Commitment to our employees

More than 146,000 employees in 35 countries exemplify the success of METRO. Their dedication and the decisions they take in their everyday work generate added value for our customers and for society. Additionally, they are valuable ambassadors for our sustainability approach, METRO SUSTAINABLE. In keeping with our sustainable approach to corporate management, we therefore see it as our duty to create and maintain an attractive, fair and safe working environment. We strive to appreciate the individuality of our employees, foster their diversity through inclusion and strengthen their personal responsibility. In addition, we care for their personal and professional development and encourage creativity and innovation. In this way, we help them to implement our corporate strategy successfully and sustainably, and can be a preferred employer for existing and future employees.

Promoting and embedding sustainability awareness

We encourage our employees to apply our corporate principles on a day-to-day basis. This also includes to think ahead, develop sustainable solutions and to act responsibly. Our shared values are embedded in our 5 guiding principles:

  • Customer success
  • Power of relationships
  • Sustainable business
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership by example

The employees’ individual performances are also assessed every year as part of the Results & Growth process with respect to how these principles were complied with.

METRO Sustainability Day (photo)

With initiatives such as METRO Sustainability Day, which was conducted for the fourth time on the METRO Campus and in numerous METRO countries in 2018, we provide our employees with inspiration for all kinds of sustainability issues in workshops, presentations and exhibitions, and motivate them to take action themselves.

In addition, the International Days officially declared by the United Nations such as World Water Day, World Environment Day, World Oceans Day and Word Food Day make it possible to draw attention to specific sustainability issues.

In this respect, METRO’s internal social media platform United is a suitable tool for communicating sustainability-related content and knowledge.

Examples from the countries

METRO Italy: active against food waste

Conscientious food handling and the fight against food waste is a core theme of METRO. At the occasion of Italy’s national day against food waste on 5 February, the employees of METRO Italy worked out practical tips on how leftovers can be avoided during daily meal preparation and consumption. METRO ambassadors and executives especially appointed for the occasion have made them available to all colleagues –in the wholesale stores and via social media.

World Water Day

International World Water Day (graphic)

21 METRO countries participated in the METRO Water Initiative 2018 as part of World Water Day on 22 March. Countries like Ukraine and Serbia made employees and retail customers equally aware of global water scarcity concerns, and through their activities and information contribute to a responsible handling of water resources.

METRO Ukraine: International Day of Charity

METRO Volunteer Day (photo)

5 September is International Day of Charity of the UN – and for us a soon-to-be global METRO Volunteer Day. In 2018, the first actions started in various venues, including at the Düsseldorf Campus and in Austria, Portugal and Pakistan. Together with a local food bank, METRO Ukraine initiated an aid programme for the elderly in need. To fit the occasion, employees distributed care packages and organised a flash mob under #letshelpbabushkas. In addition, girls and boys from large families were invited to an event at the wholesale store. The METRO Volunteer Day is to be expanded to a Volunteer Week in 2019.

Ambassadors of sustainability

METRO Sustainable Leadership Program (photo)

The METRO Sustainable Leadership Program (MSLP) lets young executives experience the close connection between sustainability and leadership responsibility – vis-a-vis themselves and their colleagues as well as other partners. This programme encourages them to integrate sustainability into their day-to-day work. The programme was conducted for the fourth time in financial year 2017/18. 29 participants from various sales brands as well as METRO AG and its cross-divisional service companies develop sustainability-related projects which are to be implemented within the next 18 months. Through their work, the employees thus become ambassadors of sustainability, highlighting the relevance of this issue to the various business divisions. In addition, the network of participants inspires people to collaborate and exchange knowledge across the various sales lines.

To better embed social and ecological concerns with all our employees around the world, the METRO national subsidiaries are setting up their own sustainability committees. These lay down strategic directions and stake out major goals to be met. The first national bodies were set up in China and France. Meanwhile, regular events are also being staged in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The latest countries to officially set up a domestic sustainability committee are Spain and Japan.

METRO Sustainability Day in the Czech Republic (photo)

On a local level, so-called Sustainability Ambassadors are frequently available as a first contact point for employees. Among other things, they organise measures and events in wholesale stores and/or at head offices. In May 2018, for example, all Czech and Slovak Sustainability Ambassadors congregated in Brno. Inspired by the sustainably built meeting site, they kicked off new ideas, with a focus on the topics of food waste and plastic waste prevention.

In Hungary, 1 participant of the METRO Sustainability Leadership Program, László Baltás, raised the initiative to a new level in 2018: as the Store Sustainability Ambassador 2.0, he focused particularly on environmental issues and has already kicked off a series of concrete steps, including on waste prevention and energy-saving.

Fair and safe working conditions for our employees

Fair working conditions (Logo)

To meet its corporate diligence under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, in 2012 METRO created its own guidelines on fair working conditions and social partnership. They are based on the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, on the key labour standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and on the 3 main principles of the Consumer Goods Forum’s Resolution on Forced Labour. These include the principles of freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, the ban on forced labour, child labour and discrimination, structured working hours and wages, occupational health and safety management.

The objective is to guarantee sustainably good working conditions for the employees, in so doing contributing to the growth of the company.

To ensure that our sales lines and national subsidiaries comply with our guidelines on fair working conditions, we keep an eye on our head offices, markets and logistics centres. To improve working conditions in the national subsidiaries, concrete plans are worked out with local colleagues in which measures with clear responsibilities and timetables are laid down and followed up. Since financial year 2016/17, lengthy checks on compliance with METRO principles were conducted in 11 national subsidiaries (Pakistan, Bulgaria, China, Japan, Hungary, Italy, Serbia, India, Slovakia, Moldova and Spain). In many respects, the results were encouraging although potential for improvements was found, especially in the field of occupational safety. The checks in situ were supplemented by comprehensive management training sessions on the METRO guidelines on fair working conditions in which responsible executives were given more profound training on awareness creation, risk background and concrete risk categories. In addition, in financial year 2015/16, e-learning was introduced in the company to make employees more sensitive to fair working conditions and social partnership, and to underpin and communicate the basic position of our company. By 30 September 2018, no less than 6,834 employees had already undergone this training.

Since October 2016, the handling of data protection-relevant information, the participation of and communication with employees, and the possibilities of creating remedial measures are also being assessed. Moreover, the guidelines on fair working conditions and social partnership also provide for the integration of interest groups such as the works councils and employees of service providers who operate in our stores and office premises.

For financial year 2018/19, checks in 6 further national subsidiaries are scheduled. METRO has set itself the goal to complete the inspection of all METRO Wholesale national subsidiaries up to 2020 and shift to a sustainable self-controlling process in these countries thereafter.

To ensure the transnational social involvement of the employees and safeguard their right to collective labour wage agreements and organising in unions, the Euro Forum performs the function of the European works council of METRO. In addition, METRO collaborates with the international union umbrella organisation UNI Global Union.

Occupational safety and health management

The demographic development, the profound changes in the working environment and the increasingly acute competition over qualified human resources require from us promising and far-sighted concepts for occupational safety and a viable health management. Hence, we have laid down unambiguous guidelines and support a safe and healthy working environment for our employees and business partners. In this way, we intend to further reduce accident rates and occupational illnesses and selectively promote performance and motivation among our employees in the long term.

In order to identify areas with high accident rates or especially vulnerable groups of people, evaluate causes of accidents and define targeted countermeasures, the German METRO companies have implemented appropriate reporting which covers 97% of the employees at the German METRO companies in financial year 2017/18. For the above companies, it was possible to reduce the number of accidents compared to financial year 2016/17.

What is important to us is to raise the awareness of our employees that occupational safety is the responsibility of everyone. For this reason, we organised many programmes and events on the topics of nutrition, sport, preventive medical care and psychic health in our sales lines and service companies. In our METRO Wholesale national subsidiaries, employees who are responsible for occupational safety and health management cooperate increasingly in an international network broken down into 4 working groups on different topics, in order to discuss and improve health protection and industrial safety measures and achieve near-term benefits for employees. In financial year 2017/18, we made progress in various areas. Thus, we were able among other things to set up a structured test process for high-rise racks and produce first drafts for a standard process for forklift drivers and maintenance. A unified standard for basic industrial safety equipment was also developed, along with initial approaches to a uniform concept for the safe handling and storage of hazardous substances.

Measures and guidelines

For financial year 2018/19, we have set ourselves the goal to implement accident reporting throughout the group up to the end of the financial year and to continuously improve data quality. METRO AG pushes these general issues in a targeted manner – in close coordination with the occupational health and safety officers, who effect their own measures in their respective areas of responsibility. Regular project development status reports are generated and checks are performed to make sure the projects can be applied internationally. More in-depth information concerning our efforts for our employees and our company’s personnel policy is provided in the ‘employees’ chapter in the METRO Annual Report 2017/18.

In addition, we are publishing employee figures relating to sustainability online in the chapter on key performance indicators of this METRO Corporate Responsibility Report 2017/18.

Diversity and inclusion

METRO reflects the diversity of its customers and business partners by means of its individuality and diversity as well as respect for and recognition of all visible and invisible differences, and creates a fair and efficient corporate culture which is constantly developing and challenging itself. Through our diversity approach we also support SDG 5, that is, the goal of achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, as well as SDG 10: by way of our approach to inclusion, we help reduce all forms of inequality.

Our activities

Women in Trade

METRO employee network Women in Trade (logo)

This is also the objective of the METRO employee network Women in Trade (WiT). WiT regards itself as a catalyst for change in gender diversity. The network offers men and women the chance to contribute their specific knowledge and expertise – for example, at the annual conference in March 2018 on the topic of passion and business owners. WiT functions equally as a discussion forum and initiator for the company and thus contributes to promoting gender equality.

In financial year 2017/18, WiT grew further: in 6 METRO countries (Germany, Portugal, France, Pakistan, Japan and China), local Women in Trade networks have meanwhile been established. Thanks to numerous activities such as monthly network luncheons, exchanges on business issues as well as mentoring and training offers, WiT was able to win many new members in the reporting period. There are currently some 600 employees within the network.


METROPride (logo)

Sexual preferences or identity should not constitute a restriction, neither at home nor at work. Everybody should be able to profess their orientation without fear, also at work. That is why METRO PRIDE provides a forum for this topic – for greater openness, exchange and public visibility. The employee-created network offers information, support and draws attention to the subject.

METRO Pakistan and UN Women empower women at work

To improve the economic position of women, the national subsidiary in Pakistan will in future cooperate with UN Women. On 28 June 2018, METRO Pakistan signed the 7-stage ‘Women’s Empowerment Principles to promote Women in Trade (WiT)’. Among the first actions in 2018 were job training measures for women as well as training sessions on preventing sexual harassment. In March, there were round-table discussions and workshops on the topic ‘Be Bold – Beyond Boundaries’ as part of Women’s Week. In 2019, the focus is to be on homework, livestock management and hygiene.

LEAD Network

Leading Executives Advancing Diversity network (logo)

LEAD (Leading Executives Advancing Diversity) pursues objectives similar to those of WiT. The network, which METRO joined in 2016, promotes the empowerment of women in the retail and food industries in Europe. 120 METRO employees are already active members of the network. Since 2016, our company is represented in the management body of the LEAD Network Germany Chapter. One of the regular events of the network took place in September 2018 under the motto ‘Doing not Trying’ at the METRO Campus in Düsseldorf.

MAKRO Spain in support of inclusion

Better integrating people with physical or mental disabilities into the job market and giving them new prospects as a result: that was the objective of 2 trade fairs held in Barcelona and Madrid in 2018. MAKRO Spain was represented at both fairs for the first time to signal its approval of inclusion. Attendance is also planned for 2019. MAKRO Spain also grants scholarships for disabled people in conjunction with the Adecco Foundation.

METRO-NOM canvasses IT talents and engages in diversity

With a campaign for the recruitment of technical talent at the Berlin site, METRO-NOM drew lots of publicity in 2018. Since May, the IT section of METRO has been operating under this name from, among other sites, a central hub in the German capital. The new location and new profile are intended to raise its attractiveness for IT specialists. METRO-NOM is setting an example of greater variety, among other things. At the occasion of Girls’ Day, for example, hub employees introduced girl students to the construction and coding of robots.

Women in Leadership

METRO AG has set itself the objective to further expand the proportion of women in executive positions. By June 2022, this share is to reach 20% at the first level and 35% at the second level below the Management Board. In addition, the Supervisory Board set itself the target to appoint one woman to the Management Board by 2022. At the current occupancy rate of 4 persons, this translates into a ratio of 25%. A Diversity and Inclusion Committee established in 2017 was entrusted with elaborating a long-term strategy to emphasise the importance of variety in and for our company. Together with the Management Board of METRO AG, individual targets were laid down for the national subsidiaries and cross-divisional service companies. Progress to reach these goals is monitored by means of defined key performance indicators.

Furthermore, METRO has inaugurated the Women Leadership Program (WLP) in 2018, which was specially designed to foster female talent and aims at supporting the development of competence and to master major leadership challenges which female executives are faced with in our industry day after day. This programme contributes to increase the visibility of top talent among women and to build up a strong talent pipeline for women, especially in an operative business environment. WLP is expected to continuously increase the ratio of women in executive positions, among other things. Since June 2018, 11 participants from 7 METRO countries have worked on 4 modules of the pilot project:

  1. Strengthening personal leadership profiles
  2. Developing and demonstrating strategic thinking
  3. Negotiating and including stakeholders
  4. Communicating effectively

The programme is to be introduced internationally in early 2019.

Own Business Girls

Poster Own Business Girls (photo)

The innovative Own Business Girls campaign at the company headquarters in Düsseldorf doesn’t wait for women to enter the workforce, but takes up the cause at an earlier phase of life. The international METRO Own Business Study showed that the interest in entrepreneurial independence is great: almost every second woman polled (45%) dreams of founding her own company. But only 12% of these women consider it ‘very likely’ that they will actually put this intention into practice. For this reason, METRO set a motivating example for female entrepreneurism on the occasion of International Women’s Day on 8 March 2018 and started the Own Business Girls campaign: all 11 girls who were born in Düsseldorf on this day received their first business card, along with starting capital of €2,000, as a time deposit at an interest rate of 2% per annum, for their future start in professional independence. HypoVereinsbank, a member of UniCredit, is METRO’s partner in this campaign. As of their 18th birthday, the girls can draw on the funds and lay an additional foundation stone for their future.