Sustainable Development Goals: for sustainable global development
At its 2015 General Assembly, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which replace the eight Millennium Development Goals. 193 countries agreed on 17 goals, comprising 169 sub-goals. The SDGs combine the social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainability. Their targets go far beyond the Millennium Goals, which are regarded as a global frame of reference for jointly combating poverty and hunger in industrialised, developing and emerging countries.
Their content provides a framework for action, among other things for ensuring a sustainable approach to the production of goods and development of services, for establishing fair incomes and wages, preserving the environment and biodiversity, safeguarding a secure food supply, for equality of women and men, and boys and girls, and for the right to education.
As an international trading company, we operate within global structures and take advantage of/benefit from/make use of the global division of labour. Therefore, we consider it part of our corporate responsibility to make our contribution to the implementation of the SDGs. For us, the SDGs are particularly relevant in regard to product definition and the international value chains. With our environmental and social programmes in the key areas of our business, we not only safeguard the future viability of our company, but also contribute to the implementation of the global development targets, as the following examples demonstrate:
Sustainable product development: Coffee
On our way towards becoming a 100% sustainable business, we are supported in the coffee-growing regions by internationally recognised organisations that have pooled their expertise into environmental and social standards. In 2016, the share of certified or validated sustainable green coffee used for Tchibo products was 36.3%. With our Tchibo Joint Forces!® qualification programme, which we developed and introduced in 2012, we support smallholders in gradually transitioning from conventional to environmentally and socially acceptable and economically sustainable coffee farming. In cooperation with green coffee exporters and traders, standards organisations, governmental and other non-governmental organisations, coffee farmers are systematically supported with training and qualification modules. By 2016, qualification measures were carried out at more than 30,000 of the coffee farmers who are part of the Tchibo value chains in Central and South America, East Africa and Asia. Add to that around 50,000 smallholders who are earning International Coffee Partners (ICP) qualification, with comparable focus areas. This already covers about one third of the coffee farmers who work for us all over the world. We will continue these programmes in future, and put them on an even broader base with development measures.
Our interventions for sustainable product and process development of coffee contribute in total to eleven of the 17 SDGs. At the same time, we must emphasise the reduction of poverty and hunger, the promotion of healthcare and equality as well as measures for the protection of the climate and environment.
Sustainable product development: consumer goods
In Non Food, our focus in expanding our sustainable product ranges is on textiles made of cotton and viscose, and furniture and handicraft utensils made of wood and cellulose. We apply the environmental and social standards of internationally recognised organisations. In the sales year 2016, for example, the percentage of textiles containing cotton from certified or validated sustainable cultivation amounted to 80%. By 2020, we intend to use 100% sustainable cotton for our Tchibo cotton textiles. Tchibo is already the world’s third-largest processor of organic cotton.
Besides using sustainable materials in our products, we are increasingly working to implement closed-loop concepts. We strive to use more and more recyclates in the production of our products, thereby conserving resources. Our closed-loop concept also includes implementing the targets of the Detox Commitment initiated by Greenpeace to detoxify the production of consumer goods and reduce water pollution. At this time, the main focus of our activities is on Chinese textile production.
Tchibo has consolidated its supplier pool in the predominantly Asian and eastern European procurement markets with a view to social acceptability, limiting it to suppliers with the best quality, delivery, environmental, and social performance. In this way, we increase transparency and our influence on the enforcement of social and environmental standards. We work closely with local producers as part of our WE (Worldwide Enhancement of Social Quality) supplier qualification programme, which was launched in 2007. Through a moderated dialogue between factory owners, management and employees as well as their representatives and Tchibo Procurement, our suppliers are supported in implementing comprehensive social and environmental requirements at their factories and, step by step, in the upstream supplier stages. 75% of Tchibo’s consumer goods are already produced by WE qualified suppliers.
All in all, our interventions for the sustainable product and process development of consumer goods contribute to 12 of the 17 SDGs. The reduction of inequality through our WE qualification programme merits a special mention here.