Frontal photograph of a soya bean field


“Our aspiration is that all our products be made in a sustainable way. We consider environmental and social criteria, including animal welfare, throughout our product supply chains – from raw materials to final production. Raw materials include agriculture and forestry, livestock and fish, and other natural resources used for our products and packaging.”

CR Principles


Around 30% of the Earth's land area is covered by forest. The Earth's forests are of vital importance to global ecosystems – they provide habitats for a diversity of species and have important functions for the Earth's climate. In this respect, the tropical rainforests in South America and Southeast Asia are of particular importance. However, millions of hectares of forest are destroyed each year to make way for agricultural and urban areas. Deforestation significantly contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions.

A large share of forests are destroyed in order to create cultivation areas for animal feed, such as soy, crop plants, such as oil palms, or grazing land for cattle farming. In addition, logging for obtaining wood as a construction or working material and the production of paper and cardboard also causes the further reduction of global forests. 

In terms of our buying activities, we aim to ensure that the products we offer do not contribute to illegal logging. In this respect, we initially focus on four key areas: soy cultivation, palm oil/palm kernel oil production, forestry, and cattle farming.

Our aim is to ensure that the cultivation of soy, which is primarily used as animal feed within our supply chains, has no negative impacts on forest areas. For this purpose, we maintain intensive dialogue with our stakeholders and became a member of the Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) and the Retailer Soy Group (RSG) in May 2017. Within the scope of further developing our strategy for ensuring the ecologically and socially responsible cultivation of soy, we calculated a soy footprint for our business operations in Germany, the UK, Ireland, and across HOFER S/E for the first time in 2017 with the aim of providing a quantitative impact assessment of our supply chain. This soy footprint reflects the soy usage of relevant animal products, which account for the majority of the soy footprint in our supply chain. Based on the updated soy footprint, we will develop appropriate measures and intensify our involvement in multi-stakeholder initiatives over the course of the next year.

In many cases, the palm oil/palm kernel oil contained in our products cannot be readily replaced by other fats or oils. One aspect which needs to be considered is the higher yield achieved with oil palms compared to all other oil plants. In order to obtain the same quantity of oil from other plants, significantly larger cultivation areas would be required – meaning the problem would only be displaced. This is why we rely on the use of palm oil/palm kernel oil from certified sources. We joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in 2011 and, since late 2015, the palm oil/palm kernel oil contained in our private label food products sold in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia is certified according to the RSPO chain of custody standards. By the end of 2018, we aim to complete the transition to certified palm oil/palm kernel oil for all of our private label products worldwide. For derivatives and fractions contained in non-food products, we will also accept RSPO Palm certificates. We are also actively involved in the Retailer Palm Oil Group and the Retail Palm Oil Transparency Coalition.    

A significant share of the globally traded palm oil/palm kernel oil is produced by smallholders. In order to account for these smallholders within the scope of our commitment to using sustainable palm oil/palm kernel oil, we employ a combination of three measures: We purchase RSPO Independent Smallholder Credits to support their work, we participate in the RSPO Smallholder Working Group in order to further support and integrate smallholders, and since 2017, we have been supporting a smallholder project in Côte d'Ivoire in order to pave the way for a sustainable cultivation of palm (kernel) oil. In close cooperation with our partner, the NGO Solidaridad, we have developed a project focussing on the protection of native forests and environmentally friendly cultivation methods. Solidaridad offers intensive training which builds on an existing RSPO Smallholder Support Fund project supporting 5,000 smallholders and is intended to qualify up to 3,200 smallholders to protect their forests as well as align their cultivation methods with environmental and resource conservation requirements.

For all products which are made of wood or contain wooden components as well as our paper products and cardboard packaging, we pay attention to sourcing our raw materials in a sustainable manner. The share of products which are certified according to the FSC®, PEFC, or SFI standard or made from recycled materials amounts to 80%. For products and product packaging of our core range products made of paper or cardboard, we have set the goal to only use certified or recycled materials by the end of 2020. In addition to this, we already completed the transition to sustainable paper for all our advertising materials in 2012. 

Moreover, both the impacts of cattle farming in South America and the accompanying deforestation of native forests are important issues to be addressed in the future. We are currently analysing potential connections with products we source as well as suitable measures for addressing this issue. One major challenge in this respect is the complex supply chain with its many stages of cattle farming. 

Over the next few years, the focus of our efforts will be on enhancing the traceability of our products and the resources used. In close cooperation with our suppliers and other stakeholders, we will continue to work to increase the number of products derived from sustainable sources and thus contribute to the protection of our forests.

Cattle on a pasture
Soya bean field photographed from above
Palm oil fruits

Areas for protecting our forests: soy, palm oil/palm kernel oil, wood, cattle farming

Palm oil/palm kernel oil: percentage of certified products Verified by KPMG AG

Paper products: percentage of sales of certified/recycled products Verified by KPMG AG

Please find all information in the table view.
Palm oil/palm (kernel) oil 2017
Palm oil/palm kernel oil
Palm oil/palm kernel oil
Paper products 2017
Paper products
Paper products


Please find all information in the table view.

Sustainable Development Goals

1 No poverty 2 Zero hunger 6 Clean water and sanitation 8 Decent work and economic growth 12 Responsible consumption and production 13 Climate action 14 Life below water 15 Life on land

GRI references

Management approach

Global Reporting Initiative 103-1 Global Reporting Initiative 103-2 Global Reporting Initiative 103-3

Supplier environmental assessment

Global Reporting Initiative 308-2