Positively influencing product chains

The global and increasingly networked economy is making our value chains more diverse and more complex. We are working towards simplifying product chains and conducting eco-audits to optimize them in light of ecological and social requirements.

The more complex the product chains, the harder it is to know them at every level and ensure compliance with sustainability standards. Therefore, we seek to build long-term supplier relationships and simplify product chains. For fruit and vegetables these should, if possible, comprise just three levels.

For many years, we have been using a wide array of tools such as range screening, eco-audits and, in particular, insights gained from dialogue with the scientific community and many different NGOs to identify effective approaches to improving product chains. As these are very time consuming and costly to undertake, we are focusing on our own label sustainability brands as well as key product groups, as the areas in which we can achieve the greatest impact.

Clear guidelines for our purchases

We draw on these analyses to produce basic statements and instructions, covering cultivation, processing, transport and packaging. They form the basis for our guidelines for buyers, thus ensuring that our range satisfies ecological, social and economic criteria. The declaration and the reduction in air freight, for instance, can be traced back to eco-audits carried out by the Federal Institute of Technology ETH on our behalf.

To give another example, a comprehensive screening of sustainability risks in the food range led us to develop requirements, targets, pilot projects and standards for comprehensive water management in countries with water scarcity issues.

Principles and topics