SUSTAINABILITY REPORT
2016

In networks: Together for better framework condi­tions

Tchibo joins other relevant protag­o­nists from the industry, politics, business, associ­a­tions, trade unions and the social environment in multi-stake­holder initia­tives that work to promote better condi­tions in the coffee-growing countries. Political or struc­tural issues often cannot be addressed or can be only partially addressed with individual projects. Urgent topics for coffee farmers include the expansion of the infras­tructure, the provision of investment, and clear political regula­tions for environ­men­tally and socially acceptable coffee culti­vation.

Our aim and approach in alliances is to improve the struc­tural and financial framework for farmers in the origins (economic perspective), and to support the local commu­nities, especially women and children, in matters of education and additional oppor­tu­nities for income (social perspective). In addition, we are committed to preserving the ecological basis for the culti­vation of coffee (ecological perspective).

Global Coffee Platform

In March 2016, the Sustainable Coffee Program (SCP) – a cooper­ation between inter­na­tional coffee roasters and the Netherland’s Initiative for Sustainable Trade (IDH) as the public partner – teamed up with the 4C Associ­ation to form the Global Coffee Platform (GCP). The aim of the alliance is to unite all key stake­holders and initia­tives in the coffee and tea industry – both private and public – in a global alliance and jointly address common issues. This will allow more joint activ­ities to be realised at a global and national level. The action focuses on small­holders. More than 300 organ­i­sa­tions have agreed to jointly cooperate with govern­ments for this.

To this end, the GCP has concluded a Memorandum of Under­standing on the joint cooper­ation with the ICO (Inter­na­tional Coffee Organ­i­sation), in which the govern­ments of the producing countries are repre­sented.

Within the framework of the GCP, we are assuming an active role in shaping a sustainable coffee sector. Tchibo co-founded the GCP and has a seat on its steering committee. An important result at the beginning of 2017 was the signing of another Memorandum of Under­standing with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooper­ation and Devel­opment.

As an open and inclusive organ­i­sation, the GCP will pursue the goal of imple­menting sustainable devel­opment in the countries where coffee is grown:  

‘Vision 2020/2030’ forms the basis for the new alliance. Only if all stake­holders work together with a shared vision can a greater impact be achieved in increasing produc­tivity and improving the living condi­tions of coffee farmers. The vision describes the measures that are necessary to create a sustainable coffee sector:


  • Organise small­holders into cooper­a­tives
  • Improve produc­tivity and income
  • Avoid and prevent imper­mis­sible child labour
  • Equal treatment of women and men, girls and boys
  • Rehabil­itate ecosystems
  • Adapt to climate change, reduce contri­bution to climate change
  • Access to funding, improve business knowledge
  • Promote the producing countries’ sustain­ability agendas

30 GCP members from the private sector, including well-known roasters, exporters and coffee traders, have signed the shared agenda of the Vision 2030 Call for Collective Action.

National platforms: In addition to a global structure for the organ­i­sation, the estab­lishment of national platforms with national partic­i­pants was also supported. They can much better assess what is needed in a given country to promote the sustainable devel­opment of the coffee sector and initiate regional solutions. National Sustain­ability Curricula are being developed that delineate country-specific condi­tions for improving sustain­ability.

Global workstreams: The thematic fields of Vision 2030 are grouped into ‘workstreams’, as they involve global problems that require compre­hensive solutions. The three workstreams deal with climate change, the economic viability of coffee culti­vation, and the involvement of women farmers and youths.

Tools for support:

  • A global framework for perfor­mance measurement that allows the sector to contin­ually evaluate, improve and publish the devel­opment and achieve­ments of sustain­ability measures.
  • An online platform for learning, community education, and campaigns.
  • The Baseline Common Code as a sector-wide reference, to reach 100% of the coffee production community.

On the basis of these three pillars, one key GCP objective is to help coffee farmers form cooper­a­tives and increase their produc­tivity and income. Imper­mis­sible child labour is to be prevented and local society stabilised by supporting women and youths. Another aim is better environ­mental protection and the preser­vation of ecosystems.

Inter­na­tional Coffee Partners

In 2001, Tchibo co-founded the Inter­na­tional Coffee Partners (ICP) initiative, an associ­ation of leading European roasters and a green coffee trader. Based on the principle of helping people to help themselves, the ICP focuses on increasing the compet­i­tiveness of small­holders to increase their produc­tivity based on sustainable farming practices in order to achieve a higher income and, thus, better living condi­tions.

Tchibo is involved in ICP projects in projects Latin America, Africa and Asia. Overall, ICP is currently active with projects in 12 countries. Those projects always directly address small­holders, their families, and local commu­nities. Local and inter­na­tional devel­opment organ­i­sa­tions, public author­ities, NGOs and producer repre­sen­ta­tives are also involved.

A total of 17 projects have been completed since 2001, in which more than 12 million euros of private and public funding have been invested. More than 43,000 farmers and some 284,000 family members have been reached with these projects.

Coffee & Climate

Coffee culti­vation is directly affected by the reper­cus­sions of climate change. For farmers to maintain or improve the quality and quantity of their income, they have to adapt their farming practices to the changing weather patterns. The Coffee & Climate initiative has supported them in this since 2010. Tchibo is a founding member – alongside other inter­na­tional coffee companies, a green coffee trader, and the German Society for Inter­na­tional Cooper­ation (GIZ). The initiative is active in four strate­gi­cally important culti­vation regions for Arabica and Robusta beans: Brazil, Vietnam and Tanzania as well as Trifinio – a region of Central America in the border area between Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – where more than 70,000 coffee farmers are expected to benefit from the activ­ities of the initiative by the end of 2018.

Coffee and Climate provides farmers and other local protag­o­nists with tools and knowledge to identify climate change-related risks for local coffee culti­vation and to commu­nicate appro­priate adaptation methods to the producers. One tool is the C&C Toolbox – a freely acces­sible online platform that provides best-practice methods, support, climate maps, and training material. In 2016, the Toolbox was further developed in 2016, case studies were authored in local languages, ​​and cooper­ation with organ­i­sa­tions at regional level was expanded. The initiative also makes the compre­hensive 'Climate Change Adaption in Coffee Production' guide available on its website as another result of its work.

Biodi­versity in Good Company

Tchibo promotes the conser­vation of biodi­versity and the protection of ecosystems in coffee growing. That is why, in 2012, we became a member of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment’s 'Biodi­versity in Good Company' initiative. The initiative brings together pioneering companies from different sectors to jointly develop solutions for preserving biodi­versity worldwide. It also aims to raise public awareness of the issue of biodi­versity.

When we joined, we signed a 'Leadership Decla­ration'. It commits us to integrating the preser­vation of biodi­versity into our company’s environ­mental and sustain­ability management, and to pursuing appro­priate goals and measures. In 2016, we published our third progress report on the Leadership Decla­ration.