The company discloses the aspects of its business operations that have a significant impact on sustainability issues and what material impact sustainability issues have on its operations. It analyses the positive and negative effects and provides information as to how these insights are integrated into the company’s processes.
At the beginning of the strategy process in 2015, we first considered what goal we wanted to pursue with the strategy. It was important to us to develop a Sustainability Strategy tailored to cosnova that addresses the opportunities and risks in line with our corporate values and goals. Three questions were important to us in this context:
- What are the major economic, ecological and social challenges facing the world today?
- Which challenges does cosnova contribute to - as part of the problem or as part of the solution?
- How is cosnova influenced by the related developments?
In the first step of the process, the sustainability context for cosnova was identified. To do this, we used various sources including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations (UN). Six challenges with primary relevance were then identified for cosnova.
The topics are as follows:
- Poverty (SDG #1)
--> Reference to cosnova, for example: the demand for inexpensive consumer goods is growing – cosnova offers inexpensive cosmetics / the working conditions in the supply chain
- Aging society (SDG #3)
--> Reference to cosnova, for example: the working population and our target group are declining
- Raw material shortage (SDG #15)
--> Reference to cosnova, for example: availability of natural ingredients is decreasing / our share of raw material consumption for the production of our packaging
- Decreasing biodiversity (SDG #15)
--> Reference to cosnova, for example: environmental pollution through the disposal of our products
- Energy revolution (SDG #7) and climate change (SDG #13)
--> Reference to cosnova, for example: energy consumption over the entire life cycle of our products / land conversion due to increasing demand for natural ingredients, such as palm oil
- Water shortage (SDG #6) / Uncertain food supply (SDG #2)
--> Reference to cosnova: water consumption in the supply chain / water pollution due to the production and disposal of products
Subsequently, a list of topics was compiled covering these challenges in a total of 5 groups and 24 topics:
- Working methods
- Product responsibility
- Social issues
- Economic topics
A stakeholder survey was conducted on the basis of this list of topics. The survey was carried out partly through questionnaires and partly through personal interviews. In total, feedback from over 900 responses was processed. The surveys included cosnova employees as well as the employees of the logistics partner CNL, consumers, business partners on the customer and supplier side, local authorities, industry organizations and, of course, the management of cosnova and CNL. The results of the stakeholder survey were then evaluated using a substantiality matrix. Together with the Executive Board and the Management Board, the individual topics were then prioritized further in a total of four different workshops and the strategic goals and corresponding action plans were compiled. The business model of cosnova GmbH, which operates as a non-producing company on rented office space, also poses challenges for the sustainability management. Due to the location, cosnova GmbH has, for example, limited influence on the use of natural resources or due to the composition of the value chain, limited influence on the transport routes and types of its products and the associated emissions.