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You ask – we answer

Sustainability at KoRo

Is KoRo actually sustainable?

Why does KoRo use plastic packaging?  
What does KoRo do for a better planet? 
Why isn't everything organic at KoRo?

We asked you what interests you most about sustainability at KoRo qnd here are all our answers to the top sustainability questions on your mind. Let's start with the most important goals that we always pursue in our work:

At KoRo, we want to...

Reduce our packaging waste

Our large packages are part of our identity. This not only makes commerce easier and keeps you happy for longer, but also saves a lot of packaging waste compared to conventional retail pack sizes – an average of 40% per 1 kg of product*.

*Based on a 2022 calculation based on a sample of products from different categories – snacks, nuts, dried fruits, cooking ingredients – compared to retail competitors, extrapolated to our 519 large packs available in the shop

Have smart supply chains

We think that there often are too many stops between a product and its origin. That's why we try to skip as many stages of the supply chain as possible, with our products.

Offer you valuable alternatives 

We want to always be able to present to you high-quality food at a fair price for your everyday life. We ensure that our products remain as natural as possible, that they contribute to a balanced, predominantly plant-based diet, and that our snacks represent a healthier and potentially more sustainable alternative.

Your questions about suppliers and producers:

We want to make it as easy as possible for the manufacturers and producers, and ideally save steps in the retail chain, such as repackaging. That's why we keep our labels as simple as possible. The countries in which our products are produced vary regularly, depending on where our suppliers source the products from. Having a label changed is not that easy and is not so flexible with our current software. However, on our website you can view all information about the origin and, if applicable, the organic certification of the products.

We ourselves only carry out limited checks on suppliers or manufacturers. We have official audits carried out by specially trained third parties with the appropriate expertise. We only visit manufacturers ourselves to have a personal exchange with them and when necessary (e.g. quality control). Official controls regarding food safety are carried out by external partners for us. We primarily work with suppliers who meet the GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) standard.

If a product is “organic” certified, the manufacturers are usually checked on site by inspection bodies once a year. In Germany, these inspection bodies are private companies that are approved by the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE) and monitored by the inspection authorities of the federal states. The same applies to Fairtrade certification: “The certification company FLOCERT checks on site whether producers and traders comply with the Fairtrade standards and meet the social, economic and ecological standards. It also checks whether the producer organizations are paid the set minimum price and the Fairtrade premium. FLOCERT is an independent certification company and subsidiary of Fairtrade International.” We want to further expand the proportion of organic and fair trade products in the range in the future.

¹ https://www.oekolandbau.de/bio-siegel/info-fuer-verbraucher/bio-kontrollen/ 
² https://www.fairtrade-deutschland.de/was-ist-fairtrade/zertifizierung-und-kontrolle

Since we work with several hundred suppliers worldwide, we cannot possibly have 100% insight into their supply chains, and therefore also into the payment of producers everywhere. In general, however, we ask all potential suppliers whether they and their upstream suppliers meet the minimum labour standards and core labour standards of the ILO (International Labor Organization). In the future, we are also going introduce a Code of Conduct for suppliers and partners in which our expectations and standards are clearly formulated. Here, we also appeal to our partners to pay all their employees fairly (at least according to the minimum wage laws). When adhering to this, we rely above all on trust and honesty. In addition, there are external control bodies (such as Fairtrade) with whom we will expand our cooperation.

We want to offer you a wide range of products and therefore also import goods with longer transport routes. Our selection of products also depends to a large extent on your demand. However, we also try to offer you alternatives with short transport routes. Whether this is possible depends on the product and its producer. For us, quality and good taste come first. In order to guarantee this, we sometimes have to resort to imports from more distant countries. There are also products that simply cannot be grown in the EU, mangoes or coconuts for example. When you look at the carbon footprint of our products, it becomes clear that transport and logistics overall are, on average, “only” responsible for less than 10% of the emissions associated with the product. Of course, this is not nothing, which is why we want to keep our supply chains even shorter in the future, if possible.

Your questions about packaging:

Our priority is that the products arrive safely at your home. The packaging must protect the food well; in technical jargon this is referred to as “optimal barrier ability”. If this is not the case, the product will expire more quickly and, in the worst case scenario, you would have to throw it away. Our goal is therefore to optimize our packaging for maximum food safety and an extension of the minimum shelf life. In many cases, only plastic packaging meets this requirement. Nuts, for example, are very greasy and would quickly grease and damage paper packaging. Contrary to its bad reputation, plastic is not necessarily the least sustainable packaging option. Above all, we don’t want to use packaging just because it looks “green”. These are often composite packaging, such as paper-aluminum packaging. From the outside, this packaging looks like paper and good recyclability. In reality, such composites are very difficult to recycle. Since not all of our packaging can currently be recycled and we are aware of the effects of incorrectly disposed of plastic and the energy required to produce it, we are continually working to improve the recyclability or circularity of our packaging. Our shipping packaging (boxes, filling material and packaging tape) is already completely paper-based. The filling material and the boxes are made from recycled material and can in turn be recycled.

Our product packaging is not made from recycled materials. As you can imagine, as a food company we are subject to strict guidelines when it comes to the hygiene and safety of packaging. We cannot simply use recycled plastic waste for packaging that comes into contact with food. There are strict guidelines for such packaging at EU level. Not all manufacturers can or want to meet these requirements and therefore use packaging with a barrier between the recycled material and the food. This barrier protects the food from contamination, but has the disadvantage of making the packaging more difficult to recycle, limiting its environmental benefit. The EU directive was renewed in 2022 to improve the recovery of recycled plastics in the food sector. There are now over 200 officially approved manufacturing processes for recycled plastics in food packaging. This policy aims to increase the reusability of recycled plastics in the food sector and combines food safety with environmental benefits. Although the market for suitable recycled plastics is not yet mature, it is expected that more packaging materials will meet the stringent requirements in the food sector in the future. However, we are already looking for more sustainable packaging and are testing various alternatives that are more recyclable. However, we have not yet found the perfect material that not only meets our sustainability criteria but also meets important points such as food safety.

Currently around 30% of our packaging is made from monomaterial, which is generally recyclable. However, we hold back on claims such as “recyclable packaging” because we have only received statements about the recyclability of this packaging from the manufacturers and not through certification from independent third-party providers. We aim to be able to independently substantiate such claims. However, we are currently working on generally improving the recyclability or circularity of our packaging and getting this certified. That sounds easier than it is, because in order for our packaging to meet the high standards of food safety, we have to work with stable materials. Both the elasticity for the most space-saving transport and the rigidity for product security must be equally ensured in order to guarantee the longevity of our packaging.

Answering this question is not that easy – if not impossible. Because each of these materials has advantages and disadvantages. Although paper is easy to recycle, it does not always have a sufficiently strong protective barrier for food or, to counteract this, it is used as a composite, which in turn is not easy to recycle. Plastic packaging, on the other hand, is very light and saves transport costs. Glass costs significantly more to transport than plastic or paper, but can be more ecologically sound due to its long service life and easy recyclability. The production of aluminum cans requires a lot of energy, but their recyclability is better. An important rule when it comes to sustainable packaging is that composite materials (e.g. composites of paper and aluminum or paper and plastic such as tetra packs) are very difficult to recycle because the materials are connected to each other. Packaging made from mono-materials is always easier to recycle. It is also important that the packaging optimally protects the food. After all, what is the point of packaging that generates low CO2 emissions during production and transport if the food is not properly protected from external influences? The result would be food waste. We therefore weigh up all possible packaging for each product and make a decision taking all relevant factors into account (including quality maintenance, food safety, costs and sustainability).

We know that you are taking a certain risk by buying products from us in bulk that you don't yet know whether you will like. That's why we offer you a selection of our products or unusual snacks in small formats. We are not dogmatic about our packaging sizes and want to give you access to our products and the KoRo brand even if you don't want to buy bulk packs.

Piran: We know that you take a certain risk when you buy products from us in bulk packs that you don't yet know whether you will like them. That's why we also offer you a selection of our products in smaller formats. We are not dogmatic about our packaging sizes and want to give you access to our products even if you don't want to buy bulk packs. Our individually wrapped snacks are designed for people on the go. You can easily take them and enjoy them wherever you are. We take the feedback from our community about our individually wrapped energy balls and the "questionable" extra bowl to heart. That's why we've already tried to produce our energy balls without a bowl, but we've had many complaints about crushed energy balls, leaking oil and more. We are already working on a better solution that will allow us to package the energy balls with less waste. By the way, the bowls are already made of biodegradable (compostable) bagasse. This is what is left over from the pressing of sugar cane.

Your questions about our products:

No, we work with a total of several hundred suppliers in Germany, Europe and beyond. Where each product comes from or was manufactured can be seen in the product information on the website.

The manufacturing countries vary depending on the product. We source products all over the world and buy where our requirements for quality, taste, price and sustainability are best met. The exact product manufacturing processes vary depending on the manufacturer. The exact specifications regarding origin and production can be viewed on the respective product detail page on our website.

No. Even though a large part of our products are already organically grown or certified organic, some of our portfolio is not. You can check which products are specifically certified organic on our website by entering “organic” in the search field or clicking on one of the tabs, e.g. E.g. “Breakfast” and then filter for “Organic” in the properties. This will show you all organic products in this category.

The main reason for this is simply the taste: we tested both conventional and organic nuts for the nut butter that we offer in conventional quality. We were more impressed with the taste of the conventional products. When it comes to almonds, for example, conventional almonds have a much milder taste because they are grown outside of Europe. In the European growing areas (Italy, Portugal, Spain) the proportion of bitter almonds is higher, which gives them a bitter taste due to the traces of hydrogen cyanide they contain. Another reason not to offer all of our nut butters in organic quality is the significant price difference. As long as we remain competitive with organic quality products, we will also include them in the shop. This varies greatly from product to product. We want to offer high-quality food for every budget - that's why we rely on the conventional and therefore cheaper version of some products.

First of all, we have to say: sustainability has many facets and we define it for ourselves in terms of economic, ecological and social sustainability. Many measures are designed for a very long term and are therefore still in the initial phase. We therefore only want to list measures whose positive effects we can already prove. Nevertheless, many more are planned, which we will of course report on in due course.

Our range: In general, KoRo promotes easy integration of more sustainable products when purchasing with a 99% vegetarian and 80% vegan range as well as an organic product share of 47% (as of March 2024). We also carry out risk analyzes for selected raw materials in our products and their countries of origin. Based on the results of this analysis, we are developing a sustainable sourcing policy with which we want to specifically reduce risks, i.e. H. for example, that we only want to purchase certain raw materials with a certain certification. In addition, we are currently working on a code (Supplier Code of Conduct) that is aimed at suppliers and partners in general. This means we are defining our standards and expectations on the topics of the environment, business ethics and social issues even more clearly than before.

We know that many potential customers are very reluctant to order large packages online without being able to test the products first. That's why we wanted to create an opportunity to get to know KoRo offline (often in smaller formats) in retail stores. Smaller packs and snacks as well as our own creations like the date-hazelnut cream are very suitable for this. This way, our customers can first try out what KoRo is all about in a small format before ordering large packs online. And that can sometimes be the more sustainable alternative. Before a single date-hazelnut cream makes its way to your home, we deliver the jars in large trays to the place where you go shopping anyway. Fewer delivery routes means fewer climate-damaging CO2 emissions.

We don't want to tell anyone what to buy or how to eat. Our assortment therefore includes a wide range of vegan - but also non-vegan - products. Our goal is to offer high quality products at fair prices.

Firstly, it has to be said that sustainability has many facets and we define it as economic, ecological and social sustainability. Many measures are very long-term and are therefore still in their early stages. That's why we only want to list here the measures whose positive effects we can already see. However, many others are planned, which we will inform you about in due course. 

Our product range: In general, KoRo promotes the easy integration of more sustainable products into purchases, with a 99 % vegetarian and 80 % vegan product range and a 47 % share of organic products (by 03/2024).We also carry out risk analyses for selected raw materials in our products and their countries of origin.Based on the results of this analysis, we are developing a Sustainable Sourcing Policy, which will allow us to minimise risks in a targeted way, for example by only purchasing certain products with a certain level of certification. We are also currently working on a Supplier Code of Conduct, which is aimed at suppliers and partners in general. This code will define our standards and expectations in terms of the environment, business ethics and social issues even more clearly than before. 
Our office: We use green electricity from 100 per cent renewable energy for our office and our website hosting provider is also powered by 100 per cent renewable energy. 
Our shipping packaging (boxes, filling material and adhesive tape) is already made entirely of paper. Filling material and boxes are made from recycled material and can also be recycled. 
With our bulk packaging, we save packaging waste compared to conventional retail packaging - on average 40 per cent per 1 kg of product*. *2022 figures. The calculation is based on a sample of products from different categories - snacks, nuts, kitchen ingredients - compared to standard retail competitors, compared to our 519 bulk packs available in-store. 
Our sale category: We want to prevent food that is about to expire or doesn't look good from going to waste, so we offer these products at a reduced price in our sale category. We've also been donating to Foodsharing since 2023. 
Our communication: Probably our most important measures are our transparent communication and our sustainability team, which deals exclusively with environmental, business ethics and social issues. We also want to share the progress, challenges and results that this team has achieved in order to give a deeper insight into the topic of sustainability. For example, we have set ourselves the goal of regularly publishing an impact report that provides information on environmental, business ethics and social issues at KoRo. 
We have also introduced a "Climate Impact" tab for more than 80 products. We have calculated the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the production, packaging and transport of our treats. We pass on this information so that you can make informed purchasing decisions and control your own carbon footprint. 
But we also utilise this valuable information: This allows us to make our supply chains even smarter in the future and, ideally, to reduce our carbon footprint too.

Piran: In 2021, we saved 30-50 tonnes of plastic by using bulk packaging and skipping trade stages compared to retail. For 2022, we plan to save over 100 tonnes of plastic. By shortening transport routes and skipping trade stages for the majority of our products, we generate lower CO₂ emissions. The filling material for our packages is made from recycled materials and we are constantly evaluating alternative packaging options for our products. We offer an almost exclusively vegetarian/vegan range and will be equipping the first unpackaged stations at individual retail partners with our products from 2022. However, we do not want to market ourselves as a sustainable retailer. We want to make our products available to many consumers at fair prices and are convinced that selling many products with a small sustainable aspect can also have a sustainable impact. For us, more sustainability means above all creating radical transparency in our actions and openly communicating internal decisions. However, we also always have open ears for criticism, ideas or comments and want to work out a new vision for KoRo together with all employees this year.

Your questions about our products: