Annual Report 2018

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. In 2017 the Group made a reassessment of the CSR strategy and in 2018 important steps were taken in the development of a recyclable mattress.

CSR strategy

In 2018 the Group's new corporate strategy was presented at the Capital Markets Day. The domain of sleep is now more relevant than ever. Good quality sleep is vital for physical health, happiness, productivity, creativity and success. On the other hand stress, sleeping disorders and the work-life balance of people are constantly under pressure.

In the presented strategy, the CSR goals as formulated in 2017 remain critically important. Therefore the themes as identified with our internal and external stakeholders, being circular economy, safety and quality of products and services, responsible chain management, energy & CO2 emissions and safe working conditions, will remain the main focus of the 2018 CSR report. These topics will be continuously used to identify possible strategic opportunities.

In 2017 challenging targets were formulated which have led to an increased embedment of CSR in the Group's daily activities. Next to that, in line with the strategy presented at the Capital Markets Day a new category management team was introduced to better work together with suppliers in a proactive way on innovations in the bedding industry and especially the complete recyclability of mattresses. In the meantime the Group is also working on our its innovation pipeline for sustainable mattresses. In 2018 the Group, in cooperation with the Ergonomic Institute of Munich, made great progress in the development of the 100% recyclable M line Green Motion-mattress, which was presented to the market on the fair in Cologne in January 2019. Furthermore the box spring ‘Element’ will be introduced in the first half of 2019. This box spring will be completely modular, easy to disassemble, each part can be replaced and all materials are recyclable.

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. At year-end 92% of the suppliers have signed the Code of Conduct. Suppliers that have not signed the Code of Conduct yet, were added at the end of 2018 and are in the process of signing the Code of Conduct. Beter Bed Holding has entered into partnership with five of its strategic suppliers in order to develop more sustainable products.

The Group has also faced some challenges in 2018 as an employer. In the last quarter of 2018 a reorganisation was announced in the German-speaking countries, which led to the fact that a number of employees at the regional head office became redundant. This decision was part of restructuring activities in the German speaking countries. Almost all employees were able to keep their jobs as a result of the sale of the Spanish activities.

Safety also continues to be very important. Employees must be able to count on a safe working environment and customers must be able to rely on good-quality and safe products. Therefore the stores in the Netherlands were included in the quality test in 2018. It is the ambition to include the stores in the German-speaking countries in the test in 2019.

Work to be done

The Group is realistic and aims to realise the CSR goals. In 2018 big steps have been taken in the development of recyclable mattresses. However the circular economy still presents large challenges and opportunities. There is a far-reaching social necessity to bring about a circular economy given that the majority of the mattresses currently still end up in the incinerator. Continuous development in the field of sustainable mattresses remains necessary.

There is already a well-functioning return system in the Netherlands for mattresses in the market. 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 focussing on collaborating with partners and customers and is part of a chain consultation with amongst others the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water, CBW and INretail, 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. However some steps still need to be taken in this field of research.

In conclusion, Beter Bed Holding has taken steps in developing a 100% recyclable mattress in 2018 but remains ambitious and realises that still a lot has to be done. The Group will commit itself to drive continuous innovation and development, together with partners and customers in the coming years.

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 2018. The CSR report 2018 is supplementary to the annual report 2018 and will be available not later than 25 April 2019. This is the eighth 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 five most material themes as set out in the CSR strategy.