We at Dr. Oetker have identified raw materials for which sustainability is not always fully guaranteed per se or which are of particular relevance for our stakeholders.
The inquiries we receive clearly show us the increasing interest of consumers in more sustainable consumption. Raw materials of animal origin and raw materials that typically come from ecologically sensitive regions or regions in which compliance with fair working conditions is uncertain or non-transparent are of particular relevance.
Accordingly, in our Sustainaility Charter issued in 2020, we also look at our supply chains and aim to ensure fair, socially and environmentally friendly conditions here.
In our products we use different types of cocoa and chocolate. We usually procure these raw materials already processed and therefore not directly from the growing countries. To ensure that international labor standards are complied with, since 2018, only sustainably grown and UTZ-certified cocoa has been purchased in Germany for all products manufactured or purchased. The changeover took place worldwide by the end of 2020. For all companies that were acquired after this period and will be acquired in the future, we grant a transition period. The main purpose of converting to UTZ is to rule out the problem of forced labor and child labor and to ensure the payment of fair wages.
Due to its properties, palm oil is a very popular raw material: It is tasteless, heat-stable, has a long shelf life and does not have to be chemically hardened, for example, to get the desired consistency. Therefore, the global demand for palm oil has risen sharply in recent years. This has resulted in an increase in the areas under cultivation, especially in the main tropical cultivation areas such as Malaysia or Indonesia through illegal slash and burning of rain forests – combined with negative effects on the environment, biodiversity and the local population.
In order to live up to our ecological responsibility, we are a member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, RSPO for short, since 2011 and apply the criteria for the sustainable cultivation of palm oil established by the RSPO. All German sites where palm oil is processed in our products have already been RSPO-certified since the end of 2012. At international level, the conversion to the RSPO "Segregated" standard was largely completed by the end of 2020. For companies that were acquired after this period or will be acquired in the future, we grant a transition period.
For chicken meat, we have set ourselves the goal of only sourcing chicken meat that at least meets the criteria of the European Chicken Commitment by 2025. These go beyond the legal requirements for animal welfare and offer the animals, among other things, slower rearing and more space. For example, according to these, a maximum stocking density of 30 kilograms per square meter is permitted, as opposed to 42 kilograms per square meter under European law. We have already been purchasing some of our chicken meat according to these criteria since 2016. Eggs and egg products have been sourced exclusively from barn-raised hens since 2008.
The pork processed at our German production sites comes exclusively from the QS program of Qualität und Sicherheit GmbH. QS certification ensures food safety and compliance with animal husbandry standards across all stages of production and processing.
We have already implemented many measures for the responsible purchase of tuna in recent years. For example, we only use skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis), which is not considered endangered.
In order to promote sustainable fish management, we work with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and use appropriately certified tuna for some of our pizza ranges. The MSC manages the world's best-known ecological certification and labeling program for sustainable fishing. The MSC has meanwhile expanded its criteria to include social aspects. In addition to the ecological standards, every MSC-certified fishery must now specify which regulations and mechanisms it uses to exclude forced and child labor. By offering and buying products that carry the blue MSC seal, companies and consumers are supporting responsible fisheries around the globe.
For our pizzas, where the conversion to MSC-certified tuna is not yet possible, we use tuna caught using dolphin-friendly fishing methods and without the use of special fishing equipment (so-called fish aggregation devices, FAD-free). Only those suppliers who prove this by appropriate certificates are approved by us.
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