Our sustainability strategy concept based on three pillars
We believe that sustainability cannot be a separate strategy, but it rather must be interwoven into a company’s core business. That is why sustainability is included in both our Articles of Association, in our corporate profile and in the mission statement of our sales formats that are sold under the Coop brand. Our strategy is based on three pillars and ensures that the aspect of sustainability is incorporated into all relevant company strategies and processes.
We want to use innovative achievements to get to the top. The three pillars of our sustainability strategy concept make this possible:
- Sustainable products and services
- Resource efficiency and climate protection
- Employees and society
Our strategy concept is based on processes and instruments; integrated communication connects the three pillars.
Pillar 1: Sustainable products and services
To secure the future of people, animals and the environment, it is imperative that we make the transition to sustainable consumption. The retail industry plays a key role in this context, and we are fully aware of our responsibility in this arena. Our broad range of organically, humanely and fairly produced goods allows us to offer consumers the chance to make environmentally and socially responsible purchases, which has a major impact.
Our suppliers must fulfil basic sustainability standards, meaning they must comply with certain quality and sourcing guidelines that are derived from our environmental and social requirements. In the second step we go above and beyond the legal requirements and minimum standards. For specific product groups such as timber and paper, products containing palm oil, products that were manufactured in high-risk countries or fish and seafood, we expect our suppliers to meet a further set of minimum requirements. Our own-label sustainability brands such as Naturaplan, Naturaline or Oecoplan are subjected to the strictest requirements. As we expand our range of sustainable products, we rely on transparent communication, cooperation with trustworthy partners and investments in research and innovations.
Pillar 2: Resource efficiency and climate protection
The efficient use of resources and energy not only contributes to environmental protection but also reduces costs, which is in the interest of all consumers. We are focused, in particular, on the consistent implementation of our vision to be “CO2-neutral by 2023”. In 2008, we were the first retailer to commit towards the Swiss government to improve our energy efficiency and lower our CO2 emissions, for example by reducing our energy consumption and increasing our use of renewable energies. We decided then that we want to be CO2-neutral in all areas that we could directly influence within 15 years, meaning by 2023.
Other important topics in the second pillar include avoiding waste, recycling, building sustainably and managing water resources responsibly.
Pillar 3: Employees and society
Training apprentices, a uniform and progressive collective employment agreement for the whole of Switzerland and a generous pension scheme are among our most important accomplishments. Furthermore, we support social projects such as “Schweizer Tafel” and “Tischlein deck dich”, which provide food that is still of impeccable quality to those in need. For more than 70 years, the Coop Mountain Areas Sponsorship Programme has been committed to improving living and working conditions for Switzerland’s mountain population.
An important tool: the Coop Sustainability Fund
With the Coop Sustainability Fund we can foster innovative projects in order to create even more attractive sustainable product ranges and increase awareness of sustainable consumption in the greater public. Our social commitment and projects for our employees are also supported through this fund. The fund allows us to initiate innovative solutions in socially and environmentally relevant areas and thus to promote pioneering achievements. We invest CHF 16.5 million each year through the Sustainability Fund, and supply human resources, valuable partner networks and structures along with our communication tools.