In 2006, we set out on our way to becoming a 100 % sustainable business. As a Hamburg-based family business, we aspire to the role of an ‘honourable merchant’: we focus on long-term commercial success by managing our businesses in a values-driven way. We earn the trust of our customers with high product and process quality, environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing, fair prices, and the best service.
As an internationally operating trading company, we take responsibility for acting sustainably at all levels of our business. This is no easy task in a globalised world characterised by a division of labour, with complex purchasing and trading structures. Conserving resources, protecting our climate, mitigating the consequences of climate change, and enforcing human rights requires innovative approaches, strong alliances, and clear international and national rules, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP).
Back in 2009, we joined the United Nations Global Compact, a voluntary alliance of companies and organisations that advocate human rights, fair working conditions and environmental protection around the globe.
Sustainability Balance Sheet 2016
On our way towards a 100% sustainable business, we have the following results to report for 2016:
36% of the green coffee we use for our coffee assortments is certified or validated as sustainable. Every second, we serve a cup of certified sustainable coffee in our Tchibo shops. However, we are not happy with this result, as we have to report a reduction in sustainable grades compared to the previous year. We are working hard on a programme in Brazil and other regions that will advance the sustainability of Arabica and Robusta coffees on a broad scale, and ensure a greater supply of such grades.
80% of our textiles are made from sustainable cotton. We are the world’s third-largest vendor of textiles made from organic cotton. While this fills us with pride, we haven’t forgotten that only about 12 percent of the global cotton crop is produced in sustainable ways. In 2016, we became a member of the Organic Cotton Accelerator, a multi-stakeholder initiative in which we work with protagonists in the international cotton industry to strengthen and expand organic cotton farming, and to build an internationally viable market for organic cotton.
We also use responsibly managed sources for wood and pulp, other raw materials we need. Our shipping boxes, magazines and catalogues are made 100% from FSC®-certified paper. The overall share of sustainable wood products in our range was around 40% in 2016.
During the reporting period, we successfully continued our qualification programmes. Tchibo Joint Forces!® supports coffee farmers in the gradual shift from conventional to environmentally, socially and economically sustainable coffee farming. More than 30,000 farmers have now successfully completed the programme. Add to that approximately 50,000 farmers whose sustainable development we support under our International Coffee Partners (ICP) cooperation programme.
With the Worldwide Enhancement of Social Quality (WE) supplier qualification programme, which we conceived in cooperation with Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (German Society for International Cooperation) in 2007, we have now reached more than 340,000 employees in 342 consumer goods factories worldwide.
However, in seeking to ensure sustainability in the internationally interconnected supply chains, we do encounter the limits of our influence as a single company. Which is why we partner with other players to jointly tackle systemic challenges through innovative programmes. In the coffee industry, for example, we work primarily through the Global Coffee Platform (GCP), established in 2016, to shape a sustainable international coffee industry. In the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, and the Alliance for Sustainable Textiles initiated by Germany’s federal government, we work for sustainability in the complex international supply structures for consumer goods. In September 2016, Tchibo became the first German trading company to sign a framework agreement with the IndustriALL Global Union. The idea is to make it easier for employees and trade unions at Asian consumer goods factories in particular to negotiate wages, benefits and working hours, both in-house and industry-wide.
We have abolished free single-use plastic bags in our Tchibo shops, introduced reusable takeaway cups for coffee, and now offer 100% recyclable Cafissimo coffee capsules.
Under the umbrella of the ‘Wir zusammen – Integrationsinitiative der Deutschen Wirtschaft’ (We Together – Integration Initiative by German Business) platform, we do our part to provide humanitarian relief to refugees and support their integration into society.
In 2016, in recognition of our achievements, we received the German Sustainability Award as Germany's Most Sustainable Large Company.
All this and much more is the result of the dedicated cooperation of many people outside and within our company. I would particularly like to thank our employees, who work for sustainability on a daily basis with great energy and conviction, and our customers, who place their trust in us and reward us for our efforts with their decision to buy.
In this Sustainability Report we report comprehensively on our achievements, future measures, and recent developments in 2017. I wish you an enjoyable read and look forward to your suggestions or requests, as well as any constructive criticism.