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COMPANYPROFILE
ourcing with a conscience
Most people have probably not heard of Eurogroup, a sourcing company whose European share-
holders have a combined annual turnover of over 60 billion Euros. While Eurogroup mostly flies
under the public radar, it prides itself on being highly active in CSR activities and unlike some
companies seems to be more green than greenwashed. CHaINA’s Editor, Russel Beron spoke
with Robert Kronhofer, Eurogroup’s Deputy Managing Director and Christian May, Organization and
Logistics Manager in Shanghai to find out more about the company’s approach.
What background do you both come from? buys to gain an economy of scale. Employing 100 buyers, the
Robert Kronhofer (RK): I am from Austria originally and used to buying office uses its knowledge of the Asian market to source
be a DIY store manager there before moving into a sourcing role products and suppliers, manage orders and provide shipment
about eight years ago. My experience in retail obviously comes in control and quality assurance. The company also ensures social
handy in the sourcing work we do. accountability and green compliance on behalf
Christian May (CM): My background is more of its customers.
in logistics. Before joining Eurogroup, I did my
thesis on optimization of supply chains. My work How does a supplier get to work with you?
now focuses on processes, quality assurance We maintain a large supplier database and any
and integrating IT with our supplier base. supplier can offer products. We pre-screen sup-
pliers who provide matching products before we
What is Eurogroup? place any orders. We trade over 11,000 indi-
Eurogroup is one of the largest European buy- vidual items and work with over 1,000 suppliers.
ing offices with four shareholders, Rewe Group, Individual suppliers are audited and assigned to
BauMax, Coop Switzerland and most recently, a risk group. For example baby toys for below
Finnish DIY retailer, Rauta Kesko. The compa- three years of age are assigned to a high risk
nies are separate entities, but work together group. These groups are then audited and moni-
to gain buying synergy. The retailers that Eu- tored much more closely.
rogroup serves have a combined annual retail turnover of 60 bil-
lion Euros. Rewe is Germany’s fourth largest retailer, with over What types of green and CSR initiatives has Eurogroup un-
12,000 stores, while Coop is Switzerland’s second largest coop- dertaken?
erative retailer, with over 1500 stores. We do everything from introducing initiatives to reduce packag-
ing, comparing the environmental impact of changing materials,
Can you talk about your activities in China? to doing a lifecycle analysis to understand energy consumption
Eurogroup Far East Limited acts as the buying agent for all the through the life of a product. We have found ways to produce
shareholders and is able to create value by combining product green friendly products that are not necessarily more expensive.
12 JULY/AUGUST 2009 www.chainaonline.com
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