Our strategy

As a Swiss cooperative with a tradition stretching back more than 150 years, the Coop Group’s focus lies on its members and its customers. In Retail, Wholesale and Production, we align our business activities with market-driven, environmental and ethical principles; this is the foundation of our success. After 47 years of strong commitment, sustainability has become part of everyday life throughout the Coop Group. It is integral to the company’s DNA and is enshrined in our Articles of Association, our Corporate Profile and our missions.  

Our focus is on sustainable products, the environment and climate protection as well as commitment to our employees and to society.

Our sustainability efforts are concentrated on issues with high social, environmental, or economic relevance. Furthermore, we focus on the expectations and needs of our customers and all other stakeholders. In order to do even more to promote sustainable development, every five years we set new, ambitious and concrete sustainability targets in these areas and, each year, transparently communicate our efforts, progress and challenges. The targets apply to our three business areas Retail, Product and Wholesale, taking due account of their respective markets. We firmly enshrine sustainability in our core business and line management. Reflecting this, sustainability is incorporated in all relevant Coop Group strategies through our Sustainability Strategy, which we revised at the end of 2017. More information about the strategy concept can be found at Actions, not words.

We always take an outside-in approach to our goal-setting process and, through dialogue with external stakeholders, we also incorporate society’s needs, scientific findings and global requirements. The multi-year targets are also aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and we report on our progress in accordance with the international standard for sustainability communication of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

To ensure the effectiveness and credibility of our targets and measures, we are committed to implementing internationally recognized sustainability standards and guidelines. Our strategic priorities are reviewed annually, and newly identified, relevant issues are incorporated in the next goal-setting process. The current target period, running from 2014 to 2020, comprises 27 targets, in Retail, 21 in Production and 24 in Wholesale, which are divided among our three pillars and seven overarching target areas. Due to the Covid pandemic, the target period has been extended for a further year and, where appropriate, transitional targets have been set for 2021.

The next multi-year target period will run from 2022 to 2026.

Despite the Covid pandemic, Coop systematically pursued its sustainability targets and made headway in all three business areas in 2020, achieving most of its targets:

Retail:


Production:


Wholesale:

Our core business activities range from the purchasing and production of products in the food and non-food segment, to sales in our bricks-and-mortar and online channels along the entire value chain. We conducted a comprehensive, risk-based review to identify the positive and negative effects from a sustainability perspective on the various levels and assigned these to our overarching target areas. We report on relevance to Coop, our targets, measures, inner drive & projects, and highlights and figures within a specific topic.

To promote sales of sustainable products, we pursue the overriding objective of steadily increasing our sustainability sales year on year:

RETAIL: We are increasing the percentage of sustainability sales to 26%


PRODUCTION: We are increasing the percentage of sustainability sales to 26.8%


WHOLESALE: We are increasing the percentage of sustainability sales to 3%


Our record result of CHF 5.4 billion in sales of sustainable products, CHF 4.8 billion of which was generated by Retail, is the result of our forward-looking strategy on sustainability. It was also affected by the unique market situation in the 2020 financial year: with restaurants shut and people working from home, we experienced higher demand in retail and at the production facilities for high-quality, sustainable products during the pandemic. In wholesale, the reverse was true. Although we achieved our target, we recorded a decline in sustainable products and in total sales compared with the previous year, which is attributable to the closure of hotels and catering outlets right across Europe.

Management structure and organization of Sustainability department

The Coop Group, which has a cooperative structure, is managed by a Board of Directors which has ten members. The Coop Group’s operational management is undertaken by a seven-strong Executive Committee. From May 2021, the Chairman of the Board of Directors is Joos Sutter; at the same time, Philipp Wyss will become Chairman of the Executive Committee. Strategies, targets and missions are adopted by the Executive Committee. Coop’s Sustainability Team is responsible for reviewing target attainment and ensuring the necessary operational aspects are in place. They maintain regular dialogue with sustainability officers in the three business areas Retail, Production and Wholesale.

Sustainable Development Goals

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set global priorities and targets up to 2030 intended to get the world on course towards sustainability and tackle the current economic, social and environmental challenges. As an international company, through our key issues we incorporate these global goals in our strategies and spheres of action, contributing to their achievement in the private sector.