Partnerships: Cooperation not confrontation

Migros is a social agent engaging in a dialogue with numerous organisations and groups. In doing so the retailer seeks to have a frank and honest exchange.

Switzerland's largest retailer and private employer is in touch with numerous stakeholder groups. Stakeholder groups are interest groups that are influenced by an enterprise or themselves exert some influence over it. Apart from customers and employees, these include business partners, the media, trade unions, public authorities and non-governmental organisations, among others.

Migros has concluded some longer-term cooperation agreements with NGOs, on matters such as the responsible sourcing of products and environmental protection, and in the social partnership. A major highlight for 2009 was the strategic partnership entered into between Migros and the WWF.

Migros is committed to communicating its environmental and social policies openly and transparently. Stakeholders are treated with respect and openness. Migros is interested in other people's views and tries as far as possible to accommodate legitimate interests. At the same time, Migros aims to generate understanding for its own positions and its own concerns.

It is the task of Migros Issue Management to discuss current social issues with NGOs on an ongoing basis. It is advised by the Issue and Stakeholder Forum, a body which met twice last year for an exchange of ideas among its Migros and non-Migros members.

Working with outside suppliers means treading a fine line between cooperation and competition. On the one hand, Migros aims for a close partnership-based cooperation with producers; for example, in order to align products yet more closely with consumers’ needs. On the other hand, the market economy is based on competition – and it is the vital interest of a retailer to be able to offer inexpensive products and services. On the procurement side, then, the focus is on economic criteria.

Even so, Migros endeavours to treat its business partners fairly at all times. One example of the way Migros values its suppliers is its decision last year to take a stake in a dairy industry body, Branchenorganisation Milch (BOM), which aims to improve the lot of Swiss dairy farmers.