Our sustainability strategy concept based on three pillars
We believe that sustainability must not be a separate strategy; instead, it must be firmly enshrined in the company’s core business. At Coop, sustainability is therefore integrated into our Articles of Association, our mission statement and the missions of the sales formats that bear the Coop brand. Our approach is based on three pillars and ensures that the sustainability dimension is incorporated into all relevant corporate strategies and processes.
We want to get to the top with sustainability. This benefits not only the company but is also in the general public interest. To achieve this we rely on the three pillars of our sustainability strategy:
- Sustainable products
- Environment and climate protection
- Employees and social commitment
Our strategy structure rests on the Articles of Association, the Vision 2025+ and the mission statements. The three pillars illustrate the specific approaches with which we can bring our sustainability commitment to bear as a company through tools and processes and thus make the maximum possible contribution to the company's success while benefiting people, animals and nature.
Pillar 1: Sustainable products
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: Environment 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 social commitment
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.