For the preservation of an intact natural world: Increase climate protection, reduce resource consumption
Management approach: GRI 301; GRI 302; GRI 305; GRI 306; GRI 307
As a trading company that requires natural resources to manufacture its products, we contribute to the consumption of resources. We also cause CO₂ emissions when we produce, transport, store, and deliver our goods, 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 coffee, cotton, wood, 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 now and in future. That is why we are continually working to minimise our CO₂ emissions and use of natural resources and on ‘closing the loop’ in the lifecycles of the materials we use. 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. International agreements, such as the Paris Climate Change Agreement of 2015 and newly introduced principles of responsible management, form the basis for strategies, goals and laws at the European (EU) or national level. One particularly relevant approach for our business is ‘Extended Product Responsibility’ as specified in the German Waste Management and Product Recycling Act: it stipulates that manufacturers continue to be responsible even when products are scrapped at the end of their useful life. This responsibility refers primarily to take-back and recycling, but also includes requirements for developing more durable products, and for using secondary raw materials during production. In addition, a new Packaging Act is in preparation, and will come into force in 2019 with the aim of saving resources and further increasing recycling quotas. In view of the new law, Tchibo is currently working with other trading companies, as part of our membership in the German Trade Association (HDE), to develop a minimum standard by means of which the dual systems would “reward” recyclable packaging, as this creates a greater incentive for companies to make their packaging more environmentally friendly. Tchibo will further optimise its packaging based on this minimum standard.
The EU Plastic Bags Directive to cut the use of plastic bags is likewise aimed at protecting the climate and resources. Based on this directive, German retailers, including Tchibo, have made a voluntary commitment to the Federal Ministry for the Environment to introduce a mandatory charge for disposable plastic carrier 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. For instance, more and more coffee bars, including Tchibo’s, are offering the option of refills for their customers’ reusable cups.
Meeting challenges systematically
We are proactively working on solutions to these and other legal and societal requirements, in order 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 design, production, and selection of raw materials, to the manufacturing processes, the packaging, and the recycling of waste into the material loop.
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 efforts on action areas where we have the most influence and can make the biggest difference: the transport and shipping of our products, and at our logistics sites. Our Logistics Roadmap 2020 is the guideline for our actions. Based on the results achieved by 2015, we have set further ambitious climate-protection targets in this Roadmap. 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 the eco-friendliest possible 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. As part of our ‘Closed Loop Strategy’, we work on designing the material cycles of our products and packaging – from the very beginning – in such a way 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
As an individual company, we do of course 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 multi-company 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 a minimum standard for incentive systems for more ecological packaging design.
In November 2017, together with 51 other German companies and associations, we signed an appeal to the future German government. It was coordinated by the 2° Foundation (Deutsche Unternehmer für Klimaschutz), Germanwatch e. V. and B.A.U.M. e. V. With this appeal, we jointly called on the German government to promote the energy transition and a climate-friendly mobility strategy, to confirm the climate protection plan, and to further develop emissions trading in the new legislative period.
A binding basis: environmental protection is anchored in all processes
We are continually developing and expanding 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. To manage the environmental impact of our administrative and warehouse sites, we use an environmental management system based on the ISO 14001 standard, and log our significant consumption volumes. Measuring our consumption serves as a basis for reducing our use of energy, water, gas and paper, as well as for minimising waste and CO2 emissions from our fleet of vehicles and business travel. The energy management at our production sites (roasting plants) in Germany is ISO 50001 certified. We also apply other, voluntary guidelines above and beyond this: ISO 14040 ff. for the lifecycle assessment of relevant products and supply chains, ISO 14020 ff. 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, 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, during distribution and at the warehouses.
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 or reduce the use of disposable cups, disposable shopping bags, and paper waste. We reduce the use of paper and cardboard, and cover 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 participating in voluntary commitments, we create a clear framework for eco-friendly action in the company while also expanding our commitment. 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.
Keeping an eye on the progress made: ongoing monitoring
Depending on the measure, we develop suitable KPIs which are regularly checked and evaluated as part of our monitoring – e.g. for electricity consumption at our roasting plants. In addition, selected environmental indicators are audited on a yearly basis. Based on the results of the latest evaluations, we further develop our Roadmap 2020 for logistics, and survey consumption and emissions at additional sites with a view to reducing them. We also use improved computational logic in calculating the carbon footprint, so as to achieve even more accurate results.