The Bell Food Group stands for responsible management and business operations. We take a structured approach toward the topic of sustainability by assessing the impact of our activity on the environment and how we can control it to ensure our business operations are and remain sustainable.
Our Code of Conduct describes how the Bell Food Group operates sustainably and defines the binding rules that govern how we deal with one another and all our partners. This corporate responsibility is described in detail in our annual report.
Sustainability management and organisation
The Bell Food Group’s sustainability strategy provides the basis for our approach to sustainability. After coming into force in 2013, it was revised in 2016 and has applied to every business area of the Bell Food Group since 2017. Our sustainability strategy covers all the relevant fields of action and topics as well as the organisational framework conditions for implementation and control.
Central management, local implementation
The Board of Directors is our supreme decision-making body. As with every strategy, the sustainability strategy was passed by the Board of Directors. The Group and division management teams are responsible for its implementation.
Administrative Department for Quality Management and Sustainability
The Administrative Department for Quality Management and Sustainability adopts a functional and advisory role and is responsible for broad topics such as organisational structure, development and implementation of KPI monitoring and coordination with the Sustainability Department at Coop, with whom we maintain close contact as part of the Coop Group.
The department also supervises the integration of new companies into the existing sustainability organisation. Integration takes place step by step and to an appropriate extent. The current focus of integration is on Hügli.
Each business area and division has a designated sustainability representative who is responsible for achieving goals and implementing measures and acts as a central point of contact for sustainability issues within the particular area of the organisation. Responsibilities are divided up into columns and subordinate objectives within each area.
These goals are defined specifically for each company as our business areas, divisions and production plants are all governed by different circumstances. However, all companies pursue the same strategic objectives – even though they may differ in character.
Our sustainability representatives routinely convene to engage in exchange. They meet at least twice a year to discuss overarching topics such as monitoring objectives, exchanging information on current issues and assessing strategic concerns.
Sustainability monitoring has a centralised structure and is subject to continuous development, with adjustments and improvements made as and when necessary. We continuously monitor our progress and report on goal achievement to the Board of Directors every year. The report covers both the KPIs and a qualitative description of the status of goal achievement. Our performance and progress are critically reviewed.
An internal environmental management system monitors our activities across all areas. This system incorporates all the businesses within the Bell Food Group, with new acquisitions being integrated step by step.
The focus is primarily on energy, water, waste products and CO2 alongside general KPIs such as the proportion of label products in the range. Monitoring helps us to establish the areas in which we need to introduce additional measures to achieve our defined objectives.
Some of our plants are certified by external agencies on the basis of our internal environmental management system.
All Bell Germany’s plants are certified in accordance with ISO standard 50001ff.
Delivery chain and value-added chain
As a food producer, the Bell Food Group plays a major role in the value-added chain between agriculture and consumer. We endeavour to keep the chain short wherever possible and expedient and therefore maintain direct contact and long-term relationships with our partners. Our shared goal is to provide our customers with high-quality food products.
The Bell Food Group is a component at the centre of the «food» supply chain. Its operating plants focus mainly on processing and production.
The Bell Food Group operates its own slaughterhouses in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. In Switzerland these deal with poultry, pigs and cattle, while in Austria they handle poultry and, in Germany, turkeys. All other meat processing operations within the Bell Food Group procure their meat or meat products from processing enterprises.
Integrated poultry production
The Bell Food Group operates its own poultry production in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. We cooperate closely with our producers and suppliers and support them in various areas such as animal husbandry, welfare and health, animal shed construction and general breeding management.
Integration is at its most advanced in Switzerland: it ranges from contract partners for breeding parent animals and the production of breeding eggs to contractual cooperation with hatcheries, breeding farms and live animal transporters. All of these companies are independent and have contracts with Bell Switzerland Ltd.
Chicks from our own hatchery in Austria are delivered to producers. Hubers Landhendl supervises the process from hatchery to farm producers to slaughtering and processing. These producers are independent and have contracts with Hubers Landhendl.
In Germany, the process from farm producer to slaughtering and processing is supervised by Süddeutsche Truthahn AG. These producers are independent and have contracts with Süddeutsche Truthahn AG.
Integrated agricultural production
The Bell Food Group cultivates potatoes, peas, beans, carrots, spinach and red cabbage in Switzerland and Liechtenstein for its convenience food products. We operate proprietary cultivation sites in Schaan (Liechtenstein).
However, more than 90 per cent of salads, vegetables and fruit are produced by contracted farms. Our cultivation partners maintain fields in various European countries in which the Bell Food Group is active.
We advise and supervise our producers, carry out seeding operations with special machinery, determine the best harvesting time for each field and organise and implement transportation to our processing plant.
Long-term success is dependent on securing the approval of all societal groups, not only with regard to internal or direct stakeholders such as employees or suppliers and partners, but also to indirect stakeholders such as society at large. We are aware of the different needs, requirements and expectations of these various groups and address them through our Stakeholder Map.
Board of Directors
B2B customers (retail, wholesale, system catering, industry)
Suppliers and dealers (raw materials, livestock)
Producers and farmers
Employees and trainees, Employee representatives, works council
Associations and industry organisations
Residents, neighbours, local communities
We carried out a detailed stakeholder analysis while reviewing our sustainability strategy in 2016. We identified stakeholders with a significant relationship with the Bell Food Group. They are, in particular, stakeholders with a considerable interest in our company or who have a serious influence on our group of companies. Their expectations are of particular importance to the Bell Food Group and were therefore incorporated as decisive factors in the sustainability strategy.
Conflicting goals are inevitable between the different interests of our stakeholder groups. We are not always able to resolve these conflicts – but we can clarify them. We therefore encourage a lively exchange with our stakeholder groups to search for solutions together and strengthen mutual understanding. This not only promotes the addressing of relevant topics and the building up of knowledge, it also helps us to improve on a daily basis.
That is why we meet with our stakeholders periodically to find out about their needs and expectations and other general basic conditions. These exchanges take a different format depending on the stakeholder group.
We routinely carry out employee surveys, for instance. Of course, our employees can speak directly with their superiors at any time.
We maintain close personal contact with selected stakeholders such as contracted producers within integrated poultry production.
We also receive direct personal or written feedback from consumers via our customer hotline. This feedback is of great value to us as it provides us with an insight into what consumers think and expect. We take this feedback very seriously and deal with it promptly. We also receive similar feedback from our direct customers and their respective consumers.
In addition, we stay abreast of media reports and public opinion and engage in regular exchange with various committees.
Bell Food Group memberships are coordinated on a local basis as associations, interest groups and initiatives differ from country to country and their relevance is best judged by the person responsible on site. Our enterprises and operating companies can therefore decide for themselves which organisations and partnerships they wish to enter – be it regional associations (e.g. an association of farmers), regional or national authorities, trade unions or industry associations.
The Bell Food Group sets great store on cooperating with partners. It is important not only as regards exchanging information and ideas, but also as valuable potential for the further development of our company. That is why we focus on reliable, long-term partnerships.
The following list provides an overview of our activities. The list only illustrates a few of our major initiatives and is not exhaustive.
The Organisation of Poultry Producers SEG (MOSEG) is a national association for the protection and representation of the interests of Swiss poultry producers who deliver their poultry to Bell Switzerland Ltd. on a contractual basis. The organisation acts as a mediator between Bell Switzerland Ltd. and the poultry fatteners. MOSEG is organised as an association and is headquartered in Buttisholz (LU).
The vast majority of Swiss organic producers and Bell Food Group plants produce their goods in accordance with Bio Suisse guidelines and are certified accordingly. We maintain an exchange on various topics in addition to undergoing annual audits.
As a member of the WWF Seafood Group, Bell has undertaken not to market any endangered species, to gradually delist seafood from non-sustainable origins and to continuously expand its proportion of recommended labels.
Bell Seafood and the WWF are jointly involved in a yellow fin tuna project in the Philippines. The objective of the project is to maintain stocks, establish environmentally compatible fishing practices and to prepare fishing activities for MSC certification.
As a leading global trade association, amfori promotes open and sustainable trade activities and offers companies the opportunity to adopt or refer to a code of conduct and a systematic monitoring system.
We want to ensure our compliance with social standards along the entire value-added chain as part of our sustainability objectives. For instance, we want to ensure that basic social requirements are fulfilled with regard to products procured from suppliers in countries at risk.
Bell Switzerland Ltd. is a member of the amfori Network Switzerland. Our membership assures the exchange of current information and promotes further development.
The Bell Food Group cooperates with various research institutes in the different countries in which it is active. This cooperation takes many forms ranging from food hygiene and safety issues to animal pen, climate, ventilation, machine, building and work technology to employee satisfaction and many other matters. We benefit from this exchange not only through new insights gained, it also helps us advance our business and optimise our operations. The following are a sample of our partnerships:
- Fraunhofer Institute (Germany)
- Section of Veterinary Bacteriology at the Vetsuisse Faculty of Zurich University (Switzerland)
- University of Applied Sciences Hamburg (Germany)
- University of Sigmaringen (Germany)
- School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL) at Bern University of Applied Sciences (Switzerland)
Zurich University of Applied Sciences (Switzerland)
Eisberg is a member of the Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSDH) in Hungary.
The BCSDH is the national partner organisation of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), an economic organisation founded in 1992 and based in Switzerland that cooperates with more than 200 companies in over 70 countries and focuses exclusively on commerce and sustainable development.
The mission of BCSD Hungary is to promote sustainable development among its members and other agents involved in Hungary’s economy. Its focus is on the development of new and innovative approaches to improving Hungary’s competitive ability that will ultimately contribute towards innovative economic development, quality of life and the preservation of the environment and natural resources.
Association and interest group memberships
The Bell Food Group clearly demonstrates its commitment to further development through its membership of associations and interest groups. Individual business areas, corporate divisions and production plants of the Bell Food Group are members of these organisations. Information gained from these organisations, however, routinely flows into the group as a whole through the exchange maintained between sustainability representatives.
The following list provides an overview of our activities. The list represents a selection of associations and interest groups and is not exhaustive.
Selection of associations and interest groups
Arbeitsgruppe Geflügel Deutscher Tierschutzbund
BVE Bundesvereinigung der deutschen Ernährungsindustrie e.V.
Consortium Salaisons Auvergne (CSA)
Energie-Agentur der Wirtschaft (enaw)
Fachausschuss und Fachbeirat Initiative Tierwohl
Fachausschuss und Fachbeirat QS-Geflügel
IVLV Industrievereinigung für Lebensmitteltechnologie und Verpackung, Freising
Mitgliedschaften der Coop-Gruppe Genossenschaft (Mutterhaus und Mehrheitsaktionärin der Bell Food Group)
ÖBU Verband für nachhaltiges Wirtschaften
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil RSPO
SCFA Swiss Convenience Food Association
Schweizer Fleisch-Fachverband SFF
SGLH Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Lebensmittelhygiene
Soja Netzwerk Schweiz
svlq Schweizerische Vereinigung für Lebensmittel-Qualität
Verein Donau Soja
Zentralverband deutsche Geflügelwirtschaft (ZGD)