Sustainability Success Series: An Interview with Neumann Gruppe’s Head of Corporate Responsibility

Learn how Neumann Gruppe is leveraging impact management software

In this installment in our Sustainability Success Series, we’re sitting down with Sonja König, Head of Corporate Responsibility at The Neumann Kaffee Gruppe, the world’s leading raw coffee service provider, to learn more about how the company is leveraging impact management software for its corporate responsibility initiatives.

About Neumann Gruppe

As an owner-managed company in the third generation with headquarters in HH, the topic of Corporate Responsibility (CR) has grown organically at Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG): from local project work to professional corporate responsibility management at group level. 

The challenge of a decentralized business model 

For decades, the NKG has operated with a largely decentralized business model. As a result, the NKG has a wealth of local sustainability initiatives that have grown over time. From a corporate responsibility perspective, this is both a challenge and an opportunity:

“Our decentralized business approach has helped us to design and implement numerous sustainability activities at different levels of the coffee value chain. As a result, we now combine a great deal of sustainable know-how in our Group. This had to be systematically recorded and further developed before we went outside,” explains König. 

Successfully steering and promoting Corporate Responsibility approaches 

König is concerned with the strategic orientation of the group of companies in this respect. In view of the decentralized structure, corporate responsibility management is looking for ways to centralize approaches where it makes sense. In order to promote sustainability as a company’s core competence, NKG nowadays bundles the commitment of its subsidiaries in a central sustainability strategy. The holding company acts as a source of ideas for the operating companies and combines the various sustainability approaches in a strategic framework. NKG subsidiaries derive their country-specific objectives from the Group strategy and enrich the Group with their local expertise and network. 

Impact measurement as the supreme discipline when it comes to proof of success 

In particular, impact data itself is difficult to record. However, it is an important criterion for strategic business development. As part of its corporate responsibility, NKG concentrates today on 4 strategic fields of action and 10 group goals. Systematic data collection is the key to continuous progress at Group level. The NKG primarily uses reliable data at the output and outcome levels to present progress towards its sustainability goals. The calculations were carried out retroactively until 2011 to determine the status quo in the four sustainability-relevant fields of action of the Group. Initially, the focus was on validating the group goals within the framework of a stakeholder dialogue. From 2017, measurable targets were defined for each country.  

Since it is extremely difficult to establish the connection between outcome and impact measurements, the NKG is practically oriented towards best practices:

“In order to establish NKG as the first point of contact for sustainability in the raw coffee industry, we must demonstrate our contribution to achieving international and coffee-specific goals. With this in mind, we combine impact management with SDGs. We have already transferred parts of the UN goals to the business strategy, and we have identified our areas of activity,” explains König, referring to the first Corporate Responsibility Report which will soon be published. 

New software solution for Corporate Responsibility management: do yourself a favor 

On the way to professional impact management, NKG also relies on a software solution that supports data acquisition, validation and consolidation:

“You should definitely do yourself the favor of impact management software. We are pleased to have found a competent partner in Cority,” emphasizes König. NKG is convinced of the support provided by the software, both in the holding company and locally.
“Cority is a quantum leap from our original spreadsheets. The biggest advantage is that everyone works with the same database.” 

The way is the destination – even for impact management 

Even though long-term impact measurement in the coffee industry is still in its infancy, NKG’s message is clear: Sustainability is part of their business model. And even if the NKG is not subject to any reporting obligation, it sees a sustainability communication based on measurability as an opportunity even in B2B: “NKG’s strategic orientation for the coming years will focus on the value business. The proactive communication of our numerous values that are already created will make a considerable contribution to this,” Sonja König. And so, the Neumann Kaffee Gruppe continues to lead the way in this field as well. 

How Cority Helps

Cority’s Sustainability Cloud offers a unified software platform that combines decentralized sustainability management with dependable data collection and automated evaluations for use in reports that can be easily generated. Best of all, it puts an end to working with complex, error-prone Excel sheets.

Whether you are monitoring carbon footprint, utility usage and employee travel for GHG reporting or managing more robust environmental programs like air emissions, hazardous waste, and chemicals management, having this data in a single place enables you to enter once and then generate accurate reports for a variety of purposes including voluntary ESG reporting and mandatory government reporting.

Having a single system to pull the data and run the necessary calculations can help to get accurate, consistent outputs. Interested in learning more about how Cority can help you meet your objectives and improve the performance of your sustainability program? Connect with a sustainability expert here.

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