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]

Sustainability management
Coffee supply chain
Consumer goods supply chain
Environmental protection

[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