Annual Report 2017

The CSR year in brief

Every company that operates at the heart of society must embrace the social responsibility that comes with this. Sustainable enterprise is a key component in this respect. It is, after all, the only way to remain successful in the longer term.

Beter Bed Holding accepts its responsibility and has initiated a continuous improvement process in this field. Several key steps were once again taken in 2017.

Reassessment of the CSR strategy

The CSR strategy has, first of all, been reassessed this year. Important directional talks have been held with internal and external stakeholders to ensure that Beter Bed Holding can respond to market demands with the correct focus – both now and in the future. This has resulted in a clear commitment in terms of the mission, namely to approach CSR from the perspective of strategic opportunities.

Based on this ambition, five themes have been defined on the basis of which Beter Bed Holding can make the difference through its activities: circular economy, safety and quality of products and services, responsible chain management, energy & CO2 emissions, and safe working conditions. Challenging targets have been formulated for each theme for the period up to 2020. This reassessment provides greater direction and ensures that CSR becomes a more solidly embedded part of the group's daily activities in all the countries in which it operates.

Beter Bed Holding has furthermore expressly sought to enter into a dialogue with a number of strategic stakeholders regarding the circular economy, a field in which collaboration is vital in order to achieve results. Together with these stakeholders, Beter Bed Holding has translated the CSR ambition into the circular practice: where are the opportunities and dilemmas that ensue from matters including the current technical limitations relating to the recyclability of foam for example. This dialogue has produced valuable insights and points for attention with respect to the 2020 objectives.

Human rights and fighting bribery and corruption are two other social themes the group can help address. By consciously choosing suppliers and requiring them to sign the Code of Conduct, the group obligates its suppliers to adhere to international treaties and conventions on working conditions. Beter Bed Holding works mostly with suppliers from Europe and as a result limits the risk of incidents. In addition, 98% of the suppliers have signed the Code of Conduct and Beter Bed Holding has entered into partnership with two of its strategic suppliers in order to develop more sustainable products.

Safety also continues to be a key spearhead. Employees must be able to count on a safe working environment and customers must be able to rely on good-quality and safe products. One of the concrete activities for the coming year involves increasing the number of tests: in addition to distribution centres, the air quality of the stores will now also be tested.

Work to be done

At the same time the group is realistic and wishes to manage its expectations. It is, for example, fully aware that the circular economy presents both large opportunities and large challenges. There is a far-reaching social necessity to bring about a circular economy given that the majority of the mattresses currently end up in the incinerator. This situation is not tenable in the long term.

There is already a well-functioning return system in the Netherlands in this field. But it is only the beginning. Great gains in the field of sustainability can theoretically be achieved through better recycling of materials at the end of the lifespan. Tapping into these opportunities demands above all a chain approach: only in partnership with suppliers and customers will it be possible to achieve workable and effective recycling solutions. Beter Bed Holding is consequently focussing on collaborating with partners and customers because this provides the best opportunities for results. It is also clear that it is vital to have new technologies and materials in this area in order to be able to make a real difference. This field of research is still in its infancy.

In short, Beter Bed Holding is also ambitious in this area, but realises that a great deal of work still has to be done and that results will not be achieved automatically. It will be a matter of working hard and persevering in the years to come, together with partners and customers.

About Beter Bed for a Better Future

Beter Bed for a Better Future, Beter Bed Holding's CSR report, provides insight into (the execution of) Beter Bed Holding's CSR strategy in 2017. The CSR report 2017 is supplementary to the annual report 2017 and will be available soon. This is the seventh time Beter Bed Holding presents this report on its activities and progress in the field of CSR. It has been drawn up in line with the GRI Standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) at the ‘Core’ level and the internal reporting criteria for CSR information. The emphasis of the report is on the reassessed strategy and the ensuing five most material themes.