Social commitment

Social commitment is an integral aspect of our company and the reason why we get involved in fundraising campaigns, provide help in the event of natural disasters in Switzerland and abroad and actively promote the integration of persons with disabilities. We also believe it is extremely important to avoid food waste.

Providing help in Switzerland and abroad

We support people in need in Switzerland and abroad with financial and product donations. This involves us working closely with social organizations such as the Swiss Red Cross and the food redistribution charities Schweizer Tafel and Tischlein deck dich. Within the framework of our own-label brand Naturaline for fairly-traded textiles made from organic cotton, together with the bioRe Foundation we run projects in India and Tanzania that benefit the local farming families.

Meaningful donations that reach the intended recipients

We have been working closely with the Swiss Red Cross (SRC) for many years in order to provide people in need with fast and unbureaucratic assistance. In 2015 we extended our cooperation even further and we have been an official partner of the SRC since then. This partnership enables us and the SRC to target our emergency aid and reconstruction contributions even more effectively in the event of disasters in Switzerland or abroad. The SRC uses its networks in Switzerland and abroad to ensure that the donations arrive in the right places.

Help in the event of natural disasters

We provide spontaneous and unbureaucratic aid in the event of natural disasters at home and abroad. In 2016, for instance, we donated CHF 200,000 million to the Swiss Red Cross for hurricane-hit Haiti. To ensure that the aid really does reach the people affected who are in urgent need of it, when providing international aid we usually work with our strategic partner the Swiss Red Cross and where relevant also with further partners such as Médecins Sans Frontières. These organizations handle local logistics, because they know where the need for tents, food, water or medicine is most acute.

More examples of our international aid:

CHF 500 000 of emergency aid for Eastern Europe.

CHF 1 million for typhoon victims in the Philippines.

CHF 1 million for earthquake victims in Haiti for infrastructure and medicines.

80 000 family kits for Burkina Faso.

CHF 250 000 for tsunami victims in Batticaloa.

CHF 250 000 for the construction of new homes for tsunami victims.

CHF 150 000 for earthquake victims in Kashmir and Pakistan.

Help in Switzerland

In Switzerland we support the SRC fundraising campaign «2 x Christmas», which has been running for many years. Since 1998 we have supported the campaign as the main donor of goods and each year we donate long-life food products and hygiene products worth several hundreds of thousands of francs. The SRC passes these goods on to persons in need and social organizations such as soup kitchens and children's homes in Switzerland.

Together with the Red Cross we help families

Thanks to our financial support the SRC has been able to create and launch a new online platform for families. The new families platform brings together everything that SRC offers for families, from its babysitter referral service to courses for children and families.

For several years now we have donated 10 cents to the Swiss Red Cross (SRC) for every Grittibänz bread roll sold between the end of October and the end of December. 100 % of this money goes to help needy families in Switzerland. Over 1.1 million Grittibänz bread rolls have been sold, meaning that we have donated over CHF 110 000 to the SRC. This money is used to support people in Switzerland who are experiencing financial difficulties due to a very low income, sudden unemployment or the breakdown of a marriage. 

Solidarité – Every person is valuable

Our Solidarité label allows consumers to recognize immediately that the product has been made or packed in a social institution.

We have brought together all our efforts to support persons living with disabilities under our Solidarité commitment programme. On the one hand we are now identifying products and services created by persons working in social institutions with the new Solidarité label, while on the other we are underlining our efforts as an employer to integrate persons living with disabilities.

People with disabilities are often highly motivated, but have less functional capacity to cope with everyday working requirements. We fill around 1 percent of our jobs with employees who have restricted functional capacity, thereby supporting their integration into everyday social life. Through our sponsoring commitment to the compasso web portal, we are giving employers throughout Switzerland access to information on early recognition of health problems, intervention and professional reintegration.

Creating added value for workshops and social institutions

For many years now, we have been successfully cooperating with sheltered workshops. Now we are the first Swiss retailer to identify products made in social institutions with the Solidarité label and in terms of providing services we are also actively cooperating with numerous institutions. Whether they are wine racks, birdhouses or kitchen aids – the manufacture of Coop products provides an opportunity for many people with disabilities. Each year, we sell products made in sheltered workshops with a value in excess of CHF 3 million.

Our Solidarité label allows consumers to recognize immediately that the product has been made or packed in a social institution. It is a label with a heart, both literally and figuratively!

Intégration Handicap project

In western Switzerland, people with disabilities are integrated into everyday working life at nine POS and in German-speaking Switzerland at two POS. This project involves people sharing a regular job at one of our points of sale. They are supported in their dealings with customers and colleagues by specially-trained intermediaries from various institutions. As part of our Solidarité commitment programme we will be extending this project to all Swiss regions.

Avoiding food waste: Food is valuable

We only have to dispose of around 0.2 percent of the food in our supermarkets because we undertake precise planning and carefully calculate our order volumes. Goods that we do not sell are donated to those in need or are converted into animal feed or biogas. We also help producers and our customers to throw away as little food as possible.

Our principle for avoiding food waste is «Avoidance before recycling and disposal» and is based on the following three pillars:

  • Flexible ordering systems reduce food waste to a minimum. We also reduce prices shortly before the expiry date, or sell them to our employees at a discount.
  • We donate foodstuffs that can no longer be sold but are still in perfect condition to social institutions. Between 2011 and 2017, we donated products with a total value of over CHF 100 million. That equates to around 11 million meals donated each year. 
  • Products that are no longer fit for consumption are used as animal feed or recycled at biogas plants; this accounts for less than 1 percent of foodstuffs. Thanks to this system, we only have to throw away around 0.2 percent of foodstuffs, usually due to legal requirements.

Tischlein deck dich and Schweizer Tafel food redistribution charities

Since 2005, we have been donating excellent-quality food that has passed its sell-by but not its best-before date to the organizations Tischlein deck dich and Schweizer Tafel, free of charge. We also donate products that have only just passed their best-before date but are still in perfect condition to these two organizations.

Each day, Schweizer Tafel distributes more than 15 tonnes of food free of charge across 11 Swiss regions to over 500 social institutions such as emergency accommodation centres, charitable organizations, soup kitchens and homes. The deliveries ease the strain on the chefs there, who are often working to very tight budgets.

Food deliveries made by Tischlein deck dich relieve the strain on the household budgets of the 12 500 people affected by poverty who are able to buy food for one symbolic franc at 89 distribution points across Switzerland each week.

In 2013, in partnership with the members of the Swiss retailers' association IG DHS, we created the Foodbridge, a joint industry solution based on this model. Together, all members support the organizations Schweizer Tafel and Tischlein deck dich with annual donations of CHF 680 000 as well as product donations.

Supporting producers

In the event of seasonal over-production, we run targeted promotions to promote sales. We also offer fruit and vegetables that are unusual in shape, size or appearance as a tasty alternative under our own-label brand Ünique.

At home too: Avoiding food waste

By providing information on sustainable consumption, offering a variety of packaging sizes and selling loose fruit and vegetables, we help our customers avoid having to throw away food at home – because that is where the majority of food waste occurs.

Auch zu Hause: Foodwaste vermeiden

Mit Informationen zum umweltgerechten Konsum, verschiedenen Verpackungsgrössen und dem Offenverkauf von Früchten und Gemüse unterstützen wir unsere Kunden, damit sie zu Hause keine Lebensmittel wegwerfen müssen – denn abgesehen von der Produktion fällt in den Haushalten der grösste Teil der Lebensmittel an, die am Ende nicht gegessen werden.

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Diverse sponsorship commitments

Through our sponsorship, we support projects in the areas of sport, culture, people and the environment, and children and families, offering people inspiring experiences that are a tangible expression of our corporate values of enthusiasm, family-friendliness and sustainability.