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. On the other hand, 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, 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.
The strategic objective will be to make an active contribution to climate and resource protection or, at the very least, to keep impacts on the climate and environment to a minimum. This commitment is clearly spelled out in the Guidelines for Sustainable Business Practices of REWE Group. The pillar of sustainability “Energy, Climate and the Environment” focuses in essence on environmentally relevant activities that lie in REWE Group’s individual area of responsibility. 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 business needs. In these areas, 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 have been made top priorities at REWE Group. 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. 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. Each year, REWE Group reviews its progress in a carbon footprint report, a document that is prepared by independent experts. 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 was created in 2016 and has been led since then by Mr Telerik Schischmanow (Divisional Management Board Trade Germany – Administration and Services).
The REWE Group identified three areas of action in the pillar “Energy, Climate and the Environment”. These areas were reviewed in the strategy process for food retail in Germany and approved in principle for the entire REWE Group. The names of the areas of action have been slightly changed. They are now called: “energy efficiency”, “climate-relevant emissions”, “conservation of resources”. The review of the areas of action was part of a comprehensive strategy project in 2016 in which individual sales lines more carefully adapt their sustainability activities to the specific requirements of their different business models (for more information, see section Strategy).
REWE Group has set the goal of cutting its greenhouse gas emissions per square metre of sales area in half by 2022 compared with 2006.
Status 2017 : The company lowered its specific greenhouse gas emissions in Germany and Austria by 40.3 per cent between 2006 and 2017 (unit: carbon dioxide equivalents per square metre of sales area).
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:
KPI 1 : lowering electricity usage per square metre of sales area (as measured in kWh/m2) by 7.5 per cent between 2012 and 2022.
Status 2017 : The company lowered its specific energy consumption level in Germany and Austria by 6.6 per cent between 2012 and 2017.
KPI 2 : reducing refrigerant-related greenhouse gas emissions per square metre of sales area (in kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents/m²) by 35 per cent between 2012 and 2022
Status 2017 : The company lowered its refrigerant-related greenhouse gas emissions per square metre of sales area in Germany and Austria by 27.9 per cent between 2012 and 2017.
The KPIs focus on activities in relation to energy, climate and the environment. These are areas where significant levels of consumption occur and where REWE Group can have a direct impact by taking its own measures: electricity consumption (especially lighting and refrigeration) and refrigerant-related greenhouse gas emissions.
The goals of each strategic business unit and holding area in Germany and Austria are put into concrete terms and anchored in binding targets. The investments that must be made in new technologies and processes to achieve this goal are determined by the strategic business units and the holding areas themselves. 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) (see section Strategy) shows that, above all, SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities and SDG 13: Climate Action apply to the pillar Energy, Climate and the Environment.