Transparency

From the field to the point of sale: for us it is very important to know where raw materials come from and how they have been processed. We are working to maximize the traceability of our raw materials, to simplify our value chains and to optimize them in ecological and social terms.

Transparency and traceability

The global and increasingly networked economy is making our supply chains more complex. It is important for us to know where, how and under which conditions our products are produced. Armed with knowledge of the individual steps in our supply chains, we are better equipped to identify and effectively tackle risks.
We can then live up to our responsibilities to people, animals and the natural world throughout our supply chains. Reflecting this, we have enshrined the topic in our multi-year sustainability targets and are striving for transparency and traceability for critical raw materials used in our own-label brands across the Coop Group. We are focusing on our own-label brands, and particularly on products containing critical raw materials, because it is the area in which we have the greatest scope for action and can make the biggest impact.

Sustainability standards can be a way of guaranteeing the traceability of raw materials. Bio Suisse, for example, guarantees the traceability of agricultural raw materials through to production. Critical raw materials, which are certified to a sustainability standard but are not segregated along the supply chain, are a challenge. These are handled alongside conventional raw materials, which makes their traceability throughout the supply chain more difficult. That is why we need more information. We systematically collect the following key figures for all critical raw materials:

  • Procurement quantities
  • Proportion of procurement quantity by country of origin
  • Proportion of procurement quantity with sustainability certification, including the certification system (Segregated, Mass Balance, etc.)
  • Country of the final value-adding processing step for own-label brand products
  • Proportion of business partners with publicly visible voluntary commitments to deforestation-free and conversion-free supply chains

Find out more in our policy paper on critical raw materials.

Mapping projects

Using mapping projects, we trace each and every stage of the supply chains for our own-label brand products. We document the processing and production steps from cultivation to sales. The data we collect is used to analyse the supply chains for risks, to identify risks early on and to implement improvement measures if necessary.
In 2021, for example, we implemented a mapping project for all of our own-label brands of tea. Based on the knowledge gained from this, we are now systematically implementing sustainability standards for our herbal, fruit and blended teas as well as for our black, green and rooibos teas.

Working directly with producers

For unprocessed products, these should comprise only three stages if possible: the producer, exporter and importer.
Working locally with producers is the way to achieve truly transparent products. That way we can guarantee traceable supply chains and promote cultivation methods that are more socially and ecologically sound in the places of production. We have therefore already implemented various projects related to critical raw materials. Here are some examples:

  • Cocoa from Ghana: We have built up a supply chain for organic cocoa from Ghana. As well as working directly with cocoa smallholders, we also help them to implement sustainable cultivation systems. This enables more sustainable production and higher incomes for the farming families.
    More information: Action 372
  • Bananas from the Dominican Republic: For our bananas, we have implemented a direct supply chain along with a project for living wages in the Dominican Republic: this has resulted in better wages for the employees of two organic Fairtrade banana producers.
    More information: Action 391
  • Transparency in textile production: We publish the names and countries of production of the textile suppliers that produce our own-label brand textile products. These textile suppliers cover 80% of the total volume of our own-label textile brands. What's more, for these suppliers we can trace the entire supply chain right through to the wet processes for which we carry out regular chemical management audits and wastewater tests.
    More information

Traceability options for customers

There is no simple, standard solution for tracing products. We are working to maximize traceability, depending on the product range involved.

Organic products

We can guarantee full traceability for all organic products labelled with the Bio Suisse bud. Thanks to the Naturaplan ID, customers purchasing Naturaplan fruit and vegetables can see for themselves which farms their organic fruit and vegetables have come from. Products sold loose bear a bud sticker with the Naturaplan ID code. On packaged fruit and vegetables, the Naturaplan ID has been shown on the label since 2010.

Fairtrade products

The FLO-ID, as it is known, can be found on more than 1 300 items with the Fairtrade Max Havelaar label. To find out more about the producer and the product, you can enter the code on the Fairtrade Max Havelaar website.

Textiles

More and more items of clothing from our Naturaline own-label brand display a QR code and a numerical code on their sewn-in label. On the My-Trace website provided by Remei AG, you can trace in detail the route from the cultivation of the organic cotton, through various production stages, to the finished product.