the practice of sustainability

Retailers can be a driving force in creating sustainable societies by translating consumers’ sustainability needs to their suppliers. Swiss retailer Migros is an example of this. What are Migros’ sustainability ambitions?

 Migros is Switzerland’s largest retailer with an annual turnover (2016) of US $27.8 billion and over 100,000 employees. It was founded in 1925 by Gottlieb Duttweiler as a co-operative because Duttweiler believed that Migros should be as vital to its customers as customers are to Migros. Customers have a voice in the Migros company policy and 1% of the company’s turnover is earmarked for cultural activities.

How did Migros establish its sustainability policy?

At Migros, sustainability is an integrated part of the company’s policy, not a separate program. Values like responsibility and credibility are integral components of the Migros strategy and guide the management’s decisions in sustainability issues. New sustainability issues are regularly introduced by the Migros co-operative. If an idea has potential it will be rolled out in the shops. Migros has a transparent sustainability policy, publishing results in its annual report and on its website.

What are the key sustainability values and how does Migros incorporate them ?

One of Migros’ key values is that societal benefits are more important than their own. So sustainability is an integrated part of Migros’ business interests and culture. It is part of the total value chain and has economic, social and ecological goals. In creating sustainability, promises are made on a general level, which are eventually carried out in the supermarkets. In the past, promises to offer more products for patients with allergies, 100% sustainable fish and better product leaflet information were kept. More recently Migros has promised to offer more vegetarian and vegan products, create more internships, disseminate information about environmental issues and sponsor local track events. So all aspects of sustainability are covered.

How about sustainability and flowers and plants?

Migros supermarkets sell cut flowers, house plants, garden and vegetable plants and herbs. The minimum demands in sustainability are standard Swiss GAP or Global GAP (GRASP). Another important label is FairTrade Max Havelaar. 90% of the roses sold by Migros are sold under this label. If a rose grower wants to sell roses to Migros Fair Trade, Max Havelaar is a must, which means it is virtually impossible for European rose growers to sell their flowers to Migros.

The majority of Migros garden plants are offered under a private bio label, Migros-Bio. When possible, these plants come from local (Swiss) growers under the label “From the region. For the region.” Customers are keen on buying local plants.

What does this sustainability policy bring to Migros?

Switzerland is a prosperous country with consumers that are involved in sustainability issues. Sustainability has a long history in Swiss culture, in both ecological and social aspects. Therefore, a solid reputation in sustainability is of vital importance for Swiss retailers. On top of that, within the Migros co-operative customers get their voices heard.

Therefore, Migros is considered to be one of the world’s most sustainable retailers. Migros is involved in ratings like these in order to further improve itself.

Switzerland is a good market for flowers and plants and Migros is one of the key players in this market. It is therefore an interesting market for plant and floral wholesalers and growers. But if you want to compete in this market, be sure to be a sustainable supplier. Because sustainability is a cornerstone of the Migros company policy.

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