Strict guidelines on unavoidable pesticides
The responsible use of pesticides is essential in terms of biodiversity and human health. That is why we demand that our suppliers of fruit and vegetables refrain from using dangerous pesticide agents. This is also the case in countries in which their use is actually legal.
International initiatives such as the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions have defined which pesticide agents must be classified as dangerous. Nevertheless, in some countries they can still be used legally. For this reason, we have drawn up guidelines on pesticides including a negative list, which is based on the rules and recommendations of the aforementioned initiatives. Since January 2013, we have banned our suppliers of fruit, vegetables and fresh herbs from using the 42 dangerous pesticide agents on this list. As around a quarter of pesticides used globally are put to use in the production of fruit and vegetables, the impact here is particularly significant.
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.