Product and supply chain responsibility

We see the greatest leverage for contributing to sustainable development in the shaping of our products and supply chains. After all, we offer numerous products for consumers and businesses and operate in a wide variety of markets – both at home and abroad.

Taking responsibility for our actions in all these value creation processes and contributing toward a sustainable development is inherent to our self-image. This applies just as much to the coffee farmer in Kenya and factory worker in China, as to our employees in Germany. And to the cultivation of coffee and processing of wood, as to the use and disposal of plastics and electrical appliances.

Over the coming years, we aim to align our supply chains, our own manufacturing operations, and our products in such a way that they also meet the highest sustainability requirements. We want to combine ecological with social, economic, and societal components and strive to find innovative solutions for sustainable economic models together with our business and cooperation partners. Based on this approach, we have developed pioneering future concepts for our most important value creation cycles:

01

Coffee of the Future

Coffee and coffee cultivation

The “Coffee of the Future”…

... is grown in a way which enables all people involved locally to live comfortably long-term and which preserves or regenerates the local ecological systems,

... is processed, transported, and roasted in a climate-friendly way which also uses water sustainably,

... has packaging which is recyclable and – whenever possible – reusable or made from recycled materials,

... is prepared in an energy-saving fashion and

... insofar as corresponding structures exist, the coffee grounds are recovered in the most environmentally compatible way (materials recovery, composting) in line with the principle of a circular economy.

The coffee business is one of our most important activities. We source our green beans from almost all growing regions of the world. Our target is to only source and sell what we call the “Coffee of the Future” by 2030 at the latest.

In recent years, we have gradually increased our share of sustainably certified coffee. We are also initiating and supporting more local environmental and social projects than ever before – and not just on our own. Working on the “Joint Impact” principle, we cooperate closely with not-for-profit organizations and other players in the coffee market, including the Global Coffee Platform.

Melitta® Selection of the Year

With each of our filter coffee and whole bean annual editions, Coffee of the Year and Selection of the Year, we support people in the countries of coffee origin with community projects as part of our overarching commitment to sustainability.

For example, in Ayarza, Guatemala, one of the growing regions of this year's Selection of the Year edition, we support families during harvest time by setting up kindergartens for younger children and camps for older children. Additional health, nutrition and education programs are designed to improve local living conditions and open up new perspectives.

Expansion of sustainable coffee products

Melitta’s coffee range is being gradually expanded with the addition of certified sustainable and responsibly grown coffees. For example, the BellaCrema® range now includes a coffee made from 100 percent certified organic beans. Melitta Professional Coffee Solutions has also expanded its range of sustainable products with the Fairtrade range Mondo Blu Espresso and Melitta® Cioccolata Bio Fair Chocolate.

Higher yields for coffee farmers in Colombia

In 2020, we launched a project together with 4C Services to improve the living and working conditions of people involved in coffee farming in Colombia. The project aims to help up to 1,000 people on small coffee farms achieve higher yields from sustainably grown coffee by introducing improved agricultural practices and facilitating market access – thus helping to improve their living conditions.

Back to the roots: circular economy project in Brazil

In 2020, we launched a circular economy project in Brazil together with the Hanns R. Neumann Foundation. The aim is to reuse the organic waste generated by coffee cultivation, processing, roasting, and consumption by establishing a recycling system, thereby creating additional income opportunities in the growing regions.

02

Plastic of the Future

Plastics and plastic products

The “Plastic of the Future” …

…is made from recycled and/or sustainable, renewable raw materials in a climate- and resource-friendly manner,

…can be used multiple times in suitable product ranges,

…undergoes materials recycling at the end of its useful life or, if no disposal structures are available, it biodegrades fully in the natural world..

For the domestic and food sectors in particular, plastics are unbeatable: they meet the strictest hygiene standards, keep food fresh for longer, and enable safe and efficient transport. However, in order to avoid harming the environment, it is important to collect and recycle them after they have been used – and to recycle them wherever possible.

A significant part of our product portfolio consists of plastics. We therefore believe it is our obligation to help improve the recycling of plastics.

Our objective is the “Plastic of the Future”. In order to achieve it, we have been conducting research for many years and are in close contact with the scientific community. This includes, for example, our Cofresco Forum, where experts and scientists exchange ideas on the latest developments every year. As we are convinced of the need for a circular economy, we are committed to the principles of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and are ourselves working on the (further) development of circular systems for plastics.

Example projects:

For more sustainability in the kitchen

Our products under the Toppits® brand are already made from at least 35 percent recycled resources. By 2025, they are to be produced exclusively from recycled or renewable raw materials and capable of being fully recycled or composted.

Garbage bags made from recycled plastic

Swirl® garbage bags consist of 80% recycled plastic, of which at least half comes from post-consumer recyclates. They are expected to be 100% integrated into the materials cycle by 2025. The “Sacco Verde” bin liners of the Italian brand Domopak Spazzy are made from 100% post-consumer recyclate. Moreover, all Domopak Spazzy products are already made from recycled polyethylene. This saves 50% of CO2 emissions compared to virgin material.

Fair Recycled Plastic: plastic waste processing in India

In cooperation with Yunus Social Business Fund gGmbH, we have set up the company “Vishuddh Recycle Pvt. Ltd.” in the Indian megacity Bangalore. This social business converts plastic waste into recyclate which is then used to produce our garbage bags. The resulting profits are reinvested and used to improve the living conditions and prospects of so-called waste pickers in Bangalore.

Swirl® Pro Nature vacuum cleaner bags

Swirl® vacuum cleaner bags bearing the Pro Nature label are made from 50 percent recycled materials. This not only enables valuable materials to be reused, but also means that fewer resources are required for production.

03

Pulp of the Future

Paper and pulp

The “Pulp of the Future” …

... comes from recycled or sustainably managed sources,

... is processed in a climate-friendly way which uses water sustainably,

... undergoes material recycling at the end of its useful life and

... biodegrades fully in the natural world.

We produce paper in particular for our coffee filters and for various products in our B2B business. As the manufacture of paper requires numerous resources – such as pulp, water, and chemicals – we have been striving to minimize the impact of our production processes on the environment for many years now

Our main focus is on using recycled materials or, where this is not possible, on sources from sustainable forestry. 

We therefore almost exclusively procure pulp which has been certified according to FSC® or PEFC™. In the past few years, we have succeeded in steadily reducing the amount of water and energy we need to manufacture our paper products. Our goal is the “Pulp of the Future”.

Example projects:

Certified filter papers

Our filter papers are made from FSC®-certified pulp and – depending on the product category – also carry additional certifications, such as the Blue Angel, NF and Nordic Swan. In this way, we support sustainable forest management around the world.

Eco-friendly extraction system

The extraction system at our filter paper production plant is a world first and an all-rounder: it saves around 60 percent of the energy previously required, reduces the amount of residual dust produced, and decreases CO2 emissions by around 1,200 metric tons a year.

Developed largely in-house, the system sucks up the paper residues in our coffee filter plant and feeds them back into the production process. In this way, we not only save 10,000 metric tons of paper waste per year, but also recover 28,000 metric tons of paper dust, which is recycled into briquettes.

Optimized water circulation systems

Water plays an important role in the production of filter paper – as a transport medium, to dissolve pulp, as seal water, or for rinsing. To save water and reduce the amount of waste water, we catch it, filter it, and feed it back into the production process.

04

Electrical Appliance of the Future

Electrical appliances

The “Electrical Appliance of the Future” …

... consists of recovered and/or responsibly sourced raw materials and components,,

... is produced in compliance with globally recognized human rights and labor standards,

... meets the highest standards in terms of quality, including useful life and product transparency,

... can be used in a way which conserves energy and resources,,

... can be repaired using spare parts, and

... is reused or recovered at the end of its useful life (provided the corresponding structures are in place).

Coffeemakers, automatic coffee machines, kettles, milk frothers and much more: we offer a wide range of electrical appliances for both consumers and commercial customers. And not only their functionality and design are important to us, but also their sustainability performance. After all, electrical appliances not only consume energy, but also contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases and can pollute the environment on disposal.

Since 2013, we have therefore been measuring the sustainability performance of our electrical appliances with the aid of our MISSION® eco & care grading system. This considers the manufacturing process (e.g. the proportion of eco-friendly materials, packaging, working conditions), as well as the usage (e.g. energy efficiency, product safety, useful life), and the recyclability or disposal of the appliance. 

The result of this grading process is expressed by the number of stars displayed on the packaging. This provides consumers with a fast and simple overview of the appliance’s sustainability.

Our aim is to be best-in-class with regard to the development of sustainable electrical appliances. We therefore plan to expand our MISSION® eco & care grading system and also transfer it to other products. Our medium-term target is to ensure that all our electrical appliances comply with the “Electrical Appliance of the Future” concept.

Example projects:

“Quiet Mark” seal for low-noise automatic coffee machines

To ensure that noise does not negatively impact the quality of our lives, we are working on making our fully automatic coffee machines some of the quietest on the market. The international institute Quiet Mark, which promotes the reduction of noise in everyday life, has already honored three of our coffee machines: the Melitta® Barista TS Smart®, the Melitta® Barista T Smart®, and the Melitta® CI Touch®.

Extended repair options

The Melitta® EPOS® filter coffeemaker is designed in such a way that – should the worst happen – more extensive repairs are both possible and economical. A corresponding repair service was set up when the machine was launched. We intend to extend this offer to other small devices in the coming years. Repair services are already offered for our fully automatic coffee machines, which were rated “very good” by Stiftung Warentest in 2021.