Dear valued stakeholder,
Every approach to sustainability in any business must begin with economic viability and shared responsibility in overarching topics. When we speak of the first, we mean that everyone involved in getting our wonderful product into the consumer’s cup must be able to make a sustainable living from doing so and that especially the producers must be able to take decisions and ultimately choose coffee. The latter means that the entire coffee value chain must chip in in accordance with their possibilities to reach this goal while respecting the changing conditions that coffee is subject to – global warming, weather, politics and conflicts, the ongoing pandemic, market volatility and price-sensitive but demanding consumers. For all these issues, the past year has repeatedly shown us how challenging our times and how unforeseeable the future can be. At NKG, we are impressed by the many projects and programs the industry is developing, but much more is needed, and quickly.
Within NKG, we have seen great progress since the publication of our last Sustainability Report. In 2020, we reassessed our strategic approach to sustainability and developed our Responsible Business Program (NKG RBP) in close collaboration with numerous different stakeholders. It is intended as a guiding framework for all NKG companies worldwide, reaffirming our commitment for the future, and is being implemented constantly ever since.
A major milestone reached this year is the adaptation of our group-wide data collection of sustainability KPIs across twenty-five countries. Many colleagues and NKG operations worldwide have intensely collaborated in this process, ensuring common ground and understanding for our RBP and a baseline for future improvement. Based on this data, we calculated our Corporate Carbon Footprint, including Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, for the first time, which builds one of the focus topics of this report. Based on this understanding, we will formulate ambitious goals within our activities.
David M. Neumann
As a green coffee company, we are at the center of the coffee supply chain, connecting producers and customers worldwide through trade. We are aware of the responsibility that comes with this and take it very seriously. In addition to our initiatives such as NKG Bloom, which have been successfully continued in the reporting period, NKG has recently finalized two new supply chain programs to increase traceability and compliance along the coffee supply chain – NKG Verified and NKG SCIP. While NKG Verified offers customers traceable coffees that meet key sustainability criteria, SCIP is a program implemented to collaborate with our business partners worldwide and to set effective measures for the protection of human rights along the coffee supply chain.
With our NKG Sustainability Report 2022, we would like to give you an insight into our Responsible Business Program, show where we stand today and which milestones we have achieved so far. Knowing that there is yet a long way to go on the way to an equitable and sustainable coffee industry, we are yet proud of the progress we have made. Of course, all of this has only been possible due to the active participation of our colleagues worldwide, for which I would like to express my sincere thanks. It would of course be impossible without their knowledge on so many topics on the ground in so many places, each with their own set of challenges and, thus, opportunities.
We hope you enjoy reading the report and we are looking forward to any and all constructive feedback to make us better.
For the Board of Management
David M. Neumann
NKG’s journey towards sustainability started many years ago and we have already achieved significant milestones:
Responsible Business Program
Sustainability and responsible conduct have always been integral to our work at NKG, as coffee connects us with people, communities and their natural environments all over the globe. Their health and wellbeing are fundamental for our company’s long-term success.
Driven by this responsibility, our strong corporate values and the latest industry developments, we launched the NKG Responsible Business Program (RBP) in 2020. The RBP defines four focus areas and nine strategic objectives for our work, building a robust framework for our group’s sustainability efforts.
As our business environment is constantly changing, the RBP is reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that it matches with our long-term objectives and the needs of our stakeholders. For this purpose, we conducted a strategy workshop with a group of sustainability experts from different NKG companies and departments in the spring of this year. This open exchange allowed us to narrow the topics that are most material to our business and has led to a revision of the RBP.
All objectives of the RBP are fully supported by our Board of Management and the operative management of all NKG companies. While the program is led and coordinated by the holding Neumann Gruppe GmbH in Hamburg, the objectives are implemented in close collaboration with our colleagues worldwide and adapted to their national contexts and organizational set-ups.
How we work
Our work on the RBP is based on three pillars that support the achievement of our objectives: innovation, partnerships and communication.
To use resources more efficiently, we need to continuously question the way we produce and trade coffee. Digitizing our operations in the field and beyond to enhance traceability and gain an even deeper understanding of our coffee supply chains is an important starting point. Beyond this, we pilot new technologies, such as handheld scanners for soil tests to optimize fertilization, and support producers in the rediscovery of traditional methods such as bio-input production.
Moreover, we are convinced that sustainability benefits from different perspectives, skills and joint forces. For this reason, we do not only engage in multiple industry partnerships, but also rely on an interdisciplinary team of colleagues from various departments and with diverse backgrounds, which is working collaboratively on the implementation of the RBP.
Lastly, we believe that holistic and transparent communication should be at the core of any sustainability strategy. In this report we want to communicate the objectives we aim for, how we work on them, and where we still have potential to grow, improve and learn. Unless otherwise noted, all information refers to the reporting period January to December 2021. The content of the report has not been reviewed by an external party.
Through our Responsible Business Program we want to contribute to a more sustainable future in the coffee industry. However, solving major sustainability challenges will always require industry-wide approaches and the joint commitment of different players. NKG believes in the power of collaboration. We are a proud founding member of International Coffee Partners and coffee&climate. Together with Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung as an implementing partner, we have been able to improve the livelihoods of more than 300,000 farmer households in 18 countries since 2001. Moreover, we actively engage in multiple other initiatives to enhance industry dialogue and to address complex sustainability topics that go far beyond our own supply chain.
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Dr. Sarah Tischer
Head of Group Compliance and Responsible Business Program
Head of Communications
Group Compliance and Responsible Business Program
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