REWE Group obtains a broad range of products and product components from sources located inside and outside Germany. To improve the environmental impact along the supply chain, REWE Group considers observance of environmental standards when it selects its suppliers and business partners. It also works with its suppliers and business partners to make supply chains more transparent and production more environmentally conscious. With the Guideline for Sustainable Business Practises, REWE Group has formulated the principles of its business relationships. Its environmental principles include:
The principles apply both to the company’s own business processes and to those of REWE Group’s business partners and suppliers. REWE Group reserves the right to apply sanctions when the principles contained in the Guideline for Sustainable Business Practices are deliberately and flagrantly breached.
To identify significant environmental impacts and to take appropriate steps in product supply chains that, on occasion, can be both complex and global, REWE Group has set up a strategic process that bundles the various strategies related to the pillar Green Products.
Activities relating to environmental standards in the supply chain are included in the “Strategy Green Products 2030”, which was newly developed in 2017 for REWE and PENNY in Germany under the area of action “conservation of resources”. The content of the area of action will be implemented using the overarching management approach that defines the principles and instruments for implementing measures. (link to Management Approach).
The objective of the area of action “conservation of resources” is the protection of natural resources and the preservation of biodiversity along the supply chains. The focus issues of circular economy, biodiversity and water have been defined, and specific work is being carried out on these.
In order to make progress in the area of action “conservation of resources” measurable, the following key performance indicators for store brands have been defined (for more information, see the overarching Management Approach Green Products):
KPI 1: By the end of 2030, 100 per cent of relevant food and non-food producers are to be integrated into an environmental programme
KPI 2: By the end of 2030, 100 per cent of store-brand packaging is to be more environmentally friendly (see GRI 301: Materials).
Measures to achieve KPI 1
In 2016, REWE Group markedly expanded its effort to identify risks. The results of the risk assessment were used to develop measures for the area of action “conservation of resources” for the various product groups. In addition, an environmental programme for suppliers will be implemented in the future. The so-called Green Production Programme is based on a process that identifies the environmental effects in production sites in order to improve them. A pilot project with selected suppliers of metal and plastic products will take place in 2018, as the environmental impact in these product groups is comparatively high. The plan is for additional production sites to be integrated into the programme after completion of the pilot project. In addition to the Green Production Program which, among other things, is based on instruments from the amfori Business Environmental Performance Initiative (BEPI), there are already established programmes for other product lines, such as the detox programme.
When it implements improvements, REWE Group applies internationally recognised standards such as the GOTS seal for sustainable textiles or FSC® and PEFC™ certification for sustainable forest management. REWE Group successfully achieved the goal of increasing its share of store-brand textile products made of more sustainable cotton from 56 per cent in 2015 to 70 per cent by the end of 2017. REWE Group is now working to increase its share of textiles made of more sustainable cotton at REWE, PENNY and toom Baumarkt DIY stores in Germany to 100 per cent by 2025. The company uses CmiA (Cotton made in Africa), GOTS and textiles made from recycled fibre. REWE Group also plays an active role in platforms like the Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil and the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa as a way of refining standards and initiating industry-wide improvements in environmental conditions (see GRI 204: Procurement Practices).
REWE Group has set the goal of continuously reducing the amount of pesticides used in the conventional cultivation of fruit and vegetables. In this effort, REWE Group works with farmers, NGOs and scientific experts to develop solutions that have the lowest-possible impact on the environment and assure production and yield certainty for farmers. REWE Group has drawn up a black list that contains substances that farmers may not use. The list was significantly expanded in 2016. REWE Group regularly monitors the progress being made in its pesticide-reduction programme. As part of this work, REWE Group has commissioned the environmental group GLOBAL 2000 to prepare an annual pesticide-impact report since 2009. This report includes three impact indices based on a defined methodology. The results show that a reduction in the indices has occurred since the base year of 2009.
To improve the environmental impact of the textile supply chain, REWE Group joined Greenpeace’s detox campaign in 2014. In addition, it has set up a related programme for products with REWE Group as the distribution company in the product groups clothing, shoes and household textiles. The goal is to create safe textile production that eliminates hazardous chemicals by 2020. To achieve this objective, REWE Group is working with its suppliers to systematically remove hazardous chemicals from textile production.
Chemicals are primarily used in textile production during so-called wet processes that involve dyeing, bleaching and washing. The health of factory workers can be endangered when hazardous substances are used in these production steps. In addition, bodies of water and other ecosystems can be negatively impacted if chemicals contained in wastewater enter the environment.
As part of the implementation of the detox programme, a roadmap pointing the way to 2020 was approved in 2014. The current status of the roadmap is documented in annual progress reports (the progress reports can be downloaded here: Progress report 2015, Progress report 2016, Progress report 2017). REWE Group’s strategy comprises three elements:
1. Chemical Management
Chemical management includes the continuous development of requirements for suppliers and products. REWE Group has developed the following instruments to perform this work:
2. Supplier Management
An important pre-condition for the success of the detox programme is collaboration along the supply chain. This is necessary in particular because hazardous chemicals are generally used by the upstream suppliers of REWE Group’s direct business partners and not the direct business partners themselves. For this reason, supplier management aims to create close relationships with strategic suppliers and to gain them as partners for the detox programme. REWE Group has already reached an important goal: All suppliers in the supply chain have committed themselves to the detox programme. REWE Group has implemented the following measures:
3. Stakeholder Commitment
Given the nature of complex supply chains and the variety of chemicals being used, a joint approach to the issue of safer textile production is imperative. REWE Group plays an active role in the dialogue with stakeholders on a number of different levels:
4. Closed Loop
As part of its detox commitment, REWE Group is developing measures to promote closed loops in textiles. The following steps have been taken in recent years: