Annual Report 2019

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 N.V. also takes its responsibility relating to CSR and initiated a continuous improvement process in this field. In line with the implemented CSR strategy important steps were taken in the development of a recyclable mattress and box springs in the past years. In 2019 the Group made further steps of improvement to realise its strategic goals.

CSR strategy

The domain of sleep is now more relevant than ever. On the one hand 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 Group’s strategy, the CSR goals remain critically important. Therefore the themes as identified with the internal and external stakeholders, being circular economy, safety and quality of products and services, responsible chain management, energy & CO2 emissions and safe working conditions, remained to be the main focus of the 2019 CSR report. These topics will be continuously used to identify possible strategic opportunities.

The challenging targets that were formulated have led to an increased embedment of CSR in the Group's daily activities. Next to that, in line with the strategy the category management team was implemented 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 its innovation pipeline for sustainable mattresses. In 2019 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 2019.

Furthermore the box spring ‘Element’ was introduced in the first half of 2019. The Element box spring has been developed in a completely modular fashion in close collaboration with the supplier. The box spring is easy to disassemble and all the materials are recyclable. All the parts can also be replaced separately. They are all made of mono materials rather than mixed raw materials, which means they are completely recyclable. Beter Bed engaged the services of TNO – the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research – in order to demonstrate the circularity of the Element box spring versus box springs produced in the standard way. TNO uses its unique IMPACT (Integrated Method of sustainable Product Assessment for Circular Transition) method to measure the effects on aspects such as resources, people & planet and the economy. This renders the product’s circularity score or ‘green score’. The results of the research carried out by TNO provide, in addition to a sustainability score for Element, insights into the further development possibilities in the field of sustainable products in the assortment. 

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 Company’s Code of Conduct, the Group obligates its suppliers to adhere to international treaties and conventions on working conditions. At year-end 82% of the suppliers has signed the Code of Conduct. At the end of 2019 two new suppliers are in the process of signing the Code of Conduct. Beter Bed Holding N.V. has entered into partnership with five of its strategic suppliers in order to develop more sustainable products.

Safety 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 and warehouses in the Benelux were continuously involved in quality testing.

Work to be done

Although ambitious, the Group still aims to realise the CSR goals as set out in its CSR strategy. In 2019 steps have been taken in the development and introduction of recyclable box springs and 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 ends 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 life span. 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 N.V. 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.

The Company considers it important that all participants in the value chain take ownership of sustainable materials, production methods and recycling opportunities. Most consumers use their mattress too long. The quality of sleep improves dramatically when mattresses are regularly changed (approximately every 5-7 years). It is scientifically proven that better sleep leads to better performance, more happiness and better health. In order to ensure that the environment is not hampered by the disposal of products, the Group applies a sustainable recovery of used mattresses. Beter Bed Holding N.V. continues to be very ambitious and cooperative to work with stakeholders to make this possible.

In conclusion, Beter Bed Holding N.V. has taken steps in developing and introducing a 100% recyclable mattress and box spring in 2019 and has a collaboration with a company that mechanically dismantles the mattresses in order to reuse the materials. Beter Bed Holding N.V. 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 N.V.'s CSR report, provides insight into (the execution of) Beter Bed Holding N.V.'s CSR strategy in 2019. The CSR report 2019 is supplementary to the annual report 2019 and will be available not later than 13 May 2020. This is the ninth time Beter Bed Holding N.V. 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.