Getting people excited about responsible consumption: expanded product ranges, intensified communications
On the path to becoming a 100% sustainable business, we resolutely work on offering our customers more and more eco-friendly and socially compatible products. By continuously expanding our sustainably produced range of products, we want to encourage them to embrace responsible consumption. For our customers to choose our sustainable products, we must explain sustainability in a credible, understandable, and appealing way, because our customers’ purchasing decisions influence the breadth and depth of our sustainability measures, as well as the pace at which we achieve our goal of becoming a 100% sustainable business. To keep our customers even better informed about our activities in the area of sustainability, we are further expanding our communications: via traditional channels as well as on social media platforms and at the point of sale.
Inspiring people with sustainable product ranges
Our focus in expanding our sustainable ranges is on product groups that our customers care about. These include coffee as well as, e.g., clothing for babies and children in textiles, day- and nightwear or women’s fashions. In the hard goods sector, we are working on increasing the sustainability of furniture and handicraft utensils made of wood and cellulose. In 2017, we made further progress in this expansion.
Sustainable coffee assortments: validated and certified
Tchibo stands for highest quality in coffee – and we want to keep offering this to our customers in future. That is why we focus not only on flavour and taste, but also pursue the medium-term goal of only offering coffees whose cultivation meets ecological, social and economic standards in equal measure.
Since 2009, we have prepared the coffee and coffee specialities at our Coffee Bars exclusively from certified, sustainable coffee grades. Since 2010, we have switched our entire Privat coffee range, including the Rarities, to 100% certified sustainable grades according to the standards of the internationally recognised seal organisations Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, and UTZ, as well as Bio (‘certified organic’).
The entire range of coffees in our Cafissimo capsule system has been certified by the international Rainforest Alliance or UTZ since 2012. In 2016, we also started offering capsule coffee with the Fairtrade seal. The coffee grades of our Qbo capsule system are also 100% certified according to the Rainforest Alliance standard. The filter coffee FOR BLACK 'N WHITE, introduced in 2015, has carried the UTZ seal since 2016.
In 2017, we expanded our range to include BLONDE ROAST coffee. The coffee grades used for this come from coffee farms that are certified according to the Rainforest Alliance standard. This also goes for the Espresso and Caffè Crema from Eduscho's GALA range. The Gala Grande range won a bronze award in the ‘Coffee, Tea, Cocoa’ category in the ‘Product of the Year 2017’ consumer voting carried out by the trade journal Lebensmittel Praxis.
To ensure all consumers can recognise our sustainable coffee grades at a glance, we give the respective seals prominent placement on the front or rear of the packaging.
Consumer goods: Focus on environmental and social compatibility
With the expansion of our sustainable product lines, we fulfilling many consumers’ wish for responsibly produced products. Tchibo is continuously working to expand its range of sustainable textiles. In 2017, the proportion of responsibly produced cotton was around 80%. We are the world's third-largest user of certified organic cotton. To ensure social and ecological standards in the cultivation and processing of responsibly produced cotton, we work together with recognised international certification organisations. They include Organic Cotton, Cotton made in Africa, the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), and the Organic Content Standard (OCS).
In 2017, for example, we offered GOTS-certified baby, toddler and children's fashions as well as day and nightwear made with organic cotton that meets the requirements of Cotton made in Africa, the Organic Content Standard, or the GOTS Standard. Some of our bedding ranges are also GOTS certified or contain organic cotton. Since 2016, we have been pursuing a new path with the Tchibo Eco Logic Appachi collection. It not only contains cotton from environmentally friendly cultivation, but also helps promote the training and further education of Indian cotton farmers.
Im Hartwarenbereich haben wir In the hardware sector, we again produced 100 % of our garden tables and chairs and handicraft utensils from FSC®-certified materials in 2017. Our customer shipping cartons are also made of 100% FSC®-certified material.
Reusable solutions to prevent waste
In 2017, we took another important step in resource conservation and the prevention of waste by offering reusable cups in our Tchibo coffee bars. Since August 2015, our customers have been able to have reusable cups filled – always in compliance with safe hygiene standards, of course. In return, they receive a discount of 10 cents on the drink. In addition, we offer reusable cups made of recyclable material in various designs for purchase. In September 2017, we also installed a temporary installation made of disposable coffee cups (‘Mach die Welt ein bisschen Becher’) in downtown Hamburg and at the same time gave away reusable Tchibo cups – the idea was to build awareness for waste avoidance.
We seek to further increase the use of reusable cups by participating in an initiative to promote reusable cups, the ‘Kehrwieder Becher’, in Hamburg city centre, and in other similar initiatives in Munich, Berlin and the federal state of Hesse.
In addition, since January 2016, we have no longer given away disposable plastic bags free of charge in Germany. With success: At the Tchibo Shops in Germany, distribution of free bags fell by nearly 90 % in 2016. As an alternative, customers can purchase high-quality reusable bags. We also sell disposable bags for 20 cents.
Resource conservation through recycling: Closed Loop
In designing a sustainable product range, the responsible use of resources is an integral part of our activities, because the global use of raw materials and high volume of waste contribute to global environmental challenges, such as climate change and loss of biodiversity. Our comprehensive ‘closed-loop’ concept pursues the objective of conserving valuable resources while also increasing the sustainability of consumption. For us this means that even at the product design stage, we conceive our products in such a way that they are produced with recycled or renewable resources if possible, can be used for a long time, and at the end of their use can be recycled into useful goods or materials. We confirmed this aspiration by signing the Detox Commitment in 2014. We analysed our product groups in detail for their closed-loop potential and derived closed-loop approaches from this. We follow the following three approaches for our product groups: use recycled and renewable materials, ensure longevity, reuse, and recycle. We have already carried out pilot projects with closed-loop approaches in various product categories, and have prepared to expand these efforts.
Use of recycled materials
In 2017, we first used recycled materials in hard goods production. We started with a range of dish-washing brushes made almost entirely from recycled, relatively eco-friendly polypropylene (PP). In 2018, we expanded the use of recycled plastic to similar assortments and scheduled them for various sales weeks. By using recycled PP, we close the loop to our recyclable Cafissimo and Qbo coffee capsules, which are also made of PP. We have further developed the capsules so that they are 100% recyclable and their materials can be further processed. Besides using recycled materials in hard goods, Tchibo has also made preparations to use recycled fibres in various textile products.
Extend the useful life of products
Besides using recycled materials, ensuring a long service life for the products leads to greater conservation of resources. To make sure that our products can be in use for as long as possible, we formulate high quality standards and grant warranty periods that go beyond statutory requirements. At the same time, we offer support for care and repair of our products, and provide spare parts, to raise our customers’ awareness for how to increase the products’ useful life.
Recycling of textiles
To ensure the best possible recyclability of the products at the end of their useful life, we are working to design our products in such a way that most of their components are recyclable. This includes taking account of the insights gained regarding collection and recycling systems, and to enable a consumer-friendly return system for our products. With this in mind, we support the recycling of our textiles, and in 2017 entered into a cooperation with FairWertung that offers our customers a consumer-friendly way to return their old clothes. In FairWertung, we have found a reliable partner who ensures that donated clothes are handled responsibly and transparently demonstrates the downstream use of the donated clothing.
Borrow instead of buy: Tchibo Share
‘Tchibo Share’ is another element in our resource conservation efforts. In January 2018, we became the first company in the mainstream market to offer baby and children's clothing for rent via the tchiboshare.de platform. All of the available garments are made of sustainably grown organic cotton. When the items are returned, we treat them and then offer them for rent as second-hand goods.
Our concept responds to the social trend towards sharing products instead of buying them. Particularly for baby and children's clothing, we see this as a logical way to promote and facilitate sustainable action on the part of consumers. For our new offer, we cooperate with the Magdeburg company kilenda, which already has several years of experience in the renting-out of children's clothing.
‘Tchibo Share’ is another resolute step on our path of a comprehensive approach to ensuring the longest possible product life and subsequent recycling: after rental, the baby and children's clothing made from organic cotton continues to be used as second-hand items and, is thus has a long useful life. Items that can no longer be rented or sold are donated to FairWertung and recycled in accordance with social and ecological standards.
Consumer-oriented communications: GUT GEMACHT – DONE IN A GOOD WAY
By offering more and more sustainable products, we also build consumer awareness for responsible consumption. Easily understood communications are helpful here, because our customers’ purchasing decisions measures affect the pace at which we can implement sustainability programmes on our path to becoming a 100% sustainable business. To support them in selecting products systematically, we must clearly label sustainable product ranges, prepare information in a consumer-oriented way, and make it easily available. The ‘GUT GEMACHT’ logo serves as a communications bracket for all the sustainability standards we apply.
On the one hand, we use our ‘GUT GEMACHT‘ communications at the points of sale and on the packaging, and on the other hand, on a wide range of communication channels such as the Tchibo magazine, our own website, the corporate blog, and social media platforms. On tchibo.de we have set up a separate section for sustainability that presents all the key information about our activities in a concise, consumer-friendly way. We also use our own YouTube channel to explain various aspects of sustainability, especially the meaning of the seals used for coffee, wood and cotton. To ensure that our employees are always informed about sustainability at Tchibo, we train them extensively and always keep them up to date.
We want our customers to be able to spot sustainable products at a glance – which is why in 2015 we introduced the Tchibo sustainability ribbon as a label for sustainability and the standard used, on the product itself and in product communications. The ribbon offers a high recognition value and can be flexibly used for all sustainability standards. For products containing organic cotton, for example, a ribbon with the words ‘organic cotton’ is prominently placed next to the Organic Content Standards (OCS) seal.
However, responsible consumption doesn’t end with the purchase of a sustainable Tchibo product; rather, it covers the entire lifecycle of the product. In addition to offering special services, we are therefore increasingly integrating the topics of long useful life, maintenance, repair, reusing and recycling into our communications, providing useful tips, information and assistance for customers. To this end, we have further developed our ‘GUT GEMACHT’ communications and expanded it to include sustainable consumption after the Tchibo product has been bought. Under the heading ‘GUT GEMACHT—WEITER GEDACHT’, we have built up an online platform to help customers treat our products in a way that maximises durability, and encourage them to recycle the products responsibly at the end of their useful life. On this online platform, customers can find care and repair instructions, ideas for upcycling and refashioning products, as well as information on the proper return and recycling of used products. For example, customers can do a search for the nearest used clothing containers managed by FairWertung e. V. members. Instructions and tips can also be found in the communication of individual product categories and on other communication channels such as blog posts and newsletter articles.
Commitment to the Alliance for Consumer Education
To promote early awareness of sustainable consumption among children and teens in Germany, at the beginning of 2013, Tchibo joined the ‘Alliance for Consumer Education’ founded by the Federation of German Consumer Organisations. In this Alliance, representatives from the public and private sectors, educational authorities, science and academe, NGOs, business associations, ministries, and individuals work to strengthen the decision-making and consumer skills of young people without advertising individual brands. The Alliance is currently supporting exemplary consumer education projects run by schools in particular. These ‘consumer schools’ receive support from local consumer protection centres, and can apply for an award from the Alliance for Consumer Education. In 2018, 32 schools across Germany will receive an award.