Environment field of action

Our mission: Our actions should have as little impact on the environment as possible and should conserve resources.

Under the motto of ‘Acting responsibly’, Real is actively committed to protecting the climate and the environment. The company’s goal is to use resources as sparingly as possible and promote environmentally sound production processes.

Climate protection target for 2030

Climate protection target 2030, image credits: real, – SB-Warenhaus GmbH (line chart)

Real set itself a clear climate protection target back in 2011: Real wanted to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 16% per square metre of selling space by 2020 compared to the reference year 2011. Appropriate measures were implemented so successfully that it became obvious that this target would be achieved by Real much earlier than in 2020. In order to make further efforts for the benefit of climate protection, Real set itself a new goal in early 2016: it wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions per square metre of selling space by at least 50% by 2030 compared to 2011. In financial year 2017/18, the company reduced its carbon emissions by 36% per square metre of selling space compared to the previous year. Further specific measures are being planned in various areas in order to achieve the climate protection target for 2030, for instance in energy management, food refrigeration and lighting.

Certified according to DIN EN ISO 50001 – Real’s energy management system

To continuously reduce energy consumption as well as CO2 emissions while improving energy efficiency, METRO AG and Real introduced a group-wide energy management system which they had certified according to DIN EN ISO 50001.

Improving energy efficiency is a group-wide task which cannot be accomplished by the people in charge of energy issues alone. Energy and climate protection are matters that must be tackled by all employees. Every single person can make an important contribution to saving energy and in this way help to protect the environment and achieve the company’s target. For this reason, Real regularly calls on its employees to actively participate in the development and implementation of the energy-related improvements, especially within their own scope of duties. Ideas on the subject can be found in the company’s own energy saving guidelines or the ‘Gewusst wie spart Energie!’ e-learning programme. Information on the company’s energy policy, the ISO certification and its energy management system in general is available for all employees on the intranet.

Reducing packaging

As part of its sustainability strategy, Real takes measures to avoid and recycle waste along the entire value chain as well as reduce packaging materials that are harmful for the environment. The measures include the promotion of environmentally friendly products and packaging as well as active involvement in avoiding and reducing them and returning them to the cycle of materials.

The company has demanded measures to reduce packaging material and recycle packaging for years, especially from its own-brand manufacturers. The respective internal guidelines are continuously improved and revised. The purchasing strategy for packaging is based on the 5 principles of removing, reducing, reusing, renewing and recycling.

Reusable packaging at Real’s fresh-food service counters

Scheme: freshness unpacked (photo)

After successfully handing out fresh products in reusable packaging provided by the customers in the Gotha (Thuringia), Dreieich (Frankfurt metropolitan area) and Pentling (Bavaria) stores on a trial basis, Real began with the expansion of this concept to all stores in summer 2018. The same applies to serving coffee in reusable cups. Due to the strict hygienic requirements, detailed and mandatory procedures have been developed. Each store must coordinate these procedures with the respective local food monitoring authority in advance.

FairCup – reusable packaging in a closed cycle

Real takes innovative approaches in its search for alternative packaging concepts in the fresh-food segment. As part of a pilot trial, the 2 stores in Göttingen have supported a deposit system for packaging since August 2018. The idea, which was developed by the start-up FairCup, is simple: customers order their goods at the fresh-food counter and choose the returnable FairCup which is available in different sizes. The item is weighed in the cup and sealed with a sticker. At the checkout, the customer pays for the item plus the deposit and takes the closed cup home. Once the cup is empty, it can be returned at the reverse vending machines in the Real stores in Göttingen, just like a deposit bottle. The customer receives a credit voucher which he or she can set off against the next purchase. Cup and lid can be used up to 500 times and are completely recyclable afterwards.

Up until now, the reusable cups have been available at about 100 sales outlets in the Göttingen area. With the 2 Real stores, the first major retail company has become a project partner.

Avoiding packaging in the fruit and vegetable section

Returnable packaging FairCup (photo)

Since September 2018, Real has provided reusable string bags in a few stores as part of another pilot project. They can be used in lieu of the conventional small plastic bags in the fruit and vegetable section. The company also constantly talks to fruit and vegetable suppliers and tests packaging alternatives and alternative materials such as grass paper bowls or sleeves.