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.
Products harmful to bees discontinued
Around a third of food product depends on pollination by wild and honey bees. As many of them are under threat globally, we are committed to protecting them. We have therefore reviewed our entire range to identify products that are harmful to bees. If a product was found to contain a pesticide active substance listed as critical by the Bees in Decline report, we removed it from our range at the start of 2015, or replaced it with an agent that is not harmful to bees. When new products are introduced, we always carry out a detailed check to ensure they are not harmful to bees. Furthermore, we are constantly adding to our range of organic alternatives to synthetic chemical pesticides. In so doing, we are going well beyond the statutory requirements.
Fewer pesticides in fruit and vegetable cultivation
We are also actively committed to reducing the use of pesticides in the conventional cultivation of fruit and vegetables. To give one example, we support grape producers from Apulia and Sicily with workshops and long-term advice on implementing organic pest control and gradually minimizing the use of pesticides.
This contributes significantly to biodiversity in the areas surrounding vineyards. In addition, various projects run by the Coop Sustainability Fund promote cultivation methods that involve fewer pesticides, such as the cultivation of cabbages in Switzerland or rose production in Kenya.