For the preservation of an intact natural world: Increase climate protection, reduce resource consumption
An intact natural world is an essential prerequisite for the future viability of our business: coffee, cotton, wood and other natural raw materials form the basis of our product ranges. So it is very important to us that climate change be limitedand natural resources be conserved. Accordingly, we are expanding our climate protection measures at our sites, in our supply chain management, and in employee mobility. We are working to minimise our use of resources, increase recycling, and offset unavoidable CO₂ emissions.
As a trading company that requires raw materials for the production of its products, we contribute to the consumption of resources. We also cause CO₂ emissions when we transport, store and deliver our products, as well as at our administrative offices and Tchibo Shops. At the same time, our company is directly affected by the repercussions of climate change and impending resource scarcity. Raw materials such as wood, coffee, cotton and other natural resources are important foundations of our product lines and therefore of our business. Climate protection and resource conservation significantly help in enabling us to offer our customers high-quality products into the future. That is why we are continually working to minimise our CO₂ emissions and use of natural resources. Based on our extensive insights and many years of experience, we focus on activities that are related to our product ranges, and on action areas that we can directly influence – our sites, mobility and resource efficiency.
Legal and social requirements are on the rise
Increasing regulation, legislation and voluntary initiatives are aimed at boosting climate and resource protection – at national level as well as throughout the EU and around the world. One of the major regulations that impact Tchibo as well is the German Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act, which has been in force since 2015. It stipulates that retailers must take back old devices. A new German Packaging Act is also in planning, and is due to enter into force in 2019 with the aim of conserving resources and increasing recycling rates. Besides legal directives, policymakers are also formulating targets like the international climate protection targets, and other requirements. One particularly relevant one for our business is the Extended Product Responsibility approach as specified in the German Waste Management and Product Recycling Act: it stipulates that manufacturers continue to be responsible for their products even when they are scrapped. This refers first and foremost to take-back and recycling rules, but also requirements for developing more durable products, and using secondary raw materials during production.
One major voluntary initiative is the European Union’s call to its member states to reduce the per-capita consumption of plastic bags. Campaigns and initiatives mounted by civil society also serve to boost public awareness of environmental issues. Apart from plastic bags, textiles, coffee capsules, and disposable takeaway coffee cups are among the products or packaging where the proportionality of resource consumption is being questioned. And so, for example, reusable cup systems across multiple vendors are now available in an increasing number of cities.
Meeting challenges systematically
We are tackling these and other legal and social requirements and are proactively working on solutions to make a significant contribution to more climate and resource protection. Particular challenges lie in establishing mechanisms and structures for increased environmental and climate protection across all the relevant phases of a product’s lifecycle: from the production and selection of raw materials to the design and manufacturing processes, to the packaging and recycling of waste.
In order to find the best solutions, especially for industry-wide and global issues such as countering climate change, we participate in the social discourse of business, politics and civil society on a sustainable further development of the economy, primarily through organisations such as the German Trade Association (HDE).
Effective protection of our climate and resources
We systematically reduce CO₂ emissions to counter climate change. To do this, we design our processes to be as energy-efficient and low-emission as possible. We start with the causes and focus our engagement on action areas where we have the most influence and can make the biggest difference: in the transport and shipping of our products, at our production plants. Roadmap 2020 is the guideline for our actions; in it, we have further increased our climate-protection targets for 2015. To identify and realise additional savings potential, we included even more sites and processes in the calculation of our 2016 carbon footprint.
Packaging accounts for a large share of our resource requirements. In our quest to continually reduce our consumption of raw materials, we are resolutely implementing our packaging policy, which we updated in 2015. We further tightened our already ambitious environmental requirements, and formulated clear guidelines to avoid, reduce, reuse, improve and offset packaging – in that order of priority. When introducing new packaging or optimising existing packaging, we always base our decision-making on this system in order to find an environmentally friendly solution – for product packaging, as well as packaging for transport and shipping. We are also continuously increasing the use of recycled and FSC®-certified paper. Under our ‘Closed Loop Strategy’, we work on designing products as well as material cycles, from the start, so that the valuable materials they contain can be upcycled or at least recycled at the end of their use.
Increasing our potential influence through cooperation
However, as an individual company, we do come up against the limits of our influence. Systemic and structural challenges can only be effectively countered by teaming up with other protagonists. For this reason, we are involved in associations and organisations committed to multicompany solutions for protecting the environment, such as the Clean Cargo Working Group. With a view to the planned packaging legislation, we are actively involved in an expert group to develop an incentive system for eco-friendlier packaging. To support the Paris Climate Agreement, we joined ten other German trading companies in signing a declaration on savings programmes and measures in December 2015. It stipulates the promotion of e-cars and green buildings, as well as the use of efficient lighting and air-conditioning technology.
A binding basis: environmental protection is anchored in all processes
We continually develop our activities based on a strong foundation: protecting the environment and the climate is an integral part of our business strategy and firmly anchored in the Tchibo DNA. “We take responsibility for the ecological and social impact of our actions” - this principle guides our work across all business processes. The Tchibo Code of Conduct additionally defines binding rules of eco-conscious conduct for all our staff. At our administrative and warehouse sites, we use an environmental management system that is based on the ISO 14001 standard and logs our significant consumption volumes. This serves as a basis for reducing our use of energy, water, gas and paper consumption, as well as minimising waste and CO2 emissions from our fleet of vehicles and business travel. The energy management at our production sites in Germany is ISO 50001 certified. We also apply other, voluntary guidelines above and beyond this: ISO 14040ff for lifecycle assessment, ISO 14020ff for environment-related communications, and ISO 16258 for accounting for transport-related emissions, as well as our own Packaging Directive, which contains information on general procedures, KPIs, instruments, and guiding principles.
Environmental officers handle the integration of environmental aspects into business operations in the various divisions and departments. Environmental targets are agreed with them annually. The Corporate Responsibility department coordinates cross-departmental and cross-divisional activities. It ensures that the environmental measures initiated in the departments and units are coordinated with the strategic objectives as well as with each other – by monitoring and analysing societal trends, current events, and legislative initiatives. The idea is to address new developments as early as possible and to help shape these developments.
Guiderail for sustainable logistics: Roadmap 2020
In making sure that our logistics processes are sustainable, we are guided by our Roadmap 2020. Adopted in 2015, it builds on the goals already achieved and resolutely continues the path to a 100% sustainable business. In the Roadmap, we have set clear targets for climate protection, which we are continuously working to achieve: the further reduction of our CO₂ emissions in transport, at the roasting plants, the warehouses, the administrative offices, and the Tchibo shops.
A framework for resource efficiency: the Packaging Directive
Our Packaging Directive, which has been in force since 2015, follows the maxim: avoid, reduce, reuse, improve, and offset. In other words: we avoid disposable cups, disposable shopping bags, and paper waste. We reduce overall weight of waste, as well as the use of paper and cardboard, and source the remaining requirements from certified responsible forestry and recycled materials. We develop solutions to ensure that our packaging can be recycled or reused.
Leveraging synergies: voluntary commitments
By joining voluntary commitments, we create a clear framework for eco-friendly action in the company while also expanding our commitment. In Hamburg and Berlin, we work with an energy management system that is in accordance with Tchibo Manufacturing GmbH & Co. KG’s DIN EN ISO 50001:2011, in order to increase energy efficiency and reduce its consumption. We have joined the voluntary commitments of business associations in Germany and Austria to no longer give free plastic bags to customers at our Tchibo shop, in order to reduce the number of disposable bags given out. As a member of the Biodiversity in Good Company initiative, we work with other companies in the industry to find solutions for preserving global biodiversity. As part of this, we have committed to analysing the impact of our business on biodiversity, and to include the protection of biodiversity as well as sustainable use of raw materials in our environmental management system.
Keeping an eye on the progress made: ongoing monitoring
Depending on the measure, we develop suitable KPIs which are regularly checked as part of our monitoring – e.g. for electricity consumption at our roasting plants, or for reducing relative packaging volumes. In addition, selected environmental indicators are verified by an auditing company as part of the report audit. KPIs per assortment are also verified in annual audits. Based on the results of the latest evaluations, we keep developing Roadmap 2020, survey consumption and emissions at additional sites with a view to reducing them, and use improved computational logic in calculating the carbon footprint, so as to achieve even more accurate results.