Sustainability as a Business Principle
Our supply chain is complex. To make it more socially and environmentally sustainable, a rethinking is needed on many levels. At Tchibo, sustainability has been integrated into all processes, from product design to purchasing to quality management. At the same time we are confronted with challenges that go beyond our own business and which we can only solve together with strong partners. To this end, we work closely with other companies, factories, governments, trade unions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Sustainability is a core element of our business strategy and, thus, of all business processes. The Tchibo Social and Environmental Code of Conduct (SCoC), developed in collaboration with stakeholders, lays a strong foundation. The SCoC is a living document that we adapt to meet current requirements; for example, in 2014, we included environmental standards in the audits of suppliers.
Tchibo Social and Environmental Code of Conduct (SCoC) (Download)
The Tchibo SCoC, developed in 2006, lays the foundation for our cooperation with suppliers: It defines minimum requirements for working conditions and environmental standards in the production of our goods. The social requirements are based on the core labour standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and refer to the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code and the SA8000 standard. In 2011, environmental requirements were added and the document became known as the Tchibo Social and Environmental Code of Conduct (further abbreviated SCoC). The environmental requirements are based on the environmental principles of the UN Global Compact. The SCoC is a part of any business contract that we enter into and is thus mandatory for all our suppliers and business partners. By signing the SCoC, our suppliers commit to social and environmental standards in the production. These include limits on working hours, prohibition of child labour and discrimination, prevention of negative environmental impacts and the respect of trade union rights.
In order to support compliance with the SCoC and meet the requirements of the "Ruggie Principles" (UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights), we engage on three levels:
- Within the company: ongoing analysis of internal processes and close interaction with the Product Design, Purchasing and Quality Management Departments
- Collaboration with our business partners: define mandatory minimum standards for business collaboration and carry out in-depth dialogue with suppliers to address environmental and social challenges in the supply chain
- Collaboration with stakeholders: cross-company cooperation to address structural challenges
Within the Company: Analysis and Improvement of Our Purchasing Practices
In our ongoing effort to analyse and improve internal processes, we have emphasised responsible purchasing practices. We analyse whether and how our buying behaviour affects conditions at factories. What possibilities do we have to ensure that purchasing decisions and management processes further social and environmental conditions in our supply chains? One way is to strengthen strategic partnerships with suppliers and lock in purchasing volumes, so that factories are better able to plan ahead. We also regularly analyse latest economic, political and social developments, for example in China, Bangladesh and Ethiopia, and align our factory portfolio and policies accordingly, for example, China, Bangladesh and Ethiopia, on the basis of the latest economic, political and social developments. As a matter of principle, we want to be a more reliable and responsible business partner, in order to enable the sustainable improvement of factories.
Cooperation with Business Partners: Together in Dialogue
It is not enough to simply set standards in the SCoC and audit their implementation. Instead, we need the sustained commitment from the factories to recognise and address challenges. Since 2007 we have been training our suppliers to do exactly that with the long-term WE (Worldwide Enhancement of Social Quality) Programme (Sustainable supply chains). In this context, we support our suppliers to continuously improve in the field of social standards, environmental requirements and climate protection.
The Tchibo Vendor Days are a platform for exchange to share best practices as broadly as possible and maximise impact. In addition to know-how-transfer, we hereby intensify the relationship with our key suppliers.
Peer-Learning at the Tchibo Vendor Days
In 2014, the Tchibo Vendor Days took place for the third time, with the motto “Together for Change”. In November, we welcomed our 45 most important suppliers in Hong Kong where we operate one of two merchandising offices. These offices support the buying of goods in our Asian markets, and support the factories directly in the implementation of quality, social and environmental standards. Tchibo management, including representatives from the Buying and Sustainability Departments, exchanged views with suppliers on economic, environmental and social challenges in the supply chain and discussed possible solutions at the factory level. The Vendor Days were also used to highlight and share best practices, including lessons from WE factories and environmentally friendly production methods.
Cooperation with Stakeholders: Addressing Structural Challenges Together
Often we encounter structural challenges that hamper sustainable business: there are still serious shortcomings in the building and fire safety of factories in Bangladesh; and, in many Asian countries workers do not earn enough to support themselves and their families. These problems cannot be tackled by individual companies alone. That is why we are joining forces with employers, trade unions, politics, and other companies to identify and implement global solutions.
Active with the IndustriALL Global Union for labour rights
Together with the international textile trade union IndustriALL Global Union and European textile retailers, we are developing a process to enforce improvements for workers in the garment industry worldwide. The ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation) Initiative focuses on living wages and the right to organise and carry out collective bargaining (Social aspects of production).
In our collaborations we focus mainly on stronger involvement and representation of workers. For example, the active engagement of factory workers is an important part of our work with the "Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh". Tchibo supported its establishment and was the second company worldwide to sign it (Social aspects of production).
Another important alliance is the Partnerhsip for Sustainable Textiles, initiated in 2014 by Dr. Gerd Müller, the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development. Its architects include representatives of the umbrella organizations of trade and industry, non-governmental organizations, trade unions and standard-setting organizations. Tchibo and other textile industry leaders joined the Partnership in June 2015, which now represents more than 50% of the textile industry in Germany. The partners are currently designing a joint action plan to promote the implementation of environmental and social standards throughout the entire textile supply chain (Ambition & strategy).