Migros generates around 45% of its turnover from own-brand products. As one of the biggest food producers in Switzerland, it is especially important to Migros to know that all raw materials originate from sustainable production. Migros also uses its influence as Switzerland's largest retailer to ensure that suppliers take a more responsible approach to the procurement and production of raw materials. All Migros companies may only procure raw materials and products which meet the basic ecological and social requirements that apply throughout the Group.
Cooperative Retailing has set itself specific targets: By the end of 2020, it will only sell fish and seafood that either conforms to a sustainable label or which has been categorised as "recommended" or "acceptable" by WWF.
In 2014, Migros became the first Swiss retailer to only sell fish from sustainable sources at its fresh fish counters.
Migros is on course to achieve this target: In 2014, it became the first Swiss retailer to only sell fish that has been categorised as recommended or acceptable by WWF at its fresh fish counters. By the end of 2014 97% of the overall range originates from sustainable sources. In addition, the range of certified products is also being expanded continuously. For example, Migros is the world's first retailer to introduce ASC-certified trout fillets. Since 2013, the entire range of own-brand tinned tuna has consisted of pink tuna caught by traditional pole and line, which causes almost no bycatch. Furthermore, a large proportion of the tuna range is MSC-certified.
The other Migros retailers and industrial companies that use fish as a raw material have also made a pledge to remove all fish species from their range that have been categorised as “hands off” by WWF. They had already replaced more than 98% by the end of 2014.
Migros' broad commitment to sustainable fishing also extends to its range of pet food, with 12 of its dog and cat food products carrying the MSC label. 98% of these species were discontinued or replaced by alternatives.
But animal welfare is also gaining in importance in the area of non-food. In near- and non-food, Migros recently introduced a procurement policy which aims to prohibit angora wool as well as leather acquired from endangered species, for example.
Basic animal welfare requirements apply throughout the Migros Group and are implemented by all Migros companies. Among other things, they relate to importing rabbits in accordance with the Swiss animal welfare standards as well as not selling eggs from caged hens or products containing live-plucked down.
Migros is aiming to introduce Switzerland's strict animal protection standards for all products from abroad by the end of 2020.
In Cooperative Retailing, Migros predominantly sells local meat, dairy and egg products. These comply with the Swiss animal welfare regulations, which are very strict in international comparison. Migros goes even further by promoting animal welfare with additional requirements as part of label and brand programmes. For example, the label programmes TerraSuisse and Migros Bio support the use of animal-friendly stable systems and regular outdoor roaming. Under the TerraSuisse label, IP-Suisse farmers produce pork, veal, beef and lamb as well as pasture milk. Other programmes that ensure a high standard of animal welfare include Bio Weide-Beef and Weide-Beef, as well as the Optigal brand for poultry and the Alplamm brand for lamb.
For some livestock, such as rabbit, horse and turkey, Migros has to rely on imports due to a lack of domestic supply. As the corresponding animal husbandry standards are not usually as high as in Switzerland, Cooperative Retailing has stepped up its efforts to ensure animal-friendly husbandry abroad. The aim is to introduce the Swiss animal protection standards for all products from abroad by the end of 2020. Together with external partners such as Swiss Animal Protection (SAP), Migros implements the Swiss animal welfare requirements locally at its meat, egg and milk suppliers.
In 2014, Migros took a step closer to achieving its ambitious objective: In collaboration with its Hungarian producer, Migros adapted its requirements for turkey raising to the requirements of the Swiss animal welfare regulations. Migros also terminated its supplier contract with its horse meat supplier in Canada, after independent inspections revealed that Migros' requirements regarding the origin and care of the animals were not being met. Until a new, reliable partner is found, Migros will not offer any foreign horse meat in its range.
Migros is also in the process of adapting its requirements for chicken imports to the Swiss animal welfare standards. The aim is to switch the entire volume of imports (6'000 tonnes) to Swiss animal welfare standards over the coming years.
For its commitment to animal welfare abroad, Migros won the Swiss Ethics Award in 2014.
Migros' target of doubling its sales of textiles made from sustainably produced cotton by 2015 could already be reached in 2014.
By means of independent inspections, the label helps protect the environment – from cultivation through to finished product – and ensures traceability along the entire value-added chain.
Migros set itself the target of doubling its sales of textiles made from organic cotton between 2011 and 2015. By significantly expanding its range in 2014, it was able to achieve this goal early. Whereas organic cotton only made up 7% of clothing sales in 2011, the figure has since risen to 16%.
In addition to baby and children's clothes, the Migros-Bio-Cotton range includes a large selection of clothing for adults, as well as home textiles. All textiles made from organic cotton also carry Migros' own Eco label. The label is based on a holistic approach to product and production ecology, which must be environmentally friendly, socially acceptable and traceable.
At the end of 2014, M-Industry procured 93% of its total requirement in the food area as physically sustainable palm oil from RSPO-certified plantations.
Cooperative Retailing has made it its aim to only use palm oil and palm seed oil from sustainable sources in its food products by the end of 2015. Third-party suppliers that deliver palm oil to Migros in processed products are also required to switch to physically sustainable palm oil by the end of 2015.
M-Industry uses around 6400 tonnes of palm oil and palm seed oil each year in its industrial food processing. At the end of 2014, M-Industry procured 93% of its total requirement in the food area as physically sustainable palm oil (supply chain type "segregated") from RSPO-certified plantations. Various products, such as margarine, were switched and furnished with the RSPO logo (a palm tree). For products such as ice cream and chips/fries, a palm oil substitute (coconut oil or sunflower oil) is predominantly used. M-Industry covered the remaining requirement with mixed products in 2014.
As a member of the Roundtable on Responsible Soy Association (RTRS) and a founding member of the Soy Network Switzerland, Migros makes a national and international commitment to the sustainable production of soy. The network set itself the target of increasing the proportion of responsibly produced soy used in animal feed in particular to 90% in Switzerland by the end of 2014. At 82%, this target was narrowly missed, but is expected to be reached by the middle of 2015.
For products under the TerraSuisse label, only Network status soy may be used in animal feed from the middle of this year. This status is given to all soy purchasers that procure at least 90% of their soy from sustainable production (e.g. soy carrying the Pro Terra or Bio Suisse labels).
Migros also supports research into animal feed: It checks alternative protein sources as part of research projects conducted together with the Swiss Research Institute of Organic Culture.
Animal welfare standards for near- and non-food products
Migros is also committed to animal welfare for its near- and non-food products. For instance, together with specialists from Swiss Animal Protection (SAP), it has developed a procurement policy for near/non-food and specialist markets. Among other things, the policy prohibits the use of angora hair, real fur, and leather acquired from endangered or illegally poached animals.
Swiss meat in restaurants and takeaways
All Migros restaurants and takeaways now only offer Swiss beef, veal, pork and chicken. Migros is the first restaurant and takeaway operator to switch all chicken products, such as nuggets, strips and fillets, to chicken of Swiss origin.
Migros rolled out the Bio Weide-Beef and Weide-Beef programmes in 2010. Weide-Beef cattle are kept on pasture during the vegetation period and predominantly fed with pasture grass and roughage. In addition, all farmers that produce under the label must adhere to a standardised set of guidelines on biodiversity and resource preservation. Transport and conditions in the slaughterhouses are monitored by Swiss Animal Protection.
Sustainable coffee, cocoa and tea
Migros customers who buy coffee, cocoa or tea should be able to rest assured that it has been produced under environmentally friendly and socially acceptable conditions. That is why Migros works together with the label organisations UTZ Certified and Fairtrade Max Havelaar. In 2010, it became the first retailer in Switzerland to switch its entire basic coffee range to UTZ Certified. This was followed at the end of 2013 by all Frey chocolate and the entire range of own-brand black, rooibos and green tea.
Organic rice from India
In a pioneering project, the M-Industry company La Riseria is having organic basmati rice cultivated in northern India. The local small-scale farmers benefit from special offtake agreements, which improves their basic financial situation.