Sustainability has always been a matter of utmost importance to DEBATIN. Over the last ten years, our general convictions have grown and developed into a detailed sustainability strategy that is now firmly anchored in DEBATIN’s corporate strategy. “We decided to nail our colours to the mast and transition to 100 % sustainable business operations and sustainable products,” explains DEBATIN’s CEO Thomas Rose. “As a pioneer in a niche market, we’re convinced we can pursue this goal rigorously and consistently, and use sustainability intelligently as a sales argument.” A sustainable procurement strategy is part and parcel of this approach.

DEBATIN as a company and all DEBATIN products have been carbon neutral since 2017. As a founding member of the DERIBA Group, DEBATIN works hand in hand with its partner companies to optimise the Group’s own recycling loop, the DERIBA CYCLE®. Various products, including DEBAPOST® Second Life PCR film bags, are available in Blue Angel quality. Following a recycling analysis, products from the DEBASAFE®DEBAPOST® and UNIPACK® ranges were awarded “Made for Recycling” certification, certifying their exceptional recycling potential. DEBATIN is mindful of resources when developing products and solutions, with a focus on using monomaterials or recycled materials and reducing waste and pollution.

In July 2020, DEBATIN completed the first of the three stages required for “Responsible Procurement Organization” certification, bringing us to the “Bronze” level. As members of the BME’s “Sustainable Procurement” task force, we also regularly discuss developments with members of purchasing departments in a wide range of industries, and plan to publish a (voluntary) corporate sustainability report by the end of 2020. Having now embarked on the second stage of the transition process, we’ve already progressed much further than many other companies in the industry. As a result, some – including several global players – have actively approached us to ask for advice on transition strategies. We are sustainability pioneers in the packaging industry, and this gives us a clear leading edge on the market.

DEBATIN’s corporate and sustainability strategy has attracted much interest because it actively involves suppliers and partners, holding them jointly accountable. “Our goal is to be a disseminator and a source of inspiration.”

Working hand in hand with suppliers to achieve sustainable goals

Anton Debatin GmbH’s goal is to encourage suppliers of raw materials and merchandise to proactively engage with climate protection. In the medium to long term, this will result in a carbon-neutral supply chain. By 2030, we expect all suppliers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, not only in production but also in logistics. Specifically, this means that suppliers and partners will need to record their emissions and offset them via carbon credits. DEBATIN will also be requesting suppliers to sign the Supplier Code of Conduct and to participate in the “Yes, we plant!” tree-planting campaign.

Initial successes in the sustainable procurement strategy

The first step involved discussing our new strategy with 26 companies who supply us with raw materials, merchandise, technology, storage and logistics services and electricity. We asked these companies for their active support and so far, the response has been very encouraging. We were able to establish various points of reference and agree on a working definition for sustainable development. Our partners appreciate DEBATIN’s commitment to sustainability and are happy to join forces with us in furthering the cause. 

Initial successes in sustainable procurement:

  • Virtually all our suppliers have now signed our Supplier Code of Conduct.
  • Considerable scope for improvement was identified in material packaging and we have agreed sustainable solutions and specific targets.
  • We discussed, analysed and optimised delivery schedules to reduce transport-related emissions and introduce other improvements.
  • To date, our suppliers have donated more than 480 trees to the “Yes, we plant!” project in Togo.

We plan to conduct more talks in the autumn, because we’re fully committed to creating a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable value chain. And the only way to achieve this goal is to work hand in hand with partners and suppliers who share the same vision and the same goals.

Sustainable procurement: carbon-neutral adhesives

Hans-Walter Trepper, DEBATIN’s Head of Procurement, is delighted to have notched up yet another success. Following intensive talks and negotiations, he succeeded in winning over a company that supplies us with around 900 tonnes of adhesive each year. The company has now transitioned to carbon-neutral production – clearly indicating that DEBATIN suppliers are prepared to work hand in hand with us to tackle the challenges revolving around sustainability. Naturally, the issue of increased costs came up in the course of the talks. “But at the end of the day, our strategy works when our partners realise we’re really serious about sustainability,” Trepper explains. He plans to continue furthering the cause by expanding the existing supplier management strategy to include “Innovation” and “Environment” provisions, and hopes that suppliers will embrace the necessary changes.

Focussing on sustainability – even in the pandemic 

Sustainability and carbon-neutrality are core elements in DEBATIN’s corporate strategy. As such, nothing can deter us from pursuing them – not even the ongoing pandemic. Recently, the price of crude oil (used in the production of virgin film) has dropped, while the price of ethanol (used in the printing process for PCR film and conventional film) has risen. Nonetheless, DEBATIN customers have remained loyal to our company and still rely on our environmentally friendly and sustainable product solutions. Hans-Walter Trepper, Head of Procurement, is convinced that this is due to DEBATIN’s unwavering stance and to the increasing significance of sustainability in society. “How important is sustainability? That’s the key question,” he says. “And so far, the pandemic has not led any of our customers to say they won’t buy our products any more.” 

In fact, far from focussing more on price during this challenging year, companies have actually been highlighting the importance of social considerations such as sustainability and reliable supply chains. This trend affirms our approach: we firmly believe that companies need to take more responsibility for the whole supply chain. Even, and perhaps especially, in times of crisis like the present. 

For us, our sustainable procurement strategy is a continuation of our corporate strategy and gives us a leading edge. Not only does it allow us to set ourselves apart from the competition, but it also helps us to minimise risks along the entire supply chain.

If you’re interested in finding out more about sustainable procurement, you could visit the BME website here. The BME is the German Association for Supply Chain Management, Procurement and Logistics, and offers advice on relevant sustainability topics in general and possible procurement strategies in particular. Alternatively, please feel free to discuss the matter directly with us here at DEBATIN!

DEBATIN’s Supplier Code of Conduct

We firmly believe that we can only achieve our sustainability goals by fostering close-knit partnerships and engaging in joint projects with our partners, suppliers and other service providers, involving them actively in our strategy. To this end, we liaise closely and ask them to sign our DEBATIN Supplier Code of Conduct.

This pledge underscores DEBATIN’s clear commitment to sustainability and involves our customers, partners and suppliers directly in our sustainability strategy. We acknowledge our responsibility and our supply chains are easily verifiable. We believe that using resources mindfully is just as non-negotiable as acting in a socially responsible manner (e. g., ensuring occupational safety and good working conditions). Getting partners to sign our Code of Conduct is just one of DEBATIN’s sustainable procurement targets.

Our sustainable procurement strategy corresponds with our mission and vision and is based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) listed by the UN, the Global Compact, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ILO’s international labour standards and labour standards on social policy and the ISO 26000 Guidance on social responsibility (CSR / ISO 26000). We’ve set ourselves ecological, economic and social sustainability targets in order to discharge our duties to the planet, society and future generations. We focus particularly on achieving the following SDGs:

sustainability strategy

DERIBA greenline: The “Yes, we plant!” tree project

We’ve teamed up with Nature Office GmbH to participate in “Yes, we plant!”. This tree-planting project, co-organised through our DERIBA greenline initiative, focuses on reforesting the Sokodé region in Togo with indigenous trees to improve both local climate conditions and the social and economic situation.

We know from experience that every little helps, which is why we ask everyone – customers, partners, suppliers and employees – to make a donation and join us in supporting this important climate protection project. Every time a supplier donates a Plant-a-tree package (ten trees), DEBATIN will match the donation. In addition, anyone who donates a tree-planting package will receive a certificate.

If you’d like to join us in supporting the “Yes, we plant!” project, then please make a donation through the German website, or get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help!

If you’re interested in knowing more about the DEBATIN sustainability strategy or our sustainable procurement strategy, please contact us. 

We look forward to hearing from you!

Hans-Walter Trepper

Head of Procurement

Phone: + 49 7251 8009 500

Fax: + 49 7251 8009 509

Mobile: + 49 1761 8009 770

hans-walter.trepper@debatin.de