Strict guidelines for the use of pesticides
Responsible use of pesticides is essential for biodiversity and human health. We therefore require that our suppliers of own-label branded foodstuffs avoid using harmful pesticide active substances – even in countries where they are still actually legal.
International initiatives such as the Stockholm Convention (POP), the Rotterdam Convention (PIC), the Pesticide Action Network Dirty Dozen (PAN) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) define which pesticide active substances have to be graded as harmful. However, it is still legal to use them in some countries. For this reason, we have drawn up a Guideline on Pesticides and a negative list which is based on the requirements and recommendations of the above-mentioned initiatives. We thus prohibit all of our suppliers of own-label branded foodstuffs from using 113 harmful pesticide active substances. We regularly check that this guideline is being complied with and consistently place sanctions where there are violations. In addition, we actively support our suppliers in their implementation of improvement measures.
Delisting of products that are dangerous to bees
Around one-third of the entire food production depends on pollination by wild and honey bees. As many of them are threatened with extinction across the world, we are committed to protecting them. That is why we evaluated our entire range to ensure that none of the products posed a threat to bees. If a product contained a pesticide agent that was listed as critical in Greenpeace’s Bees in Decline report, we removed it from our range at the start of 2015 or replaced it with an alternative that is not dangerous to bees. We are further continuing to develop a range of organic alternatives to chemical synthetic pesticides on an ongoing basis, which means we are going way beyond the legal provisions in place.
Fewer pesticides in fruit and vegetable cultivation
We are also taking active steps to reduce pesticide use in the conventional cultivation of fruit and vegetables. This involves, for example, supporting grape producers in Apulia and Sicily with workshops and long-term advice on how to implement organic pest control methods, which should gradually reduce the use of pesticides. This represents a key contribution to biodiversity in the area of grape plantations. Further, various projects of the Coop Sustainability Fund promote the implementation of cultivation methods using fewer pesticides, for example in the farming of white cabbage in Switzerland or rose production in Kenya.