Our approach is to significantly reduce the climate-relevant emissions caused by our business operations and resulting from our supply chain as well as to decrease our consumption of natural resources1For the METRO AG holding company, the aspects of food waste and resource-efficient business operations are not material due to its business orientation, but rather only in relation to the operating units of the METRO group.. We do this by focusing on behavioural change (Energy Awareness Programme) and investment aimed at increasing our energy and resource efficiency (Energy Saving Programme). We also operate a global energy management system that identifies potential savings in our stores and monitors our overall savings targets. In financial year 2020/21, we reduced electricity consumption in our METRO stores by 7.8% in comparison to financial year 2018/19 and thus clearly exceeded our target of 5.4%2Effects of Covid-19 were observed only locally and with small fluctuations. We cannot quantify the exact impact of the pandemic on our energy consumption performance. Therefore, the key figures presented here as well as the conversions into CO2 equivalents were included in the reporting in relation to the base year 2011 or reporting period 2018/19. The corresponding assessments refer to this basis of comparison.. Furthermore, we are also converting our cooling systems to natural refrigerants (F-Gas Exit Programme), insofar as it is possible. This reduces our energy requirements as well as our costs. In financial year 2020/21, among other things, we invested €4 million in METRO’s Energy Saving Programme, which saves us approximately €1 million in energy costs each year.
Examples of measures in the overall area of environmental matters in the reporting period are:
- Transcritical ejector refrigeration plants were put into operation in Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania and Russia. In Russia, we also spent €1.9 million on optimising refrigeration units with glass doors in 18 wholesale stores to save energy. In total, we invested €31.8 million in the so-called F-Gas Exit Programme.
- Another 14 photovoltaic systems were installed in France, India, Italy, Pakistan, Spain and Hungary with a total additional capacity of 2,976 kWp.
- Charging stations for electric vehicles of METRO customers have been installed at 5 wholesale stores in Bucharest and Berlin-Friedrichshain, among others. In Portugal and Hungary, all METRO wholesale stores are now equipped with charging stations. At the Düsseldorf Campus, more than 260 employees already use electric vehicles as company cars, whose emissions are offset by certificates for hydroelectric power plants. In France and Italy, we have integrated another electric truck to each delivery fleet.
METRO uses an internal CO2 price of €50 per tonne of CO2, mainly to approve energy-efficient projects with lower financial savings. METRO is a member of the Task Force on Carbon Pricing in Europe, which aims to put a price on all relevant carbon emissions and thus achieve market- and competition-based decarbonisation. In addition, we carried out a climate change scenario analysis based on the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) method for the local and international supply chain of vegetables in the reporting period.
This is METRO’s response to risks identified in initial scenario analyses – as recommended by TCFD – in our business operations as well as in our supply chain:
- Physical risks resulting from extreme weather events and water stress (scarcity or flooding)
- Risks of business interruptions due to extreme weather events and risks caused by declining economic power
- Transition risks such as rising prices for CO2 emissions (with short-term impact on costs and product prices)
- Risks of resource scarcity and associated price increases (for example for agricultural products in the next 5 to 10 years)
- Risks caused by investments in new technologies (carbon-neutral cooling units planned worldwide until 2030) and investments in the generation of renewable energies (extensive installation of solar systems planned until 2030)
We incorporate these risks in our medium-term risk management and assess risks for sales and costs, particularly those based on rising prices and decreasing availability of resources, taking social concerns into account. No reportable risks as defined in § 289c Section 3 Sentence 1 Nos. 3 and 4 of the German Commercial Code (HGB) were identified.
Other key topics in relation to resource-efficient business operations are the prevention of waste, the recovery and recycling of waste materials and the reduction of water consumption. Compared to the previous year, we were able to reduce the volume of waste by 6.7% and the recycling rate is 63.3%. Water consumption decreased by 1.7% compared to the previous year. Overall, we met our target of saving 5% water compared to 2016/17, with a current reduction of 9.7%.
Reduction of food waste
In line with the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) target, we are committed to reducing food waste in our operations by 50% by 2025 compared to 2017. We measure, monitor and report progress against the Food Loss & Waste (FLW) Protocol and are confident of achieving our target. We are tackling food waste comprehensively, with a 5-pillar strategy from farm to table: (1) supplier engagement, (2) food waste reporting, (3) (technological) food waste solutions, (4) customer and partner engagement, and (5) stakeholder and industry engagement.
Key initiatives are helping us achieve our goal:
- In 22 countries, we work with food bank organisations to pass on unsold food to those in need. In 10 countries, we are working with TooGoodToGo to accomplish this goal and offer it as a solution for our customers. So far, this has ‘saved’ more than 180,000 meals, which corresponds to a saving of 450 tonnes of CO2.
- METRO is a member of the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) ‘10x20x30’ initiative, which calls on the world’s 10 largest food retailers to commit at least 20 of their suppliers to cutting their food waste in half by 2030, as outlined by United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12.3. METRO AG and METRO Turkey have already jointly engaged more than 30 suppliers.
- We work with various technical solutions to reduce food waste, depending on availability and demand. In Turkey, we use Whole Surplus to analyse food waste hotspots and disposal routes. In Poland, we are running a ‘Wasteless’ pilot project using artificial intelligence (AI) powered technology to adjust prices for perishable goods and thus reduce food waste in our stores.
New climate protection target by 2040
In 2021, we tightened our existing climate target: by 2040, we want to make our global business operations carbon neutral, mainly through our own initiatives. With the 37.3% savings we have achieved so far, we are on the right track. From October 2020 to September 2021, METRO generated 236 kg of CO2-equivalents per square metre of selling and delivery space. This compares to 247 kg in the same period last year. In 2019, METRO expanded the climate target to the supply chain and as the first German wholesale company set a recognised science-based target for itself. In it, METRO AG undertakes to reduce its Scope 1 and Scope 2 CO2 emissions by 60% per square metre of selling and delivery space by 2030 compared to 2011. A reduction of 34.1% has been achieved in this area since 2011. Furthermore, METRO AG is committed to reducing absolute Scope 3 CO2 emissions (supply chain) by 15% by 2030 compared to 2018. Our goals for Scope 1 and Scope 2 are thus in line with the reductions required to keep global warming well below 2°C by 2100 compared to pre-industrial levels.
1 For the METRO AG holding company, the aspects of food waste and resource-efficient business operations are not material due to its business orientation, but rather only in relation to the operating units of the METRO group.
2 Effects of Covid-19 were observed only locally and with small fluctuations. We cannot quantify the exact impact of the pandemic on our energy consumption performance. Therefore, the key figures presented here as well as the conversions into CO2 equivalents were included in the reporting in relation to the base year 2011 or reporting period 2018/19. The corresponding assessments refer to this basis of comparison.