The diversity of nature is vitally important to humans. Therefore, in addition to promoting organic agriculture, we also support more than 20 projects that help preserve biodiversity through the Coop Sustainability Fund.

Challenges in dealing with global biodiversity resources

Biodiversity is a natural resource that comprises the richness of the world's habitats, the animal and plant species found in them, and their genetic diversity. The greater the biodiversity within an ecosystem, the better it can adapt to changes in environmental conditions such as temperature and rainfall fluctuations caused by climate change. Biodiversity is under threat worldwide. We are therefore implementing various measures in our product ranges, throughout our supply chains, and in our primary production operations to conserve resources and minimize our impact as far as possible.

For more information about our position on biodiversity and our commitment to its conservation, see our Biodiversity policy paper.

Promoting biodiversity with our retail range

Naturaplan with the Bio Suisse bud

We work to conserve biodiversity through our organic own-label brand Naturaplan with the Bio Suisse bud. Scientific studies by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) show that organic agriculture promotes diversity. This gentle way of farming without the use of pesticides has a positive effect on wild plants and animals. In an organic field, for example, you will find three to four times more different bee species and seven times as many bees as in a conventional field. We currently have over 2 700 Naturaplan products in our range, and this is increasing every year.

More information about Naturaplan

Cooperation with FiBL

It often takes a great deal of research work throughout the supply chain before a new organic product is available to customers. In 1992, we began promoting the development of organic apple-growing together with FiBL. We have been investing in FiBL’s basic research in the area of organic farming since 1994. We thus continuously promote the advancement of organic agriculture in Switzerland with the aim of developing organic farming and supporting the development of organic products for Coop.

FiBL brochure: 100 arguments for organic agriculture

Pro Specie Rara

We offer forgotten and endangered Pro Specie Rara varieties and Pro Specie Rara seeds in our range, depending on the season and the market situation. This joint commitment helps preserve our traditional Swiss diversity. We have been working with Pro Specie Rara since 1999 in order to track down and promote forgotten, rare and endangered native breeds of farm animal and plant varieties.

Hochstamm Suisse

With our range of products made using Swiss tree fruits, we are preserving and promoting endangered fruit tree orchards, which also form part of our traditional cultural landscape in Switzerland. Fruit tree orchards provide a large number of different habitats and are among the most species-rich environments in Central Europe. There are currently more than 180 products bearing the Hochstamm Suisse quality seal in our supermarkets.

IP-Suisse products

We are in the process of converting our Qualité & Prix products such as flour, sugar, milk and cream to the IP-Suisse standard. IP-Suisse is a near-natural, animal-friendly label with a number of added benefits in comparison with conventional production methods. IP-Suisse producers undertake to implement measures including the promotion of diversity. The products bear the ladybird logo.

For biodiversity in household gardens

In our gardening range, we offer many wild flower mixes under our Oecoplan own-label brand to increase biodiversity in your own garden. The ecologically valuable seeds include around 30 different wild flowers that are cultivated in Switzerland according to the strict Bio Suisse guidelines. We have systematically excluded pesticides for use in domestic gardens that are hazardous to bees from our range.

Our projects to promote biodiversity

Agroforestry coffee plantation in Honduras.

Biodiversity in tropical regions

With the Coop Sustainability Fund we support numerous FiBL research projects aimed at increasing the diversity of species and habitats around the world. For example, to secure the production of organic oranges and  grapefruits in Mexico in the long-term, as part of a research project we are promoting agro-ecological variety on citrus plantations using ever-blooming intermediate crops and ladybirds.

We also specifically promote the diversification of cultivation systems through agroforestry in coffee, coconut and cocoa production in Ghana and Honduras. For example, there are already 600 producers using dynamic agroforestry methods on some 600 hectares of cocoa plots and significantly increasing biodiversity on their plantations.

Reducing the use of pesticides

As well as expanding the number of organic products in our ranges and the associated promotion of organic farming in Switzerland, we are also actively campaigning for a reduction in pesticides in the farming of conventional fruit and vegetables. This includes, for example, providing conventional grape producers in Apulia and Sicily with workshops and longer-term advice on introducing organic pest control, allowing them to gradually reduce their pesticide use. We also promote low-pesticide farming methods in various projects funded by the Coop Sustainability Fund, including the cultivation of white cabbage in Switzerland and rose production in Kenya.

The use of pesticides in our entire own-label brand food range, as well as flowers and plants, is also governed by the "Guideline on Pesticides". Our guidelines go beyond the legal requirements.

Biodiversity in schools

We ran the "Blühende Schulen" flower planting initiative for schools in partnership with Bio Suisse from 2016 to 2020. This scheme aimed to  teach schoolchildren to treat the natural world with care, as well as to promote biodiversity. 5 905 Swiss school classes with around 84 000 children received a total of 5 400 free plant sets with organic herb seedlings and seeds for native wild flowers. The classes then planted them in areas in the school grounds or in public or private spaces. The teaching support for the project was provided by the Teacher Training department at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland.

More about "Blühende Schulen"