Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the community of nations. In an acknowledgement of this fact, countries that are part of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change signed the Paris climate agreement on 12 December 2015. In taking this step, they pledged to launch efforts designed to keep the rise of global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius compared with preindustrial levels and to take steps to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees. A rise of 2 degrees would threaten the Earth’s ecosystems and endanger biological diversity and the livelihoods of millions of people.
REWE Group understands its responsibility for the climate: A large portion of global CO2 emissions is created during the production and consumption of products as well as the provision of services. Greenhouse gases are also produced in stores, logistics and business locations. As part of the materiality analysis updated in 2018, stakeholders confirmed the importance of climate protection measures for REWE Group: The issue was classified as particularly relevant and was ranked No. 2 in priority (for other information, see the section materiality analysis).
At the same time, the business operations of REWE Group are also affected to different degrees by climate change. Climate change, increased rainfall and storms can negatively impact its business locations and affect the products and services of REWE Group, a company whose business depends on the long-term and reliable availability of food. Extreme weather events and changing climate conditions can threaten the cultivation and harvest of raw materials, a development that could drive up prices. In travel and tourism, climate change can pose a threat to entire destinations over the long term. In particular, these areas include islands, coastal regions and ski resorts.
To permanently integrate sustainability into its company processes, REWE Group has developed an all-encompassing sustainability strategy that is made up of four main sustainability pillars: Green Products; Energy, Climate and the Environment; Employees; and Social Involvement. As part of the pillar Energy, Climate and the Environment, REWE Group has set the strategic goal of making a measurable contribution to climate and resource protection or, at the very least, keeping impacts on the climate and environment to a minimum.
The efforts that REWE Group has undertaken in terms of climate and resource protection are included in the Guidelines for Sustainable Business Practices. The pillar of sustainability Energy, Climate and the Environment focuses in essence on environmentally relevant activities that lie in REWE Group’s own business processes. These include the construction and operation of stores, warehouses, administration offices, production sites, logistics operations as well as resources and materials needed for the company’s own business operations. REWE Group strives to use resources sparingly and to increase the amount of recycled and sustainable materials it employs.
Saving energy and avoiding the use of climate-damaging emissions are top priorities at the company. In a reflection of this, REWE Group has introduced a central energy management system to oversee its efficiency measures, has used green power since 2008, taps the optimisation potential of logistics and has applied a holistic sustainability approach since 2009 with its Green Building concept. Each year, REWE Group reviews its progress in a carbon footprint report, a document that is prepared by independent experts.
In its strategy process, REWE Group identified the following three areas of action in the pillar Energy, Climate and the Environment: energy efficiency, climate-relevant emissions and conservation of resources. The management of all areas of activity is conducted by the project group Energy, Climate and the Environment. All sales lines and relevant holding areas are represented in the group. The project group is led by Mr Telerik Schischmanow (Divisional Management Board Trade Germany – Administration and Services).
To measure its progress in the pillar Energy, Climate and the Environment, REWE Group has defined various KPIs with related targets. In 2013, REWE Group modified the climate goals it set in 2009. As a result, the company is now working to cut its greenhouse gas emissions per square metre of sales area in half by 2022 compared with the base year 2006.
|Greenhouse gas emissions
(CO2 equivalents) for Germany and Austria per square metre of sales area
|A 50% cut by 2022
compared with 2006
|-43.0%||See the section
In addition to setting the overarching climate goal, REWE Group has defined two KPIs that are used to monitor the effectiveness of measures for energy efficiency and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: These KPIs focus on activities that are responsible for large amounts of consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and that REWE Group can directly impact by taking its own measures: energy efficiency (lighting and refrigeration) and refrigerant-related greenhouse gas emissions.
|Electricity consumption per square metre of sales area (in kWh/m²) in Germany and Austria||Reduction of 7.5% between 2012 and 2022||-9.2 %||See the section Energy|
|Refrigerant-related greenhouse gas emissions per square metre (in kg of CO2 equivalent/m²) in Germany and Austria||Reduction of 35% between 2012 and 2022||-36.2 %||See the section Climate Protection|
With this result, REWE Group in Germany and Austria hit the target for 2022 in 2018. For the KPI on electricity consumption per square metre of sales area, the use of LEDs, measures for energy-efficient refrigeration as well as construction and remodelling activities have played a key role. Overall, this success reflects the effectiveness of the energy management systems that have been put into place. For the KPI on refrigerant-related greenhouse gas emissions per square metre of sales area, the use of climate conscious refrigerating agents made a major contribution to the achievement of the target. These agents are increasingly natural refrigerants like CO2 and propane with lower greenhouse gas potential.
REWE Group continues to work on activities to improve both KPIs. The investments that must be made in new technologies and processes to achieve this goal have already been approved by the strategic business units and the subject-specific holding areas. On the basis of this work, steps for future reporting periods are coordinated. The progress made towards reaching the goals and the impact of the measures are reviewed annually.
With its commitment to the pillar Energy, Climate and the Environment, REWE Group is also contributing to global goals of sustainable development. A comparison of the sustainability strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) shows that, above all, SDG 7: Renewable Energy, SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities and SDG 13: Climate Action apply to the pillar Energy, Climate and the Environment. As part of this analysis, the SDG 7: Renewable Energies was given a high priority for REWE Group by sustainability officers of REWE Group and external stakeholders (see the section Sustainability Strategy).