At Migros, dialogue with stakeholders is an important element in defining and implementing the company's objectives. It reflects Migros' commitment to corporate responsibility, an open corporate culture and a preventive approach to societal risks.
Alongside institutional forms of communication, such as customer magazines, partnerships and association memberships and initiatives, Migros engages in social dialogue with all relevant stakeholders that are interested in open and fair communication. An overview of the company's main memberships and partnerships can be found on the Migros website (G4-24, G4-25, G4-26).
In 2016, Migros' website achieved the best result out of 29 non-listed companies in a ranking by the Swiss business magazine Bilanz.
Customers are Migros' largest group of stakeholders. Every year, it count about 441 million customer contacts at the checkout in Cooperative Retailing.
Migros engages in open dialogue with customers to identify their expectations at an early stage. With its weekly newspapers (Migros-Magazin, Migros Magazine, Azione) and magazines (Saisonküche, Vivai) and the associated websites, Migros reaches a large readership. Readers can now contact Migros-Magazin's editorial team and receive exclusive information via WhatsApp.
The Migros women's organisation Forum elle, which has about 10'000 members throughout Switzerland, offers a varied programme of events covering social and cultural topics. Launched by Gottlieb Duttweiler in 1957 as the "Schweizerischer Bund der Migros-Genossenschafterinnen", the women's organisation serves as a platform for communication between socially responsible Migros customers.
Another effective channel for direct customer communication is M-Infoline, through which customers can share their suggestions or opinions about products. M-Infoline recorded about 165'900 contacts in 2016. Customers provided some very positive feedback on the new charge for plastic bags and the Veggie Bags for fruit and vegetables. There was some negative feedback on the use of palm oil in Migros products. Tomatoes and melons from the occupied territories of the western Sahara were also an issue. In a survey conducted by Goethe University Frankfurt in 2016, more than 82% of Migros' customers said they had experienced very good customer service.
"I'm impressed by how quickly you reply and how well you manage your Facebook page!"
Migros also communicates with its customers via various social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter. Since 2016, it has been in constant dialogue with them via Snapchat as well. Packaging, palm oil and bee conservation were some of the most popular topics of discussion in the reporting year.
On the community platform Migipedia, Migros develops new products together with its customers. Thanks to M-Industry, the community can take part in the entire product development process. Among other products, the users developed the frozen dish California Chili Fries and a mustard cream sauce in 2016.
M-Industry also maintains regular dialogue with its business customers. In 2016, it published its own sustainability report for the first time, in which it demonstrates its broad commitment to the achievement of sustainability targets.
"Opening up in crisis situations requires trust. With its mental health project, Migros showed that actions speak louder than words."
The Migros Group employs a total of 102'851 people in Switzerland and abroad. In Switzerland, 64.8% of the 87'414 employees benefit from progressive and exemplary working conditions, governed in the three collective labour agreements "Migros NCLA ", "GAV in globo" and "GAV Travel".
In the reporting year, Migros trained 3'775 trainees in more than fifty different professions in forty retail, industrial, logistics and service companies.
Migros operates an exemplary systematic occupational health management system (OHM). Seventeen companies of the Migros Group already carry the Friendly Work Space quality seal. With its OHM activities, the companies ensure optimum and healthy working conditions for employees. In 2016, Migros Cooperative Lucerne, for example, conducted a prevention campaign to raise awareness of mental health among all employees.
"I would like Migros to continue to put its customers first and take their concerns seriously."
By converting Migros into a cooperative in 1941, Gottlieb Duttweiler demonstrated his pioneering spirit. As a cooperative, Migros is not obliged to serve the interests of investors. Instead, it is dedicated to socially sustainable growth for the benefit of all.
At the end of 2016, Migros had more than 2 million cooperative members in its ten regional Cooperatives. These members are equal co-owners of their regional cooperative. In the annual ballots, the members decide on issues such as the approval of the annual financial statements, the distribution of the net profit and the formal approval of the executive bodies. The statutory bodies are elected every four years; in the reporting year, they were re-elected for the term 2016 – 2020. The members are kept regularly informed of the latest events in their regions via Migros' own media and the Cooperative Councils.
"Training courses teach us all about cocoa cultivation, which allows us to grow better crops. What's more, the Cooperative also initiates social projects."
Alongside maintenance of strict quality and safety standards, it is important to Migros to ensure that its products are made under socially responsible, safe working conditions and originate from environmentally sustainable sources. It meets these requirements by working closely with suppliers and manufacturers in Switzerland and abroad.
For example, Migros participated in various committees and working groups to strengthen the impact of the BSCI social standard. In addition, various Migros Group companies made a commitment to socially and environmentally responsible cultivation of raw materials in southern countries. Thanks to the UTZ premium paid by Chocolat Frey annually to its cocoa farmers, a healthcare centre in Ivory Coast was completed in 2016 and will provide close to 3'000 people with access to basic medical care.
Migros actively engages in political dialogue on issues relating to the economy, agriculture, consumption, the environment and food. The FMC's Directorate of Economic Policy (WiPo) represents the interests of the Migros Group and its customers towards political authorities, parties and organisations.
In 2016, Migros played a mediating role in the detailed definition of the Swissness regulation. In discussions with industry representatives and the Board of Directors, it ensured that the regulation serves the interests of consumers as much as possible. At the same time, Migros called for practical regulations that the economy can implement at reasonable cost. The Swissness regulation came into force on 1 January 2017.
As part of the Swiss retail stakeholder group (IG DHS), Migros is committed to the concerns of consumers; for example, its campaign against a standard VAT rate so that a lower rate continues to apply to food.
In 2016, the Directorate of Economic Policy also took measures to combat shopping tourism by calling for longer shop opening hours. However, the Federal Parliament rejected the proposal to harmonise opening hours on work days.
For several years, Migros has been campaigning against the absorption of consumer purchasing power by international companies. Therefore, it supports the mission of the people's initiative "Für faire Importpreise". As the initiative was launched by SMEs and consumers, Migros is not a member of the committee.
In the reporting year, Migros also contributed funds and expertise towards a study conducted by the stakeholder group Agrarstandort Schweiz (IGAS) on the potential effects of opening up the Swiss agricultural market. The study showed that opening up the market would present a challenge, but it would not jeopardise the existence of the agriculture and food sectors. The results are also valuable in relation to several bilateral free trade agreements that Switzerland aims to conclude in the future.
Migros maintains regular open dialogue with numerous non-governmental organisations (NGOs), with the aim of identifying early on which topics the organisations address and how to incorporate interesting ideas.
Migros also collaborates with NGOs on specific projects and issues. For example, it makes a commitment to implementing Swiss animal welfare standards abroad in conjunction with Swiss Animal Protection (SAP). SAP supports the businesses with its expertise and it audits the foreign companies on site.
"Thanks to the partnership with Migros, WWF can make children and young people more aware of environmental issues."
As part of the strategic partnership with WWF Switzerland, Migros made a commitment to three areas in particular in the reporting year: Since 2016, all fish and seafood sold by Migros has originated from sustainable sources. Progress has also been made in the banana range. Since autumn 2016, bananas from a model project with WWF have carried a green sticker and their origin can be traced by means of the printed code. By the end of 2017, all bananas in the Migros range will originate from environmentally and socially sustainable cultivation.
The joint commitment to child and youth education was also stepped up. By the end of 2019, Migros and WWF want to motivate 250'000 young people to behave in an environmentally friendly manner.
In the reporting year, intensive discussions were also held with Solidar Suisse on the subject of human rights. The NGO had highlighted some issues during the production of pans in China.
As Switzerland's largest retailer, Migros is a popular partner for the media. In 2016, some 7'000 enquiries from media professionals were received by the media office of the Federation of Migros Cooperatives (FMC).
It received questions on issues such as residues in food, product safety, Subito (self-scanning and self-checkout), vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free products, and animal welfare. In addition, Migros was asked for information and opinions on hot topics such as shopping tourism and agricultural issues such as the price of milk.
Migros also sought to engage in dialogue itself with media professionals. At the financial press conference on 13 April 2016, it announced its results for the year and provided information about the marketing campaign "Von uns. Von hier." (From us. From here.). M-Industry communicated its results at an annual press breakfast.
"Modern research confirms that medicinal plants are effective. Migros supports this research and helps to reduce the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry."
Migros continuously refines its products and production processes. It also promotes scientific research. To this end, the specialists in the individual departments maintain close dialogue with universities and other research institutions, with the aim of improving raw materials, food and processing methods.
During the reporting year, various projects were conducted with research partners, such as the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and Agroscope. These included a project to investigate the viability of medicinal plants as an alternative to antibiotics in the treatment of sick organically raised piglets and calves.