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Sustainability at Breuninger

17. November 2020

Sustainability at Breuninger

On the Path to a More Responsible Future

  • Focussing on all our previous sustainability measures
  • Four areas of action: materials, people, the environment and the community
  • Defining binding ongoing targets
  • Sustainable eco-friendly brands for our entire product range in the future

Here at Breuninger, the fashion and lifestyle company based in Stuttgart, Germany, we have taken the decisive step of bringing together all our current activities in the sphere of sustainability. We have done this to create an even more extensive corporate responsibility strategy with binding targets, despite the challenging times we are all currently living through. This clearly focussed alignment will involve every aspect of the company and have a direct effect on all future corporate decisions and commercial projects.

Breuninger has decided to look beyond the challenges of the present day and make an immediate start on a pioneering, forward-looking project: by drawing up a comprehensive and binding corporate responsibility strategy, Breuninger, as the leading premium department store, is setting new standards for an even more sustainable future. The primary aims of this new alignment programme are ambitious but realistic, achievable goals. These goals will affect every part of the company, shaping how decisions are made and how processes are implemented.

As a long-established family-run company with deep-rooted corporate values, Breuninger has always shouldered its responsibility of making an active contribution towards promoting sustainable textiles and consumer goods and also supporting the local environment and economy. Getting to grips with social and ecological issues has played a vital role in every decision the company has made, since the very beginning. Breuninger has a proud tradition of treating its customers, staff and partners with respect, consistency and transparency, which is a cornerstone of the company's success. That is why it is bringing together all its current social and ecological activities to create a uniform corporate responsibility strategy.

Four areas of action

These four areas cover every aspect of the company's new focus on sustainability: materials, people, the environment and the community. In addition to focussing on the product selection process, this strategy also addresses the issues involved in property management, catering, logistics and social responsibility. Although all these areas already implement clear sustainability programmes, the centralised management of these programmes and the definition of ambitious goals is new.

For more than two years, a dedicated corporate responsibility team has been gathering together all the company's sustainability measures and running a sustainability task force that involves every company department. "The Breuninger team is enthusiastic and highly motivated. We have so many different approaches and ideas that we want to drive forward", stated Breuninger CEO Holger Blecker, describing the new points of focus. "We understand that corporate responsibility is an agile process. We also know that we are starting out on an infinitely long journey. However, as the leading fashion and lifestyle company in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, we can and must place even greater emphasis on running a truly sustainable business for the future. This responsibility perfectly expresses Breuninger's fundamental corporate ethos and attitude to the world."

Transparent "Seal of Approval Register"

A key feature that will help increase awareness of the issues surrounding sustainability among Breuninger's customers is the company's plan to expand the number of products in its ranges with well-established, reputable sustainability certification. In future, a total of 23 well-known and trusted brand certificates, such as Better Cotton, Fairtrade or the "Green button", will tell customers which sustainable criteria each item meets. Only articles certified by at least one of these symbols will be stocked and labelled as sustainable by Breuninger. You can now use "sustainable" as a filter when shopping in the Breuninger online shop, and every article description includes the appropriate symbol. Transparent product labelling will also be rolled out across our stores.

You will find an overview of symbols approved by Breuninger and additional information on our Sustainability Info Page at https://www.e-breuninger.de/nachhaltigkeit

Binding corporate aims

Breuninger has set out its sustainability aims in every business area. These aims will shape the decisions the company makes in future and the processes it implements.

1. Breuninger and materials
The use of sustainable materials will be promoted even more strongly in the future. In this respect, cotton is the most important material in the product portfolio. As cotton produced using conventional methods is so damaging to the environment, Breuninger has stated its intention of using exclusively 100% sustainably produced cotton in its own brand products before 2025. Since its Spring/Summer 2020 collection, Breuninger has stopped purchasing products that use real fur and completely restructured its range. The last items from previous collections are currently being sold and will be gone by the end of the year. "We are delighted that we will be able to be members of the international Fur Free Retailer Programme in the coming year", said Blecker. Discussions with the FOUR PAWS animal protection organisation in Germany are already under way and give Breuninger the opportunity to get involved with other animal welfare issues. In future, Breuninger will also no longer sell products made of Angora wool or leather from exotic animals.

2. Breuninger and people
Since it began, Breuninger has always striven to act in a trustworthy and transparent manner and treat its staff, suppliers and service providers with respect. It is absolutely essential to have a corporate culture based on shared values that promotes honest and open dialogue within the Breuninger team and gives every member of staff an active role in company processes and decisions, while supporting them in their own personal development. It is this ethos that lies at the core of Breuninger's activities. Equally important is having good working partnerships with suppliers and service providers, involving open and transparent discourse. Breuninger is currently working on a requirements catalogue, based on its present purchasing guidelines and the Breuninger Responsible Sourcing Policy. In future, this catalogue will act as a framework on which to build even more transparent, trust-based business relationships. The Responsible Sourcing Policy sets out principles for suppliers and business partners to ensure that every single product is created using environmentally friendly, ethical and socially responsible production methods. The Responsible Sourcing Policy itself is based on international agreements, conventions and standards, such as those set by the United Nations, the International Labour Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. In future, this policy will apply to all direct business partners and suppliers that supply Breuninger's own-brand products or parts of these products, and will be an integral part of supplier contracts.

3. Breuninger and environment
Breuninger is constantly on the look-out for new ways to reduce its CO2 emissions in the medium and long term and to conserve natural resources. To reduce CO2 emissions, the company is working hardest in areas where it can have the most influence, i.e. transport and buildings. Breuninger has set itself the target of making purchases from its online shop and in-house deliveries CO2-neutral by 2022. And, to reduce consumption of resources and cut waste production, Breuninger intends to remove plastic from its procurement processes, as far as possible, by 2025. By doing away with "poly bags", the pressure-seal bags used to send items of clothing throughout the fashion industry, and avoiding the use of single-use plastic, Breuninger aims to make many of its processes plastic-free in future.

4. Breuninger and the community
As an active member of the local community, Breuninger's plan for sustainability also includes involvement with charities and social projects such as community foundations, cultural institutions and sports associations. The company also intends to make specific contributions to creating an infrastructure that promotes sustainability and supports people and projects in the local area. The greatest influence Breuninger can have here is on its own properties and in its own procurement processes. For example, it will install charging stations for electric cars and e-bikes in its own car parks by 2022. Increasing the use of regional and seasonal products in Breuninger's cafés and restaurants will also help support local farmers and producers.

Customers will soon be able to find more information about sustainability at Breuninger and the "Seal of Approval Register" on the Corporate Responsibility website: 

www.e-breuninger.de/nachhaltigkeit

Link to images:
https://www.picdrop.com/e.breuningergmbh./n2dNeabogJ