Or: How to write a sustainability report
Organic, plastic-free and planting trees - if you have known us for a while, you know that we really do a lot to give something back to nature and do good to the world. But we want even more! A few weeks ago we therefore had a sustainability workshop with Claudia, a consultant for sustainable business strategies, whom we met at a trade fair. Together with her, we looked at how sustainable we already are and what we can still improve. It became clear to us once again how complex the topic is - and how much intransparency there is here. That is why. That's why we want to take you with us and show you what sustainable management can look like and what we are doing to become more sustainable step by step.
The workshop - Where do we stand?
Claudia helped us a lot to get a view from the outside on our company philosophy. Together with her, we took a fundamental look at our supply chains and our products and thought about what is going well and where there are still weak points. The result was that we are already doing very much better than other companies. Our ingredients are all certified organic, our packaging film is compostable, we give something back to the environment by planting trees and we work with Holacracy (more about this in a forthcoming article). We still have to work on some other screws. To make this as clear as possible to you and us, we have decided to produce a sustainability report.
What does a sustainability report say?
Many companies, sustainable start-ups, but also large corporations publish a sustainability report at regular intervals. In it, they describe their values and the steps they are taking towards more sustainable business, they provide information on projects and disclose figures and data related to sustainability. This usually covers working conditions, CO2 emissions, energy consumption, water consumption, waste production, background information on production and targets for the period until the next report, so that it is easy to understand how the products are manufactured and what the company is actually doing to be sustainable.
There are (still) no uniform standards for such a sustainability report, which means that a company has a great deal of freedom to design its own report. However, there are a few concepts that can be used as orientation: there are the G4 guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the German Sustainability Code (DNK) or The Sustainability Code or the framework of the International Integrated Reporting
Council (IIRC). That doesn't exactly make the whole thing easier or clearer, but at least it gives us and you some orientation: ok, this concept of a sustainability report checks the following criteria that are particularly important to me, but may leave out others or be stricter/less strict in some points than others. Basically similar to the different organic labels.
What we want to do
For the time being, we have decided to orient ourselves to the principles of the United Nations Global Compact. These are simply formulated 10 points that give us some clues on various aspects and thus enable us to get started easily. (Here you can read about it.) On this basis we now want to calculate the CO2 footprint for nucao in the coming weeks and check the cultivation and production conditions of our nucao main ingredient cocoa. The following points are important to us:
- Health of the products
- CO2 emissions
- Payment of the producers
- Child labour and working conditions.
After the first four weeks, in which four of us (Lisa and Thomas - Supply Chain, Gloria - Product Development, Anne - Content Marketing) set out on the Sustainability Report mission, we have already learned that it is not easy to do this alongside daily business. And we don't have an entire sustainability department either. So we decided without further ado to start a little smaller and not to rush into all areas at once, but rather to deal intensively with the above-mentioned points.
Another challenge is the very long way of some ingredients, such as the cocoa bean. Unfortunately, it cannot (yet) be grown in the garden at home (otherwise we would do it right away!). Therefore we have to work very closely with our suppliers to ensure that the conditions we demand are actually met.
As you can see, sustainability is not as easy as you might sometimes think. But as a company we see it as our responsibility to work in a way that does not harm the planet or the people who live on it. And we have the goal of developing ourselves even further in this direction, learning and becoming as sustainable as possible. If that interests you - stay tuned! We will keep you informed about how we are progressing on our way to even more sustainability.