Dear Readers,

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.

Yours sincerely,

Thomas Linemayr