Start of a long journey

Our company’s story starts in Hamburg in the year 1879 when Carl Friedrich Eduard Heinemann suggested to Heinrich Christian Carl Heinemann, his elder brother, that they set up a company to supply tax and duty free commodities to ship chandlers. The business enterprise was duly registered on 1st November 1879. That was the start of along and successful journey ...

Our Corporate Philosophy: Foundation of success and guidance for the future

For Gebr. Heinemann – a globally active, family-run business – a distinctive culture of values forms the basis for effective working relationships rooted in trust. Gebr. Heinemann employs 8,000 people around the world; the corporate philosophy serves as a guide, and as the foundation of success for their shared efforts.

It not only lays out the principles of cooperation and work practices, it also defines the mission and vision of Gebr. Heinemann. In a constantly evolving market environment, Gebr. Heinemann aims to be the first choice on the travel retail market by virtue of the vitality and long-term outlook of an independent family-run company. The result is a clear framework of reference that enables us to create the conditions for preserving our identity, enacting our values and, above all, establishing long-term partnerships based on trust with our employees, customers, suppliers and other market players. In short, we deal with our market participants in the same way we treat each other. The trading firm therefore supports customer journeys with the best multi-channel offers. Service and the shopper experience are continually enhanced, driving customer-related developments with innovative services spanning all sales channels.  

Our Vision 

The Heinemann Family. First Choice in Travel Retail. Worldwide.

Our Mission

We live and breathe service, and we create value in an inspiring and emotional way.

Our principles

The first principle is We are one family. Gebr. Heinemann is a family-run company, and we want to bring that family feel into the workplace. We are guided by family
values, we support and respect one another and we enjoy working with each other.

We lead through trust is the second principle. This principle not only applies to the managers, but also to the way each individual works and their basic attitudes. We are reliable, open, honest and we take responsibility for our actions. Trust must always be based on give and take.

Our successful development as a company over the years is down to the fact that we have always stuck to our course persistently, even when times were tough. Our goals are clear, and we understand that when you stop trying to get better, you stop being good. With this in mind, guiding principle number three in our mission is: We persevere.

We delight our customers is the fourth principle. This applies to our clients in both the retail and distribution areas. The principle implies that we are consistently personally committed to meeting customer demands, delivering unrivalled service and establishing long-term relationships. 

To find the path, you must know the destination

Gebr. Heinemann has expanded to employ 8,000 people today. To stay on course and steer the company safely through even the turbulent times, the Board of Directors has formulated five goals. These fundamental coordinates are designed to define the orientation and aspirations of Gebr. Heinemann while giving all staff a sense of direction.

  1. We want to remain a financially independent, family-run business in the long term.
  2. For every fiscal year and business area, we set targets that will enable us to expand the company assets and finance growth.
  3. We focus on the main business areas of international travel retail markets while continually developing our integrated distribution/retail business model.
  4. To retain our status as a leading company over the long term, we want to expand faster than the international travel retail market, as organically as possible.
  5. We aim to control participating interests by applying our business model and earnings targets.

Think and Rethink: The many facets of sustainability

Corporate Responsibility has been at the heart Gebr. Heinemann’s business for generations, because it builds on a dialogue with customers, business partners and suppliers, and not least with employees. What it calls for – lifting the individual’s personal sense of responsibility above the individual level to an overarching collective system – is an established element of the company culture at Gebr. Heinemann. The managers and employees of this family company with global operations apply its principles out of conviction.

The company's corporate responsibility strategy is framed by the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), one of the world’s largest-scale initiatives for responsible corporate leadership. In 2018, Gebr. Heinemann signed up to the UNGC. In doing so, we committed ourselves to integrating the UNGC’s ten universal sustainability principles on human rights, labour standards, the environ­ment and anti-corruption into our own corporate strategy. Practically, this means, a project group identifies approaches and develops ecologically sustainable solutions along the entire value chain of Gebr. Heinemann. This has led us to identify the following action areas as rethinking priorities for Gebr. Heinemann: retail, the workplace, and the natural environment.

Step by step, we have evolved from a local “corporate citizenship” approach to a very sincere way of questioning ourselves, our practices, our business environment and our contribution. We´ve experienced the demands have changed over the generations and are much more challenging today. Nevertheless, I would say, we don’t really separate out what Corporate Responsibility is. It is simply part of our DNA, part of our daily commitment and daily work. And this is solid basis for further development.

Claus, Max and Gunnar Heinemann

Think and Rethink – For the Retail Environment

Our sales locations are where all the material elements and aspects of our busi­ness model come together. This is the crucial sensitive point in the value chain, where our customers survey the range and make their choice, where we display our products and fulfil our customers’ desires, where the assortment increas­ingly consists of products that meet clearly defined sustainability criteria, where regional products start their journey from the local manufacturer into the world, and where we offer millions of travellers a treat to speed them on their way, or help them pick the perfect gift for their loved ones back at home.

Think and Rethink – For the Work Environment

Gebr. Heinemann is proud to be the only family business among the global leaders in the Travel Retail sector. This is our point of difference, and it shapes the way we work, each and every day. It is also reflected in our corporate principles, including our commitment to treat each other with respect and appreciation. Our leadership style is built on trust, through good times and bad. Worldwide, at all our locations and in our interactions with partners, we accept our responsibility for our work environment, with a strong values culture and relationships built on trust. Our key priorities in terms of HR management include diversity and equal opportunities, training and professional development for our employees, and occupational health and safety.

Think and Rethink – For the Natural Environment

Our activities in the environmental protection arena cover a wide spectrum – from office materials procurement according to environmental criteria and discouraging the use of plastic bags, through to high-tech solutions at our logistics locations that contribute to energy and emission savings. But here too, as elsewhere, we need to be constantly rethinking our approach and taking decisive action. The coming years will therefore see increasing efforts focused on the task of identifying, quantifying and measuring the material impacts of our business activities on the environment. Only then will we have the tools and information we need in order to reduce our environmental footprint. This will call for considerable effort and focus on the part of our employees and external partners, not to mention the allocation of specially earmarked resources.


Svenja Fischer
Corporate Responsibility Manager
+49 (40) 3010 22431