Human rights and labour standards

PRINCIPLE 1: Support for human rights

PRINCIPLE 4: Elimination of all forms of forced labour

PRINCIPLE 2: Elimination of human rights abuses

PRINCIPLE 5: Abolition of child labour

PRINCIPLE 3: Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining

PRINCIPLE 6: Elimination of discrimination

Commitments and management systems


Measures 2017/18


Achievements 2017/18

METRO Business Principles

METRO guideline for human rights in its own business operations and throughout the supply chain

Anti-discrimination tenet

METRO guidelines on fair working conditions and social partnership

Code of Conduct for Business Partners

International standards throughout the supply chain (BSCI)

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh 2.0

Key labour standards of the ILO (International Labour Organization), embedded in a variety of corporate guidelines

Social standards clause in supplier contracts

OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, embedded in a variety of corporate guidelines

The Consumer Goods Forum’s Resolution on Forced Labour

The Consumer Goods Forum’s Resolution on Health & Wellness


The producers in defined risk countries (according to the assessment of the amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative [BSCI]) in which METRO own brands or own imports in non-food areas are manufactured, are supported in implementing the amfori BSCI standard or an equivalent system of social standards.

Publication of the new overarching METRO guideline for human rights in its own business operations and throughout the supply chain

Jointly with amfori BSCI, development of a special one-day training on the subject of forced labour, designed to increase the ability of METRO employees to recognise, treat and prevent potential and/or actual cases of forced labour. The training is to be carried out in all METRO countries by the end of September 2020.

Auditing of the METRO country organisations for compliance with guidelines on fair working conditions and social partnership. Project to run until 2020 with the aim of auditing up to 6 country organisations annually.

Social dialogue at the local level is an important element in order for METRO to build up good labour relations.

Development of new diversity and inclusion training for all employees, with the aim of ensuring a common understanding of diversity and inclusion in general and at METRO in particular. Beyond this, the business impact of diversity and inclusion on METRO and its managers will be examined.

METRO is a member of Charta der Vielfalt e. V. As a member of the Rhine-Ruhr Diversity Network, METRO organised a joint event under the motto of ‘Vielfalt statt Einfalt – Digitalisierung, Kompetenzen und Diversity’ (Diversity, not simplicity – digitalisation, competencies and diversity) on the occasion of Germany’s 6. Diversity Day. Some 100 managers from the member companies were invited to experience the importance of this issue for their management tasks in many different ways.

By 30 June 2022, the proportion of women within METRO AG is to reach at least 20% in the first management level below the Management Board, and at least 35% in the second level below the Management Board.

In addition, METRO started the Women Leadership Program (WLP) in 2018. After successful testing in a pilot programme in June 2018, preparations are now under way for global implementation in early 2019.

The employee network Women in Trade (WiT) is instrumental in sustainably increasing the proportion of women in managerial positions, promoting internal and external dialogue, and creating better underlying conditions for women within the group. WiT has opened 6 foreign branches. Through local activities, the country networks in France, Portugal, Japan, Pakistan, Germany and China contribute to the common goal. There are now around 588 network members in the Düsseldorf location.

The employee network METRO PRIDE for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people aims to raise awareness of the topics of sexual orientation and identity.

Since 2017, METRO AG has additionally been a member of PROUT AT WORK.

Since 2016, METRO AG has additionally been a member of the international LEAD Network.

In May 2018, METRO AG and METRO-NOM signed the United Nations ‘Free & Equal LGBTI Standards of Conduct for Business. The aim of these Standards of Conduct is to guarantee the freedom and equality of all employees and ensure that they don’t experience discrimination of any kind – at the company itself, in associated collectives or by suppliers.

For details of active involvement in the areas of diversity and inclusion, occupational health and safety, and employer-employee relations, see also the ‘employees’ chapter of the Annual Report 2017/18.


Of the 1,274 audited amfori BSCI-relevant factories, 92% passed the social audit in accordance with amfori BSCI specifications.

In addition to the training programmes offered by amfori BSCI, 160 producers with 218 participants were trained by METRO SOURCING.

See key figure for social audits related to METRO own brands or own imports in the non-food areas

Pilot run at METRO Turkey and METRO Pakistan of the training on the subject of forced labour

Sales of fair-trade products within the METRO and Real sales lines in Germany came to approx. €13.4 million. This figure includes items featuring the Fairtrade or the GEPA label.

To fulfil our due diligence, in 2016 we launched a project to audit country organisations with regard to adherence to the principles of fair labour conditions and social partnership. In the framework of the project, our international METRO stores, head offices and METRO distribution centres are audited. This expanded auditing is based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and – along with the 7 global principles of METRO concerning fair labour conditions and social partnership – encompasses issues including employee data protection and the quality of integration of, and communication with, employees. As these METRO guidelines explicitly include the employees of third-party contractors on our company grounds, these employees are also included in our audits.

The auditing process is designed to ensure that our companies are not involved, either directly or indirectly, in human rights violations. Our goal is to audit all METRO Wholesale organisations worldwide by 2020 in order to identify weaknesses, develop countermeasures and ultimately translate these into a sustainable process, as well as to create sustained awareness of these issues. The first audits were carried out in 2014 in the METRO countries Turkey, Poland and Austria with the assistance of the Group Internal Audit department. In October 2016, the pilot was conducted in the Ukraine. The full project was launched in 2017 with audits in the METRO countries Pakistan, Bulgaria, China, Japan Hungary, Italy and Serbia. In 2018, additional audits took place in the METRO countries India, Slovakia, Moldova, Spain and Russia.

The principles of fair labour conditions and social partnership include the freedom of association and the recognition of the right to collective bargaining. In the scope of the audit on the adherence to the principles of fair labour conditions and social partnership, anonymised discussions were held with labour representatives/trade union members, our own employees and employees of third-party suppliers in order to determine how the principle of the freedom of association is being implemented in the respective country, and whether and to what extent a structured and regular social dialogue is taking place. Furthermore, 3 to 4 meetings of the European Works Councils are held annually to facilitate exchange between various countries and General Management.

Establishment of a working group structure within the skilled international workforce to address occupational health and safety and the joint development and implementation of international guidelines for the creation and maintenance of a healthy and safe work environment. In financial year 2017/18, these working groups gave rise to the development of a standard auditing process for safe high racks and unified processes for the safe palletising and loading of goods, a transnational overview of standards for personal protective gear provided to employees and a guideline for the classification and handling of hazardous materials, as well as an additional contract clause for external companies including a clear requirement with regard to occupational health and safety.

To make people more aware of the fact that occupational health and safety is the responsibility of all employees, we have taken part since 2016 in the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, an initiative of the International Labour Organization (ILO), with various employee activities. A number of countries conducted activities related to these events at a later time.

The proportion of women at management levels 1 to 3 was 21.8% on the reporting date, 30 September 2018.