Our society faces unprecedented economic, environmental, social and cultural challenges. We are convinced that sustainability is the key to transforming these challenges into opportunities.
As a partner to independent business owners along the entire value chain, we do more for business-passionate people – in a responsible way. This reflects the core of our business and our sustainability approach METRO SUSTAINABLE.
Since our focus is on the food sector, this means improving our ‘foodprint’ while minimising our footprint. In concrete terms, this means: We strive to positively impact the availability, consistency, health and social and environmental safety of food, prevent food waste and make our product and service offerings more sustainable overall, as well as to provide efficient solutions to simplify our customers’ business activities. At the same time, we want to minimise our environmental and social footprint by responsibly managing people and resources and creating a positive impact on society overall.
It is our vision to make retail more sustainable along the value chain in our work with small and medium-sized independent suppliers and customers and in contact with consumers. By reconciling our needs and goals with the needs of nature, people and future generations, we can act responsibly, remain successful in the long term and overcome the conventional limits of growth. Through information, inspiration, motivation and support of our employees, customers and partners, this visionary approach has the potential to reach millions of people.
The guiding principles for us are the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals also form the global action framework for our corporate strategy, which is shaped by the principle of sustainability. Inspired by the SDGs, we have refined our sustainability approach. With our areas of responsibility (Empower) People, (Secure) Planet, (Unfold) Prosperity and (Enhance) Partnerships, we support the SDGs, in particular the goals in which we are most directly involved: 2 (Zero Hunger), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), 13 (Climate Action) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).
A responsible consumption of energy and other natural resources is crucial for all of us. The use of resources has a direct effect on our operating costs and may entail undesirable environmental implications, such as the emission of climate-damaging greenhouse gases. Our approach is to reduce the climate-relevant emissions caused by our business operations and our consumption of natural resources.1 We do this by focusing on behavioural change (Energy Awareness Programme) and investment aimed at increasing our energy efficiency (Energy Saving Programme). Wherever possible, we are also converting our cooling systems to natural refrigerants (F-Gas Exit Programmes). This reduces our energy requirements as well as our costs. In financial year 2017/18, among other things, we invested €10 million in METRO Wholesale’s Energy Saving Programme, which saves us approximately €2.8 million in energy costs each year.
1 Due to the company size and alignment (management), the aspect of environmental matters is not significant for the holding company, METRO AG.
Further key focal issues in relation to sustainable business operations are the prevention of waste, the reuse of resources and their recovery by means of recycling. The reduction of food waste is an issue of particular importance to the operations of METRO. METRO has therefore committed itself to the Resolution on Food Waste by the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) and thus to eliminate 50% of wasted food in our own operations by the year 2025 compared to 2016.
In order to offer our customers an assortment that meets their requirements, the availability, condition, quality and sustainability of our products play an important role. We have influence on this through direct contact with our suppliers as producers and manufacturers. By training small and medium-sized suppliers on aspects of food safety, hygiene, processing and implementation of fair working conditions, we enable them to meet relevant standards and thus help them merchandise their goods. This increases their revenue and simultaneously secures our product range.2
2 Due to the business alignment, supplier development is not a significant aspect for the holding company METRO AG.
Respect for human rights
Respect for human rights is one of the fundamental values of the METRO group, as formalised in our ‘Policy for Human Rights’. We pledge to respect all human rights, as set out in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of the International Labour Organization (ILO). This obligation applies to our own employees and to our business partners within our value chain.3
3 For the holding company METRO AG, the aspect of human rights in the supply chain is not essential owing to its business alignment but rather only in relation to its own employees.
Global labour and social standards in the supply chain
We aim to contribute to ensuring socially acceptable working conditions within our sourcing channels. Social standards systems enable us to take effective action against any potential violations. We will therefore require our producers to be audited in accordance with the supply chain management standard set out by the Amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative (Amfori BSCI) or an equivalent standard. This applies to all producers in certain high-risk countries (based on the Amfori BSCI rating) that manufacture imported goods for METRO SOURCING. It also applies to the producers of non-food items for our own-brand products and our own import products. All suppliers producing for us4 must prove at least acceptable audit results by 1 January 2019.
4 This includes merchandise producers (non-food own-brand products and own non-food imports) in high-risk countries that carry out the final significant value-creating production step, for example produce the final item of clothing.
In order to not only ensure the social requirements of our suppliers, but also to contribute to improving them and thereby further increasing the proportion of valid audits, METRO SOURCING works with our local producers and supports them through training courses designed to understand and comply with social standards.