Policy Papers – We take a clear stance

We take a clear stance on current sustainability issues that are relevant to society, and explain this in our Policy Papers in concise and transparent terms.

The Policy Papers are based on our sustainability vision for people, animals and nature, which is designed to promote sustainability at Coop. They are aimed at all external and internal stakeholders, such as our suppliers, customers and staff.

Circular economy

«Circular economy» is a concept which involves minimizing the consumption of resources and closing material and product cycles, so that raw materials are continually reused. As a retailer and wholesaler, we are aware of our responsibility and have recognized the potential of the circular economy. In 2011, we began systematically reducing packaging and improving its environmental footprint. The use of recycled materials and making packaging recyclable are steps towards our goal of becoming a zero-waste company.

Packaging and plastic

More than half of the plastic ever produced has been produced since 2000, and Switzerland produces three times more plastic waste, on average, than other European countries.  We have been committed to reducing plastic since 2012 and are implementing alternatives. Between 2012 and 2020, we reduced or optimized around 30,000 tonnes of packaging material in our supermarket channel. Our goal is to reduce the plastic used in packaging and selected disposable items by around 20% by 2026.

Social responsibility

Corporate social responsibility means that companies are responsible for the effects of their activities on society and the environment. Comprehensive corporate sustainability management aims to master this challenge and meet the related requirements. This ensures sustainable corporate and business development, and the company makes a positive contribution to the sustainable development goals. The determination to exercise this responsibility is enshrined in our Articles of Association, and we practise this with our multi-year sustainability objectives, which are set for the entire Coop Group.

Climate protection

Anthropogenic global warming is having both direct and indirect consequences for the environment, people and society. As a global company, we are conscious of our responsibility. We are committed to climate protection and are interested in a national and international climate policy. We started to reduce our annual CO2 emissions back in 2008 which made us a pioneer among Swiss companies. With our multi-year sustainability objectives up to 2026, we have revised our climate strategy and are supporting the federal government’s net zero targets: As the Coop Group, we are following science-based paths for the reduction of CO2 for greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the SBTI requirements. In our supply chains we will in future be cooperating more with suppliers that have also committed to science-based reduction targets.

Deforestation and conversion

Most of the global rainforest deforestation is due to the production of meat, coffee, cocoa, palm oil, soya and timber. These product groups account for a large part of the Coop Group’s range or are key components of our supply chains, resulting in a risk of deforestation and conversion. With our multi-year sustainability objectives up to 2026, we are therefore aiming to achieve supply chains with no risk of deforestation and conversion. The objectives for our retail, wholesale and production operations are based on the WWF’s findings, the Accountability Framework Initiative and the risk assessment carried out on our supply chains.

Critical raw materials

To us, "critical raw materials" mean those materials for which production has a major impact on social aspects, the environment or animal welfare. As the Coop Group, we have a wide product range and procure large quantities of goods. We are therefore aware of our responsibility in terms of influencing the production of the critical raw materials we use. As a result, we have defined 16 critical raw materials. With our multi-year sustainability objectives up to 2026, our aim is to ensure that they are produced sustainably. To do so, we are relying on established external standards, creating transparency and implementing specific local projects.

Biodiversity

Biodiversity is a natural resource that comprises the richness of the world's habitats, the animal and plant species found in them, and their genetic diversity. Habitats and their inhabitants are interdependent: their relationships are complex, and there is constant exchange between them. This biodiversity is under threat worldwide. In order to protect nature, prevent damage to natural ecosystems and counteract concomitant future threats, we have placed biodiversity at the centre of the entire Coop Group's strategy. We are implementing various measures in our product ranges, throughout our supply chains, and in our primary production operations.

Soil

Soil is a natural resource that forms the basis of life for all living organisms – and is also a storehouse for carbon. Given its environmental and economic value, we have firmly established the preservation of soil health in our strategy, thus taking responsibility for protecting this natural resource. We are committed to an agriculture that preserves soil fertility, sees soil biodiversity as the basis for life, and maintains equilibrium in natural ecosystems. We take various actions in our upstream supply chains to reduce use-related damage to soil.

Pesticide use

Produced synthetically or naturally, pesticides are substances used in agriculture or horticulture against unwanted insects, fungi or competing plants. Some active substances do not degrade easily. They have toxic degradation products and a high accumulation capacity, so concentrations of them can form in soils, in waters and in our food chain. As a retail and wholesale group, we find ourselves in a key position between producers and consumers. Together with producers and suppliers, we must reduce the risks to humans, animals and nature and continue to reduce the use of pesticides to the absolute minimum.

Water

Water is used by humans in the production of countless goods. Though the water cycle makes the resource renewable, the amount of usable water can decrease. To ensure the sustainable use of limited fresh-water resources in our supply chains, we have made it strategically central to the multi-year sustainability goals for the entire Coop Group. By 2026, we want to ensure that water standards are consistently met in the sourcing of fruit and vegetables.