Health crises, rising temperatures and increasing environmental disasters stress the need to reform our ways to think, act and cooperate on a global scale. Finding solutions to new challenges and adapting to our fast- changing world in a cooperative effort is key to creating and maintaining positive economic and social impact not only for ourselves but also for others.

It is not only imperative to invest in state-of-the-art technologies to increase the efficiency of buildings, production sites and logistics to reduce our carbon footprint which European countries have punted their focus on.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) encompass much more, especially about creating sustainable livelihoods for people affected at the beginning of most René Haßfeld CEO, toom Baumarkt GmbH Senator, European Senate of Economy supply chains. This gains even more importance as climate and health challenges become more frequent and endanger, not only the health but also the economic and financial safety of billions of people. In the case of COVID-19, it caused disruptions to industrial production, falling commodity prices, financial market volatility, and rising insecurity that especially affected people without financial and social safety nets.

Creating a positive impact for workers and farmers at the beginning of our supply chain has always been a major concern for toom Baumarkt. This applies for safe working conditions, income, and social aspects such as equal opportunities in alignment with SDG 8 to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment, and decent work for all.

For example, in 2014, toom established a guideline for natural stone products that include requirements for the entire supply chain – from wholesalers to stone processors to quarries. The natural stone products available in Germany mainly come from China or India. Here, working conditions in the quarries are often deplorable. For example, the workers receive too little money or are not sufficiently 1011 VISIONS FOR EUROPEVISIONS FOR EUROPE protected from noise and dirt, and sometimes even children are used for the hard work.

As the first DIY chain in Germany, toom Baumarkt has had natural stones certified by XertifiX. Special requirements apply for the award of the XertifiX PLUS label. Among other things, there must be no child or forced labor, employees must receive at least the minimum wage and the permitted working hours are also limited by the standard. Equally important are occupational safety and measures to minimize the environmental impact of natural stone production.

The external certification partner XertifiX checks in regular inspections – both announced and unannounced – whether these requirements are met and implemented.


A certified supply chain is vital to ensure that workers benefit from the market as well. However, certifications are expensive for companies and might be a reason, especially for small and medium- sized companies, to not get a credible certification for their supply chains- toom has been cooperating with Fairtrade for many years and has been relying entirely on the Fairtrade mark for its poinsettia range since 2015.

To sell more plants with the Fairtrade label and strengthen the positive impact of Fairtrade on propagation farms in the global South, Fairtrade Germany and toom launched a pilot project that reduces costs for companies in the global North.

In order to expand the range of potted plants on offer and increase sales for farms in East Africa and Latin America, Fairtrade has joined forces with toom Baumarkt to launch a new, innovative pilot project. Plants, whether poinsettias, geraniums, or autumn asters, have a long journey behind them before they are offered for sale in Germany. They are cultivated from cuttings that mostly come from Africa or Latin America. The climatic conditions in those regions favor the C02 balance of production, as heating and lighting of the greenhouses can be largely dispensed with. Thousands of workers find employment in this industry: they tend the mother plants and cut the cuttings, often shoots only a few centimeters long. The entire process up to the finished cultivated plant can take up to 70 weeks for poinsettias, for example.

To improve the living and working conditions of the workers, Fairtrade expanded its standard for flowers In order to increase the positive impact of Fairtrade on the propagation farms, more plants with the Fairtrade label must be sold. With this goal in mind, Fairtrade Germany has launched a pilot project together with toom Baumarkt. It aims to increase Fairtrade premium income for workers in the South, reduce costs in the North and thus make Fairtrade cuttings a real, sustainable alternative to conventional cuttings for a wide range of bedding, balcony, and indoor plants. and plants in 2015 to include the category of young plants. Since then, in addition to cut flowers and ready- cultivated plants, cuttings can also be Fairtrade-certified. For the workers, Fairtrade certification brings many advantages. These include fixed employment contracts, maternity protection, protective clothing, and training in the safe handling of chemicals. In addition, they receive at least the minimum wage prescribed by the Fairtrade standard and benefit from the Fairtrade premium, which flows into community projects.


René Haßfeld In the pilot project, the processes are simplified while still adhering to Fairtrade principles. For one thing, the nurseries in the global North that finish cultivating the plants from Fairtrade young plants for toom no longer must be Fairtrade certified. Therefore, at this stage, there may be a mixing of Fairtrade plants with conventional plants.

However, it is still ensured that only the quantity of plants sold as Fairtrade certified were also purchased as cuttings from the farms under Fairtrade conditions. This is checked by the independent certification organization Flocert at the importers and at toom.

In addition, the European nurseries must prove to toom that they are certified according to a social and environmental standard, comply with the REWE residue guideline, and reduce their use of peat by 30%. Supporting sustainable initiatives such as Fairtrade and working together to improve systems is a great contribution to a variety of sustainable development goals like achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, promoting sustainable consumption, or taking climate protection measures.

This pilot project of Fairtrade Germany and toom Baumarkt highlights the necessity to continuously review structures and systems and not be afraid to adapt in order to improve. We believe joining forces and testing new ways bear the chance to create something new. Or “We believe joining forces and testing new ways pave the way for a more sustainable impact.”

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