RESPONSIBLE CORPORATE GOVERNANCE: Securing the future with a proven mission
GRI 102-11; GRI 102-15
Management approach: GRI 201; GRI 205; GRI 206; GRI 412; GRI 415; GRI 419
For over 65 years, the Hamburg family-owned company Tchibo has modelled itself on the ideal of the ‘honourable merchant’. We think long term and see it as our entrepreneurial duty to take responsibility for our actions. Building on this principle, we made sustainability an integral part of our business strategy in 2006. We consider the impact of our business operations on people and the environment in our key processes and products, and thus safeguard our commercial success far into the future.
Enjoyment and quality are hallmarks of the Tchibo brand. To be able to continue delivering on this claim in the future, we have integrated sustainability in our business strategy, the Tchibo DNA, and in our Code of Conduct since 2006. We combine our pursuit of revenues and profit with ecological, social and societal responsibility, because an intact natural environment as the basis and source of high-quality products, respect for and compliance with human rights in the supply chain, reliable cooperation with responsible business partners, passionate employees, and the trust of our customers are crucial determinants of the future viability of our business.
In August 2011, we went a step further and set the following strategic core objective: Tchibo is on the way to becoming a 100 % sustainable business. In line with this, we are progressively designing our business processes and products to be environmentally and socially compatible, because our commercial success must not be at the expense of people and the environment. We place particular emphasis on the areas where we have the greatest influence and thus the greatest possible leverage. We want the Tchibo brand to be synonymous with sustainability and to be perceived as such by our stakeholders.
In the firm conviction that a sustainable business safeguards our company’s future, we will continue on our path with full strength. We follow international guidelines such as those of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the core labour standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and their implementation within the framework of the National Action Plan on Economic and Human Rights (NAP).
As a responsible company, we want to continue making significant contributions to sustainable development and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Doing business sustainably: experiences and insights from recent years
More than 10 years ago, we embarked on the path to becoming a 100 % sustainable business. We have achieved a great deal since then: we have managed to set milestones and advance important issues. We identify challenges, tackle them, and work on innovative solutions together with our partners. In the past ten years, we have also experienced some mishaps or setbacks, especially when we came up against the limits of what we can do as a single trading company. But we draw valuable insights for the further development of our focus on sustainability from our successes as well as our setbacks. The experiences of the past ten years have strengthened our determination to continue pursuing the goal of becoming a 100 % sustainable business and thus safeguarding Tchibo’s future viability. To implement this goal, we have developed a management system and firmly anchored it in the company.
In dealing with the key sustainability issues, we also involve our stakeholders. Maintaining a dialogue with them is important in order to identify and evaluate key issues and expectations, and prioritise measures. This is the only way we can set the right course for the diversity and global dimension of the challenges. Accordingly, we have developed a roadmap setting out the key measures, and also clearly delineating the areas in which we can achieve improvements as a single company – for example, through our WE (Worldwide Enhancement of Social Quality) qualification programme for our consumer goods producers and our Tchibo Joint Forces!® qualification programme for coffee farmers – and where we can only achieve changes in cooperation with other stakeholders.
Into the future with innovation and cooperation
This gave rise to two strategically important instruments, which we will increasingly focus on in future: cooperation and innovation. Cooperation in order to increase leverage and jointly develop solutions for systemic and structural challenges with other protagonists and stakeholders. Innovation, because ground-breaking new ideas and measures are needed in response to the depletion of resources, loss of biodiversity, climate change, demographic change and other global challenges.
Transparency is an essential prerequisite for implementing social and ecological standards in our value chains. Due to the small-scale supply chain, it is a great challenge to create transparency from cup to plantation and to promote better local conditions in the coffee value chain. Cooperation with reliable partners in the growing countries and in the supply chains is therefore indispensable for us. We maintain trustful and longstanding supplier relationships with exporters and dealers as well as cooperatives and individual larger farms. In the consumer goods supply chain, too, we are currently working to achieve even better transparency in the upstream stages of the supply chain.
Another important prerequisite for bringing about change and promoting sustainable consumption is to get our customers excited about sustainable products. We can only achieve this by offering a wide range of sustainable assortments, and credible and easily understandable product and process communications. We are working flat out on this.
Responding effectively to current and future developments
In 2017, Tchibo once again further developed its focus on sustainability – also with a view to current challenges in politics and society. Further information
Exchange with stakeholders
In the process of bringing our business in line with economic, ecological, social and societal criteria, it is important for us to purposefully involve our internal and external stakeholders. We learn about different expectations, receive impulses and specific suggestions at an early stage and build up a trusting relationship with our stakeholders. That is why we are a member of the most important alliances and initiatives and are often involved in innovation processes - both at company and societal level. In various events and forums, we have entered into an exchange with our stakeholders.
We entered into an exchange with our stakeholders at various events and forums. At the beginning of 2018, for instance, we hosted a panel discussion on our new Tchibo Share business model with around 25 journalists and bloggers. Former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Tchibo’s Corporate Responsibility Director Nanda Bergstein, Greenpeace Germany boss Sweelin Heuss, and Hendrik Scheuschner, Managing Director of Tchibo Share’s partner company kilenda, talked with our CEO Thomas Linemayr about the extent to which baby and children's fashion rentals are accepted in a mainstream market.
The panellists and press representatives agreed that Tchibo Share is an important pilot venture and at the same time a major social experiment. Because companies aren’t the only ones who have to learn about and get used to sharing business models – consumers also have to change their behaviour when they rent clothes instead of buying them.
As long there is no legal framework at European level for implementing ecological and social duty of care in the global supplier structures, we at Tchibo rely on voluntary commitments. We either fulfil them alone or in cooperation with other stakeholders or initiatives – depending on their level of complexity.
UN Global Compact
In 2009, we joined the United Nations Global Compact (UN), which links business, politics, labour [organisations], and civil society. As part of our membership, we are expressly committed to the ten principles of the UN Global Compact in the areas of human rights, labour standards, environmental protection, and the fight against corruption, and undertake to take them into account in our business processes.
Global Coffee Platform
In 2016, Tchibo was involved in the founding of the Global Coffee Platform (GCP), a merger of the Sustainable Coffee Programme (SCP) and the 4C Association. The goal of GCP is to unite all the key players and initiatives in the coffee sector – private as well as public – in a global alliance to jointly address sector-wide issues. As part of the GCP, Tchibo plays an active role in shaping a sustainable coffee sector. At the beginning of 2017, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) regarding possibilities for cooperation.
Partnership for Sustainable Textiles
In 2015, we joined the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles initiated by Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development. The aim of this alliance of companies, non-governmental and standards organisations, trade unions, business, and politics is to improve social and environmental standards across the entire textile value chain. Tchibo is active in all of the Alliance’s working groups. In August 2017, as part of the Alliance, we published our ‘roadmap’ for 2017. It contains 15 measures that serve to further improve the environmental and working conditions in our textile supply chains. Further information
In October 2014, we signed and published the Detox Commitment initiated by the environmental protection organisation Greenpeace. In doing so, we pledged to eliminate the use of undesirable chemicals in production processes, especially those of our textile suppliers, by 2020, and to create closed-loop material cycles. We are now implementing this ambitious goal step by step. Our extensive ‘closed-loop’ concept pursues the goal of closing material cycles, thereby conserving valuable resources while at the same time making consumption more sustainable. For us, this means that even at the product design stage, we develop our products in such a way that they can be produced with recycled or renewable resources as far as possible, that they are durable, and at the end of their useful life can be repurposed for high-end recycling.
Since the commitment was signed, we have reported annually on further developments in a DETOX progress report. Further information
Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh
In 2012, Tchibo was the second company in the world to sign the „Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh“ and contributed to its coming into force, its improvement, and its ongoing implementation. Further information
Framework agreement with IndustriALL Global Union und ACT
In September 2016, Tchibo became the first German trading company to sign an international framework agreement with the IndustriALL Global union. This idea is to make it easier for workers and trade unions in the factories to negotiate wages and benefits with factory owners and management. We also work with the IndustriALL Global Union and other international trading companies in the ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation) initiative to secure living wages and industry-wide collective bargaining between social partners in the global clothing industry. Further information
We have also joined a voluntary commitment by business associations in Germany and Austria to stop providing free plastic bags. We have successfully implemented this since January 2016 in Germany. As a result, we were able to cut the number of single-use bags given out at our Tchibo shops in Germany by nearly 90 % that same year, and by 80 % in Austria. As second voluntary commitment, we have decided to systematically use reusable cups for ‘coffee to go’. We introduced our own reusable cups solution for our coffee bars in the Tchibo shops, and are also participating in the trial phase of the Kehrwieder-Becher initiative to test the introduction of a deposit system for reusable cups in Hamburg city centre.
In 2018, we became the first major retailer to offer rentals of sustainably produced baby and children's clothing made of organic cotton, under the name ‘Tchibo Share’. With Tchibo Share, we resolutely continue our holistic approach to achieving the longest possible product life and subsequent recycling: baby and children's wear made from organic cotton is reused as second-hand after rental, thus maximising its useful life.
Tackling political and societal challenges
Tchibo addresses current political and societal challenges intensively, and derives specific measures for sustainability management based on this.
Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainability has been integrated into Tchibo Gmbh’s corporate strategy since 2006. From the beginning, this has included our working towards the United Nations’ eight Millennium Development Goals. In 2015, the United Nations formulated 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) based on the Millennium Development Goals. We regard the SDGs as a global framework for our sustainability agenda, and seek to contribute to their fulfilment. Further information
National action plan for business and human rights
We see the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 2011 as another formative development. Based on existing human rights commitments such as the International Human Rights Charter and the fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), they for the first time provide a universally accredited frame of reference that imposes some of the responsibility for respecting human rights in global supply and value chains, and for preventing human rights violations, on companies. We are aware of this business responsibility and integrated respect for human rights into our business practices many years ago. Further information
EU reporting obligation
The regulations implementing the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive entered into force in 2017. Although the associated obligation of expanded non-financial reporting does not apply to us as a family-owned company, we will continue to provide transparent and comprehensive information on the results of our sustainability management. We follow the principle of transparent and comparable annual reporting that has been established at Tchibo since 2008. The present Sustainability Report 2017, which has been prepared in accordance with the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative, we also take into account the requirements of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive and thus contribute to the transparency of a sustainability-driven way of doing business.
Germany’s New Packaging Act
The new German Packaging Act, which was adopted by the Bundestag and comes into effect in 2019, stipulates further recycling and reusability requirements for business. Together with the Handelsverband Deutschland (HDE), the German Industrial Plastic Packaging Association (IK), the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE), and our supermarket concession (Depot) partners and other companies, we proposed practical and sustainability-promoting regulations for packaging design, collection, licensing and disposal which are reflected in the legislation.
National Programme for Sustainable Consumption
The German Government’s National Programme for Sustainable Consumption is meant to promote sustainable consumption in the areas of home living, mobility, nutrition, office and work, clothing, as well as tourism and leisure. The programme specifies goals and measures that are linked with existing strategies, funding programmes and regulations. The German Government also wants the programme to serve as a platform for social discourse on the evolution of consumer behaviour. Tchibo has for many years promoted responsible consumption by offering sustainable product ranges, and expressly welcomes the programme. Further information
As a family-owned company and an active corporate citizen, we feel it is a matter of course to get involved and take responsibility beyond the limits of our own business activities.
In 2017, societal discourse continued to be dominated by the issue of refugee aid and the integration of displaced persons. This is a challenge of great relevance to global society that we tackled and responded to within the scope of our possibilities as a business. For example, we are involved in a three-stage action plan for displaced persons in the distribution countries Germany, Austria and Turkey: we provide internships and apprenticeships, enable our employees to volunteer their time for support activities at a refugee reception centre and a school, and supply relief organisations with donations in kind as needed. Further information