began with an online survey in which we asked participants to assess the relevance of 34 sustainability issues and rate our efforts in the respective action areas from their point of view. They were also given the opportunity to express their personal expectations and make suggestions. We subsequently held detailed qualitative phone interviews with external sustainability experts for individual action areas, and asked employees from various departments for their assessment of the relevance of each area. On this basis, we prioritised our sustainability management topics, giving highest priority to topics where internal and external assessments differed most widely. Besides relevance, we also considered our potential influence in the area, e.g. by forming critical groups, and from these two factors derived a value indicating stakeholder attention. The priorities we identified in this way have guided us since in the development of specific targets and measures on the path to becoming a 100% sustainable business. [G4-18, G4-24]
To complement the materiality process, we use our Issues Management as a ‘topic radar’. Staff in the Corporate Responsibility Directorate and the divisions identify relevant sustainability issues for Tchibo at an early stage, and analyse social trends and legislative initiatives. They regularly exchange information with our market research experts, who also collect and analyse relevant trends. Social developments and legislative initiatives are taken into account in strategic planning, when deriving key objectives and sub-goals, and in determining measures. The management is immediately informed of critical issues such as urgent stakeholder concerns and NGO campaigns. [G4-18]
[G4-19, G4-20, G4-21]
In 2014, the following events and developments, among others, demonstrated the sustained or increased relevance of our material topics:
- Development of the Federal Government’s National Action Plan on ‘Business and Human Rights’
- Adoption of an EU directive on the disclosure of non-financial content in the Management Report
- Initiation of the Bündnis für nachhaltige Textilien (Alliance for Sustainable Textiles) by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ)
- Initiative for living wages in the textile industry (ACT)
- Study by the Clean Clothes Campaign on wages in the textile industry
- DETOX campaign by Greenpeace to exclude hazardous substances
- PETA campaign against animal cruelty in Asian Angora farms
Coffee Report 2014 by brand eins and Tchibo: One-third of consumers in Germany use environmentally and socially responsible produced coffees and specialty coffees