Melitta Group Annual Report 2022

The sustainable transformation

What is the Melitta Group’s vision with regard to sustainability?

Katharina Roehrig: We firmly believe in the need for a regenerative economy, as this is the only way to ensure a future worth living for us all. We are therefore currently in the midst of a comprehensive transformation process, which we have entitled “Transform to Flourish”. It comprises three dimensions of thinking and acting: the regenerative value creation of our products, a work culture based on appreciation and respect, and a social business approach aimed at community-oriented wealth creation. In our primary areas of action – coffee, plastics, pulp, and electrical appliances – we pursue future concepts designed to set standards in their respective industries.

Why do Regenerative Value Creation, Work Culture, and Social Business play such an important role for the Melitta Group?

Stefan Dierks: We regard these three dimensions as the cornerstones of a sustainable, regenerative economy that not only preserves existing systems, but also contributes to their recovery. Our goal is the transformation from a consumer society to a meaningful society, in which a company’s value creation is not only measured by growth and profit maximization, but also by its social and ecological objectives and achievements. This requires the consistent implementation of the circular economy principle, the exclusive use of renewable energies, and a regenerative approach to agriculture. And all embedded in a culture of cooperation built on appreciation and respect, as well as a commitment to good environmental and living conditions – even beyond our core business. This also means that we want to engage with the communities around our operations and thus contribute to a future worth living.

How can this transformation be achieved?

Katharina Roehrig: We have been working on this transformation for around ten years now. In 2015, we initiated a cultural change process aimed at promoting openness for frequent change, strengthening our feedback culture, and enhancing our leadership methods and principles. It quickly became apparent that the best way to convince people was by engaging in discussion, setting an example of the desired behavior at management level, and implementing lighthouse projects. Moreover, we need to keep putting sustainability on the agenda – despite the occasional setbacks – while embedding the sustainable transformation not only in our minds, but also in our hearts and souls.

Stefan Dierks: A sustainable transformation can only succeed if it is conceived and implemented collaboratively and holistically, as it involves systemic challenges that require comprehensive and far-reaching change. This requires thorough – and sometimes ruthless – analysis in order to understand which changes need to be made in which topic areas. Based on these findings, we then constantly refine our strategies and the measures we derive from them.

What role do managers and employees play in this process?

Katharina Roehrig: A decisive one! After all, effectively embedding the transformation in all areas of the company is such a complex task that it can only be implemented as a joint effort. It is therefore essential to get people on board, and to motivate them to drive the transformation processes with a good deal of personal initiative. This not only speeds up the implementation process, but also generates a greater diversity of ideas.

Stefan Dierks: At the same time, we need a new openness for external viewpoints and insights, initiatives and movements – as well as for other players in our industries. We have therefore not only significantly expanded our cooperation with sustainability experts, futurologists, and universities in recent years, but also stepped up and benefited from our involvement in associations and working groups. This too has been a learning process which has greatly enriched us. We will therefore continue to expand our internal and external collaboration over the coming years.

How will the Melitta Group develop over the next ten years?

Katharina Roehrig: We have formulated very clear future concepts for our primary areas of action, all of which we want to achieve by 2030 at the latest. Our aim is to play a pioneering market role in these value creation areas and thus increase our economic, ecological, and social impact. At the same time, we want to align our business activities even more closely with the three dimensions mentioned above – Regenerative Value Creation, Work Culture, and Social Business. The strategic priorities for the next ten years are currently being elaborated for the Group and – based on these – for the operating divisions. Transformation will remain a key topic throughout, as it is a continuous, never-ending process.

Katharina Roehrig is Managing Director of Corporate Communication and Sustainability

Stefan Dierks is Director Sustainability Strategy of Corporate Communication and Sustainability