Maintaining an overview of major issues via comprehensive risk management
We continuously review our product range in terms of environmental and social risks. For many years now, we have also been observing potential risks in production areas and follow social debates and political developments worldwide with regard to sustainability.
This approach ensures that we have an overview of all major issues and enables us to react at an early stage if necessary. It also provides us with valuable indications of where our actions have the greatest possible impact. Our broad-based risk management, which comprises three main areas, is thus an important element of our sustainability strategy.
1. Risk screening
We review the environmental and social impact of our products on a continuous basis to identify and minimize potential risks at an early stage. We periodically screen our product range in order to highlight new issues and initiate measures, having subjected our entire food and hardware range to this screening process between 2011 and 2013, for example. We further used this process to define a project for developing a water standard for fruit and vegetable procurement that takes water scarcity into account, incorporating the findings into new targets and projects. In addition to this, we employ life cycle assessment as a useful tool for improving our value chains in the context of the environment.
2. Risk monitoring
It is essential for us to continue to be able to source and offer high-quality raw materials and food products over the medium and long term, and our 2015+ sourcing strategy comprises various measures for ensuring this. In order to systematically assess risks in the value chains, we apply risk monitoring based on the analysis tool from the well-known company Maplecroft. This monitor highlights the biggest risks for each country in terms of the environment and social and political security, such as water stress, soil degradation, deforestation, biodiversity, flooding, severe storms, droughts, climate change, food security and atmospheric disasters.
Our own-label sustainability brands and quality seals have top priority, which is why we organize strategically important direct sourcing projects, such as quality cocoa from Honduras and organic rice from India and Thailand, on a regular basis.
3. Issue monitoring
Our issue monitoring process enables us to observe and evaluate social debates and political developments that are likely to be of significance for us in the months to come. We use this process to define a list of risk products and issues and develop corresponding measures, thereby not only reducing risks but also identifying possible approaches for effectively optimizing our value chain further.