Sustainability report 2017

Working environment – focusing on our people

Our employees are one of our most important groups of stakeholders. Every day, they show great passion and commitment in working hard to satisfy a wide variety of customer requirements and consumer expectations.

We are convinced that our staff can only produce their best performance at work if they are healthy, happy and motivated. This is why Chocolat Frey AG attempts to cater to our employees’ individual needs and lifestyles with modern, flexible working hours models at all levels.

Aspects and challenges that affect our employees’ wellbeing, such as working conditions, health and safety, and education and training, are given priority in the “Working environment” section of our sustainability strategy.

In future, too, we would like to champion fair and progressive working conditions and be seen as a responsible and attractive employer. Our commitment ensures that we have a younger generation of skilled specialists and managers coming through and guarantees that our business partners can depend on us – now and in the future.

Men, women, career starters and seasoned professionals from 50 different countries, of all ages and at all job levels, do a wide variety of work at Chocolat Frey AG. In the year under review, Chocolat Frey employed a workforce of 778 (reporting date 31.12.2017). The turnover rate was 8.2%. Average service of 10 years marks out Chocolat Frey as a popular employer.

In addition to our permanent employees, in the year under review on average 173 temporary employees worked in production at Chocolat Frey, in particular balancing out seasonal fluctuations in production.
Chocolat Frey’s peak season is from July to December, covering Christmas and Easter production, and therefore requires more staff.

The staff structure at Chocolat Frey has remained stable in the last few years. The overwhelming majority of employees work full-time. In the year under review, a total of 164 people worked part-time.




Chocolat Frey has recorded a slight increase in new employees since 2015. The trend also continued in the year under review with 119 new employees.
Fifty percent of new employees are aged between 30 and 49, reflecting the age distribution of existing staff. The largest age group is those aged 30-49. The average age of Chocolat Frey employees is 42.

In the year under review, encouraging professional training and supporting younger staff remains key. In 2017 Chocolat Frey employed 50 trainees, of whom 21 were new apprentices.


Including temporary employees, 58% of staff are female. Without taking temporary staff into account, however, the gender breakdown is even, with the proportion of male and female permanent employees in each age group being the same overall. In 2017 394 women and 384 men were employed at Chocolat Frey as permanent employees.







Gender distribution by job level reveals that part-time jobs across all age groups are primarily filled by women (86.6%). When including temporary staff, the proportion of women is even higher at 89%. Temporary jobs such as Easter bunny decoration, packing or other manual labour, are primarily done by women, which explains the high proportion of women.




The proportion of women has remained stable in the last few years, with the proportion of female managers up by 10% since 2014. There are more women in the 30-49 and under-30s age groups than in the over-50s. In the year under review the proportion of women in management roles was 24%.




All our employees are subject to progressive collective labour agreements that apply throughout Switzerland. Our temporary employees are subject to the temporary employment collective bargaining agreement, while permanent employees come under Migros’s national collective bargaining agreement.
The employment terms and the employer-employee relationship are regulated by the respective collective labour agreements. On site the same company benefits apply to all employees. Permanent employees also enjoy the Migros Group’s above-average terms and conditions.
With Migros’s collective labour agreement, M-Industry and therefore also Chocolat Frey AG ensure progressive working conditions that go beyond legal requirements and the individual employment contract, and offer employees extensive protection.

We are aware of our social responsibility towards our employees and would like to pre-empt any discrimination on the basis of gender, origin, or disability.
The principle of non-discrimination of employees is embedded in Migros’s collective bargaining agreement. The general principle is equal pay for equivalent jobs, performance and experience. This principle means that we guarantee our employees fair, gender-neutral remuneration. Salaries are worked out for all new employees using the same grid, based on the components of age, experience and grade.
Salary adjustments for existing employees are undertaken during performance evaluations as part of the M-FEE appraisal with managers. The average salary for men and women is therefore at the same level.

When there are considerable changes to the organisation, as a progressive company we guarantee that we will inform our employees in a timely manner. Notice periods for each employee are apparent from the collective bargaining agreement.
Our employees should also be able to achieve a good work-life and family balance. To assist with this, among other things we offer flexible working time models, the possibility of part-time work, unpaid leave and time off, as well as 18 weeks paid maternity leave and three weeks paid paternity leave.

National collective bargaining agreement



As part of Migros, our employees’ pensions are looked after by the Migros pension fund (MPK). This means Chocolat Frey employees benefit from above-average retirement benefits. More information on the Migros Group’s employee pensions can be found in the Migros pension fund’s annual report and in Migros’s annual report 2017.


Additional benefits
As a responsible company that likes to set an example, we offer our permanent employees numerous attractive additional benefits. In addition to various discounts and perks (e.g. Migros Club School courses, fitness, indoor pool, mobile phone subscription, travel with Hotelplan, insurance, etc.), our employees also benefit from preferential interest rates and prices from the Migros Bank or Migrol, additional Cumulus points or a sports club offer.

More information and a comprehensive list of additional benefits can be found on Chocolat Frey’s careers website.

As a leading Swiss chocolate manufacturer, occupational safety and employee health are really important to us, therefore we take our duties and responsibilities around health and safety at work very seriously.

As part of Migros, we implement the Migros Group solution that has been approved by the Federal Coordination Commission for Occupational Safety (FCOS). We have developed a safety management system in accordance with FCOS’s 11 points for health and safety at work, as well as a company health promotion policy. Occupational safety is embedded in Chocolat Frey AG’s mission statement.

Every new employee is obliged to attend the “Health and safety at work for new employees” course.

In collaboration with the occupational safety group, our experienced health and safety specialists establish annual health and safety targets. They define the focus of training, develop measures based on risk assessments, and determine health protection issues. Achievement of these targets is reviewed annually and documented.

As a democratically elected group representing staff and with responsibility for, among other things, health and safety issues, our Staff Committee is informed of important changes and receives a copy of the minutes of each health and safety group meeting.

Chocolat Frey attempts to take all measures necessary to ensure the protection and improvement of our employees’ physical and mental health and to guarantee safety at work. Annual internal audits are carried out to assess the level of safety, during which a specific review is conducted as to whether the safety measures still meet requirements following structural, technical, organisational or staff changes. At the same time, Chocolat Frey practises systematic and long-term health management, with the aim of creating excellent working conditions for employees. Consideration is also given in particular to groups of people in need of protection, such as pregnant women, or young people.

As part of the company’s health management, in 2017 we purchased two massage chairs that can be used by all employees free of charge. There were also campaigns directed at our employees on ergonomics at the PC. Participants learnt how to adjust their PC workstation correctly to avoid back and neck pain. Our office employees also have a standing desk.

In addition, all employees have the opportunity to contact specialist, independent counsellors, SOBECO, free of charge for advice on professional and personal matters. The content of the advice is strictly confidential, of course, and the service can be accessed in person, over the telephone or online. In 2017 most enquiries were of a personal or family nature.


Key figures

Our efforts are paying off: 35 accidents were recorded in 2017, which corresponds to 2.4 occupational accidents per 100,000 hours of work. This is the lowest number we have achieved in five years and we are therefore meeting our target of no more than 2.5 accidents per 100,000 hours of work.

The following illustration shows the kind of injuries that occurred in 2017:



Lost working hours and absence rate

Chocolat Frey recorded some 78,057 lost working hours in 2017. The absence rate for occupational accidents, non-occupational accidents and sickness (highest proportion) combined was 5.4%..



There were no recorded occupational diseases or deaths. Nevertheless, Chocolat Frey has signed up to the Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (Suva) safety charter. With its “Vision 250 Lives” prevention programme, Suva wants to prevent occupational accidents that lead to death and severe disability. To this end “essential rules” have been developed for different activities, which will be the focus of our training activities in 2018. The safety charter’s core message is: “No work is so important that people should risk their own lives or the lives of other employees for it.” Chocolat Frey employees will improve their ability to assess a dangerous situation and have the right to stop it.


Memberships and awards

As a member of amfori BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative) and Sedex (Supplier Ethical Data Exchange), we are regularly audited by external inspection bodies regarding socially responsible production and working conditions. Areas reviewed include working conditions, health protection and ethical business practices. In 2017 we passed the Sedex audit with flying colours.

For around 130 years we have been compiling knowledge and passing it on to our younger members of staff. Skilled employees are essential to a successful company. To ensure that it remains successful, we would like to be able to guarantee that our employees are always up to date and constantly enhancing their skills. Every employee should be able to develop freely and discover and develop his or her personal strengths.
In the periodic, M-FEE personal appraisal (managing, developing and rewarding staff), employees’ personal development prospects and individual education and training measures are agreed with line managers. Employees can also attend seminars and courses, part-funded by Chocolat Frey, at the Migros Club School.
Staff development is part of our human resources policy and is based on Migros Group guidelines.

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The previous system only enabled external training hours to be recorded, which is why we are unable to report comprehensive and meaningful annual hours for education and training for 2017. Last year 26,156 external training hours were documented.
From 2018, in addition to external hours, the newly implemented human resources system will also take hours of in-house education and training into account. E-learning courses are still not included in the number of training hours.

Procurement and partnerships

By means of our procurement policy we wish not only to guarantee the quality and quantities of what we procure, on schedule and at the right cost level, but also to implement our sustainable development goals and promote fair and cooperative collaboration with our suppliers and producers.
All kinds of complex challenges can arise along the entire supply chain when procuring raw materials, such as cocoa or palm oil, from countries that have inadequate government structures or legal foundations. To guarantee procurement in socially acceptable production and working conditions, Chocolat Frey works with internationally recognised social and sustainability standards, such as those developed by UTZ, RSPO and amfori BSCI.

Wherever it is possible and sensible to do so, Chocolat Frey procures its raw materials directly from producers at source, eliminating unnecessary commercial levels. Furthermore, we only enter into contracts with suppliers who are able to identify with our business practices and implement our procurement principles. The majority of our suppliers are long-standing partners, whose performance is reviewed annually using defined criteria. Any discrepancies are corrected by specific measures. In 2017 all our partners complied with our procurement principles.

By signing our General Terms and Conditions of Purchase and the form for the initial assessment, all existing and new suppliers undertake to observe our procurement principles, particularly the amfori BSCI code of conduct or an equivalent social standard. Therefore, right at the start of the business relationship, we create an awareness of our socially acceptable business practices.

In order to be able to guarantee socially acceptable working conditions in supply chains, Chocolat Frey also demands regular audits of suppliers who produce in an amfori BSCI risk country. The country classification is based on six World Governance Indicators developed by the World Bank. The annual supply quantity and a good, longer-term supply relationship are other factors that contribute to selection of producers in risk countries.

To address discrepancies audited companies receive an action plan and responsibilities in an audit report which must be implemented by the next audit. This guarantees continuous improvement of working and production conditions.

Chocolat Frey has set itself the goal of including all producers in amfori BSCI risk countries in the Social Compliance Process by 2020. In 2017, 80% of Chocolat Frey’s suppliers were classified as non-risk suppliers. The rest were incorporated into the review process in accordance with the guidelines described here.

Chocolat Frey AG procures locally produced raw materials wherever possible. For example, we obtain our milk from Switzerland and our sugar is also exclusively grown and processed in Switzerland. A study published in 2017 revealed that Swiss sugar has a better environmental footprint than sugar from the EU (Study: CH_EU_Rübenzuckerstudie).
Cocoa, the most important raw material in chocolate, grows exclusively in the world's tropical regions. Chocolat Frey operates to internationally recognised standards in order to ensure sustainable procurement in the supply chains of globally traded raw materials.


Cocoa beans

Origin: West Africa and South America
Processing: Switzerland (Chocolat Frey)



Origin and processing: 100% Switzerland


Cocoa butter

Origin: West Africa
Processing: EU


Milk powder

Origin and processing: Switzerland



Origin and processing: Turkey and Georgia
Roasting: Switzerland (Chocolat Frey)



Origin and processing: California and Australia
Roasting: Switzerland (Chocolat Frey)

Chocolat Frey AG's understanding of sustainability comprises the entire supply chain: from the cultivation and procurement of raw materials, via production in the company, all the way to consumption and recycling.


1. Cultivation & procurement

Chocolat Frey obtains more than half of its cocoa beans from long-term partnerships with local producer organisations in West Africa and South America. Most of the raw materials come from Ghana, followed by Ecuador and Ivory Coast. The rest comes from Jamaica and Venezuela.



2. Transport

Since Chocolat Frey prohibits air transport due to its sustainability efforts, cocoa beans are transported by sea, rail and road to Switzerland, where they are stored or directly processed.




3. Production & retail

In our production facility in Buchs, the beans are first processed into a cocoa paste before being mixed “depending on the recipe” with the remaining principal raw materials, i.e. milk powder, sugar, hazelnuts and almonds, and made into individual chocolate items. Chocolat Frey produces chocolate products both for its parent company Migros and for the brands of other retailers. The company also manufactures semi-finished products for industrial and food service companies.



4. Distribution

The manufactured chocolate products are despatched to retailers or the various industrial and food service companies at home and abroad by rail, ship and road.



5. Sales & consumption

At the end of the supply chain is the consumer, who buys and enjoys the Chocolat Frey product from a Migros store or another retailer. Chocolat Frey produces high-quality chocolate for the whole family and always manages to surprise its customers with innovative products and processes.

UTZ - cocoa

In line with Chocolat Frey AG’s sustainability strategy, by 2020 80% of cocoa beans must come from UTZ-certified farms. 97% of the beans we source are already of UTZ quality. The remaining 3% of beans come from Jamaica and Venezuela where no UTZ-certified beans are grown and these beans are used in selected recipes, in combination with other beans, to improve the aroma.

The UTZ code of conduct defines environmental and social criteria and lays down requirements for good agricultural practice. Careful and responsible use of resources and controlled use of fertilisers and pesticides are environmental criteria that UTZ producers have to consider and observe. Where working conditions are concerned, the standard is geared to International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions. Child and forced labour is strictly forbidden and on UTZ-certified farms there must be freedom to negotiate and the right to collective bargaining must apply to all employees.
Regular audits are carried out by accredited and independent organisations to maintain standards.

More information


Partnerships and projects

In addition to the purchase of UTZ-certified cocoa beans, by 2020 more than half of our cocoa beans must be procured at source through multi-year contracts. These direct relationships give Chocolat Frey the opportunity to improve the living standards of small farmers and the quality of the raw materials. In 2017, 81% of our cocoa beans were already being procured through multi-year agreements.

More information

RSPO - palm oil

Just under 20% of global palm oil production is RSPO-certified. However, 100% of Chocolat Frey’s palm oil is certified as RSPO segregated and is sourced from specified plantations that are known to Chocolat Frey. Segregated logistics guarantees the separation of certified goods from non-certified throughout the supply chain.

RSPO’s demands of palm oil cultivation are more stringent than the legal requirements in the countries of production. The most important criteria are: no clearing of tropical forests, fair and safe working conditions, minimal use of chemicals and no land grabs.


Why does Chocolat Frey use palm oil and not alternative plant-based oils?

Sunflower and rapeseed oil have a different texture, a different taste and worse processing properties than palm oil. Both these plant-based oils are oils and not fats, and therefore are liquid at room temperature. These oils could be used with prior hardening, but because of associated health risks they are not an acceptable alternative. The above-mentioned plant-based oils can be used in combination with harder fats when a softening effect is desired.

All technologically possible alternatives to palm oil also come from the tropics, but are less space efficient. Palm oil is 5-10 times more productive than coconut oil, for example, and therefore requires far less space. Palm oil is also the only oil from tropical regions for which there are cultivation standards. Using other oils as an alternative is currently not a long-term solution for Chocolat Frey because the criticised environmental issues would just be transferred to other oils. The only sensible approach is to keep improving oil palm cultivation standards.

More information

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