In the 2018/19 financial year, herb abd tee specialist Sonnentor achieved its strongest result ever in terms of sales, with 48 million euros. Sonnentor Kräuterhandels GmbH generated 46.4 million euros of this, the subsidiary Sonnen Tourismus another 1.6 million euros. All in all, a sales increase of over three percent was achieved, even though growth is not the goal of the organic pioneer.

“We strive for the common good, i.e. a good life for all. We have long since proven that ecologically and socially responsible management does not conflict with economic success,” explains Sonnentor founder Johannes Gutmann. His company was recently awarded the Best Business Award of the Danube-Moldau European Region. “A great success for Sonnentor and a great recognition for every single employee in our team,” emphasizes Gutmann.

Common Good Balance Sheet as a recipe for success

Since 2011 Sonnentor is a member of the ECG. Every two years a balance is drawn up, which makes all indicators concerning the inflationary used term “sustainability” actually measurable. An audit is also part of the assessment process. Sonnentor has meanwhile reached a proud 725 of a maximum of 1,000 points. For comparison: a “normal” company that adheres purely to the law and otherwise does not go one step further would have about 0 points. Thanks to the Common Good Balance Sheet, doing business becomes more transparent and comparable. “For many companies, when it comes to sustainability reports, the paper is worth more than the content presented. This is not acceptable. I hope that more companies will soon commit themselves to a rethink,” Gutmann points out.

Future goal: further strengthening of the location

For Sonnentor it is clear that the future of the company also lies in the Waldviertel region of Austria. For this reason, profits are always locally invested. In total, the last financial year saw a hefty 1.7 million euros. Among the major investments were the successful optimization of warehouse logistics, including a new packaging machine on which bestsellers such as turmeric, oregano and peppers have recently been packed. “Thanks to the reinforcement by means of a packing machine, we remain flexible and are also well prepared for the large quantities that are expected in the coming financial year due to the increasing demand,” the management agrees and adds: “We are sure that this mix of traditional manual work and the sensible use of machine packing is the right way forward – after all, it has already proven itself with our tea bags. Thus the popular “Try it!” packs, as well as loose teas, gift sets and numerous herbs will continue to be lovingly packed by hand”.

Two new stores by the end of the year

An additional confirmation of Sonnentor’s success is that two more stores will open in Austria by the end of the year. Sonnentor will be welcoming its fans in Dornbirn before the end of November, and in time for Christmas shopping, the herb specialist will also be present at the SCS. A special feature is that a new shop fitting concept will be implemented for the first time in these two branches. So fans can be sure of eventful visits full of enjoyment.

Sonnentor at a glance

Around 330 people work at Sonnentor in Sprögnitz in the Austrian Waldviertel, a traditionally structurally weak region. A further 150 are employed at the sister company in the Czech Republic. There are also further branches in Romania and Albania, as well as international cultivation projects, e.g. in Nicaragua and Tanzania. Due to the regionality lived out, a high proportion of the added value remains with the farmers themselves. About 300 organic farmers in Austria alone belong to the Sonnentor family. We have also gained many cultivation partners in the “Region World”. Thanks to our cooperation with Sonnentor, around 1,000 families worldwide find a livelihood. Around 67 percent of the products are exported and carry the sustainable company philosophy to over 50 countries. In total, there are now 30 Sonnentor shops in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic.