In our Sustainability Report in accordance with GRI Standards (Global Reporting Initiative), we explain our understanding of sustainable corporate management and inform about our activities and goals. In this respect, the main focus of our sustainability agenda is on controlled cultivation in the regions of origin, together with full raw materials traceability.
Spices and seasonings are the origin of the Fuchs Group. Our success depends to a large extent on intact economic, ecological and social systems in the spice-growing regions. Therefore we feel we have a special obligation to handle resources responsibly and sustainably. Based on our shareholder structure, we are interested in long-term future-oriented corporate development that creates value. Our thinking and actions have been multigenerational for many decades. This corporate philosophy is expressed in our values and in our entrepreneurial self-image. We have oriented our corporate goals towards this since our company was founded more than 65 years ago.
We set the highest quality standards for our products, and this already starts at the origin of the spices: we want to know who produced the raw materials and in which fields, and how they were harvested, packed and transported. That’s why our quality assurance and monitoring starts where the crops are grown. We buy the majority of our raw materials unground and directly from the producer, where possible. We then process them in our own production facilities and spice mills in Germany. That way, we guarantee the traceability and quality of every batch – from growing, transport and processing to the finished product.
We can fully trace our raw materials right back to their origin. More than 80 per cent of the amount purchased is obtained directly from growers or producers. We maintain a long-term, personal relationship with our business partners.
As a food industry business, an intact environment is centrally important to us. We obtain our raw materials from various regions of the world because the conditions needed for cultivation exist only in those places. Local climate changes can cause cultivation regions to shrink or shift away entirely – with dramatic consequences, especially for our suppliers with small-scale farming structures. Therefore, of central importance to us lies long-standing, partnership-based relations with suppliers, with whom we maintain direct personal contact and for which we employ large numbers of staff on the ground. These employees support local growers, processors and exporters, holding training sessions, especially on the subjects of Quality Assurance and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), and constantly exchange information with our suppliers on topics such as cultivation, harvesting or drying of the spices. That’s how, together with you, we ensure environmentally protected regions are left untouched, and natural resources are handled sustainably
As an internationally operating family enterprise, we firmly believe that the responsible management of resources is our special obligation. We actively influence the quality and flavour of the products across the entire value chain, from the raw goods on to the finished product.
The black pepper is planted by licensed suppliers; the pepper panicles are picked by hand. The harvested pepper is carefully sorted and spread out in the sun to dry. During the drying process, the peppercorns are turned several times. Before leaving the plantation, the pepper undergoes an extensive selection process.
After packing it in sacks, the pepper is transported to regional wholesalers. Upon arriving there and before purchasing, our buyers from Europe conduct on-site quality testing.
The pepper is then transported by lorry to international ports and loaded on container ships. It embarks on its journey across the ocean in climate controlled containers. It then travels from the port in Hamburg to the Fuchs Gewürzwerk spice factory.
Our incoming goods control subjects the raw goods to a thorough inspection for quality, form and colour. The goods are placed in high-rack storage until all extensive quality controls are completed. Only after analyses in our on-premises and additional external laboratories have been performed, do the raw goods undergo further processing.
We ensure the quality of the goods by using state-of-the-art technologies, like steam sterilisation. Applying cold-milling, the pepper is ground in an extensively aroma-preserving process.
The pepper is filled in aroma-tight packaging in fully automatic filling plants. The finished product is individually confectioned for food retailers and shipped.
We invest in modern technologies and in digitising our processes to secure unbroken raw materials traceability. This has allowed us to significantly improve the transparency of our raw materials flows, and their responsiveness and controllability with regard to quality and harvest size. For example, that is how we developed our own app to enable us to record and retrieve, on mobile devices, all the relevant data about a contractual partner or about a batch. In addition, we have developed software that coordinates the data about our suppliers with that from quality assurance laboratories, and allows anomalies or discrepancies to be identified immediately.
Our product range comprises more than 8,000 products that are sourced in more than sixty countries worldwide. Continuous further development of our product portfolio is among the central factors ensuring the sustained commercial success of our business model, and thus of our sustainability strategy as well. In 2016 we decided to use exclusively natural ingredients for our food retail branded spices that are not just flavourings, and to stop using flavour-enhancing additives and palm oil. We have already implemented this Clean Label policy for the majority of our Fuchs and Ostmann brands. We aim to have redesigned all the relevant recipes for the Fuchs and Ostmann brands by the end of 2019.
Our aim is to establish long-term relations shaped by mutual respect and understanding. We give exceptional priority to our employees: we invest in their training and further education, and we challenge and encourage every one of them to develop his or her full potential. Because our success largely depends on the qualification and commitment of our employees. Our aspiration and motivation is to ensure that they are proud to be part of the Fuchs Group. We are working towards making our working hours models more flexible to meet the various different needs of our employees even better. Moreover, in the future we will endeavour to take the individual family situations of our employees into consideration to an even greater extent. For example, this will include working arrangements that allow better childcare and looking after persons in need of care.
More than 3,000 employees in nine countries on four continents worldwide work for us every day to supply our customers and partners with the highest competence and quality at all times.
An undamaged environment has existential importance for us: As a spice producer, we are dependent on raw materials that grow only under certain climatic conditions. Conserving and protecting the environment, and handling resources carefully, are therefore one of our major concerns. This is especially true in view of the long-term orientation of our business model. We think and act multi-generationally, and are more interested in soundly-based safeguarding of our business activities for decades to come than in short-term economic successes. Our entrepreneurial activities create wastes, and also consume energy and water. That is why these subject areas are among the central fields of action of our sustainability strategy.
Various measures adopted from 2015 to 2017 contributed to enable a reduction in water and energy consumption, and a decrease in volumes of wastes.
We want to intensify the dialogue about sustainability - both in our own company group and also in our sector of industry. We have set ourselves ambitious goals for the coming years. We want to make our sustainability activities even more measurable, to move towards targeted actions.
Publication of the sustainability approach in March 2018 was the beginning. We prepared a Sustainability Report complying with the international GRI Standards for the first time in 2018. This represents a further development in the Fuchs Group’s sustainability management. To enable an assessment of the significance of the central fields of action of the sustainability strategy by our customers, employees, business partners and other interest groups, this sustainability report was preceded by a stakeholder survey in which around 320 persons took part.