Value chain

We offer a full range of dairy products in Switzerland, most of which are to a large extent manufactured and refined within our own facilities. In addition, we offer our customers in Switzerland a very wide range of retail products from partner companies. The diversity of this offering makes our value chain very complex, and the sustainability aspects of our value chain just as diverse.

For instance, the production of dairy products is a very resource-intensive process. For this reason, we make great efforts to minimise the environmental impacts of our activities. Since the mid-1990s, an in-house environmental organisation has ensured that guidelines and regulations are observed and reviewed regularly.

Environmental impacts throughout the value chain

Our facilities in Switzerland have been certified to the international environmental management standard ISO 14001 since 1997, and are audited accordingly. Our central environmental management keeps close track of all environmentally relevant resources and emissions. In our external communications, we focus on electricity consumption, water consumption and waste volumes. In a drive to improve the Group’s eco-balance, a wide range of measures to save water and energy as well as to reduce wastewater, waste and consumables have been implemented in recent years, particularly in Switzerland.

Development

Development stands for the invention of new products, processes and packaging, and the optimisation of existing ones.  In development, Emmi concentrates on its strengths – the products and their packaging. When it comes to fundamental research, Emmi works together with universities, research institutions and other partners.

Product development

Innovation is a central component of the corporate culture and one of the company’s success drivers. The company employs around 40 people in product development in Switzerland. Their task is to improve existing products, create new innovative products and develop products according to customer demand. When developing new products, Emmi adheres to the following principles:

  • no genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
  • fewer additives
  • no preservatives
  • no lysozyme in cheese production.

Packaging development

Emmi produces some 5,000 different products in 2,000 different types of packaging just in Switzerland. The most frequently used materials for primary packaging are plastics for pots, bottles and films (approx. 12,000 tons a year), film for the production of around 250 million TetraPaks annually (approx. 4,200 tons a year), and cardboard for product packaging or as secondary containers for transport (approx. 8,500 tons a year).

In terms of the sustainability of packaging, the focus is mostly on the primary packaging visible for the end customers, although secondary packaging is important, too.

Procurement

Every year Emmi spends several hundred million francs on procurement. Apart from milk, the most important items purchased include various types of packaging materials made of plastics and cardboard, fruits and fruit preparations, sugar, cocoa-related products (e.g., chocolate), coffee and flavours.

Milk

Every year Emmi buys around 1.7 million tonnes of milk around the world. This is equal to the milk produced by about 190,000 cows. Emmi processes nearly 1 million tonnes of milk annually at its Swiss production sites, accounting for about a quarter of the entire Swiss milk output. On top of that is the milk which Emmi procures annually in the form of Swiss cheese: another 35,000 tonnes approximately. This cheese generally comes from commercial micro-enterprises („village cheese dairies“); Emmi refines and packages it, and then sells the finished product to customers both in Switzerland and abroad.
The milk Emmi processes in Switzerland comes from around 6,500 milk production facilities.

Fruit

Every year Emmi buys about 7,000 tonnes of fruit and nearly 3,000 tonnes of fruit preparations for processing in Switzerland. Dairy products with apples, raspberries and strawberries are particularly popular, meaning Emmi needs several hundred tonnes in Switzerland annually. With the exception of tropical fruit, Emmi procures all its fruit in Europe.

Coffee

Coffee is a key raw material for Emmi in Switzerland. The quality of Emmi’s highly successful product Emmi Caffè Latte differentiates it from the competition. The freshly roasted coffee beans are therefore ground directly at the production site, brewed into espresso and then mixed with the fresh milk immediately. This approach makes the quality of the coffee beans very important. The coffee beans that Emmi buys annually, totalling more than 1,000 tonnes, are sourced exclusively from farms certified by the Rainforest Alliance. Every year Emmi also buys an additional 100 tonnes of coffee extract for other dairy products, mocca yoghurt in particular.

Sugar

Every year Emmi processes around 6,150 tonnes of conventional sugar at its Swiss production sites. Most of this sugar is derived from sugar beets grown in Switzerland. In addition, Emmi needs about 2,150 tonnes of cane sugar annually for organic and fairtrade products. This is sourced in South and Central America.

Production

Making dairy products involves energy-intensive processes: water, energy, people and money – plenty of each is needed. This means that the production sites have by far the greatest impact when it comes to sustainability in Emmi’s value chain.

The highly complex and diversified nature of the processes make this a challenge. In order to achieve the internationally competitive production structures that the company is aiming for, every action must add value. That is why there is Emmi Operational Excellence. Numerous measures at sites in Switzerland and abroad result annually in cost savings in the millions, greater efficiency and a better sustainability outcome.

Distribution

Around 30 sites in Switzerland belong to the Emmi Group. These include small cheese dairies with a handful of employees such as Fromagerie Develier or Appenzeller Schaukäserei in Stein, trading companies such as Baumann Käse AG in Zollikofen or Emmi Frisch-Service AG in Schlieren, and large sites such as Ostermundigen or Emmen. One of Emmi Logistic’s ongoing tasks is to optimally coordinate the flow of raw materials and goods from, to and between these sites, and finally to customers.

To do this, Emmi operates two interconnected networks: first, a platform network which connects the plants and storage sites with around 200 customer unloading sites, and second, a fine distribution network, which services about 400 delivery points throughout Switzerland. At the core of the networks are the nodes in Ostermundigen, Suhr, Emmen and Schlieren.

The factors with a major influence on sustainability in logistics include the right choice and size of production and storage sites, the selection of the energy and cooling concepts in refrigerated and frozen logistics, choosing the means of transport (road, rail, water, air), the right choice of vehicles, and the knowledge and behaviour of the company’s employees.

Every day, around 550 people work in Emmi’s network, about 200 vehicles are in use and roughly 8,000 pallets are transported. And that is just in Switzerland.