REWE Group considers itself to be a good corporate citizen. This means that it assumes responsibility within the context of its own capabilities in the places where it does business and where help is needed. It works in particular on behalf of children and young people, promoting healthy diets and a conscious approach to food (see the Management Approach under the pillar of Social Involvement).
REWE Group invests in the infrastructure and services of its business locations, travel destinations and countries where special support is critically needed. One focus of this effort is long-term partnerships with non-profit organisations. As part of this work, REWE Group has been one of the main sponsors of the more than 900 local food banks across Germany and the national organisation since 1996. For many years, REWE Group has also sponsored numerous events of the parent organisation Tafel Deutschland e.V. In 2017, for example, it supported the federal food bank convention (Bundestafeltreffen) in Potsdam, the preceding city bet and the federal food bank day. Another focal point of the company’s support is improving access to education by taking such steps as building schools and supporting educational institutions. The following section reports on selected projects undertaken during the reporting period.
Ever since the devastating earthquake struck in 2010, REWE Group has been working to provide children and young people with greater access to education as part of a partnership with the German children’s support organisation Kindernothilfe Haiti.
Thanks to the support of REWE Group and to, above all, the hard work of its employees, more than 3.6 million euros have been collected. The money was primarily used to rebuild the destroyed Collège Véréna, a school located in a slum of Port-au-Prince that can be attended by about 1,500 children. In April 2015, the primary school became the first member of the building complex to be completed. The secondary-school building was opened in autumn 2016. In addition, new education projects for restavek children – children from rural areas whose impoverished families sent them to guest families in the city – were initiated to provide these children with a basic education. REWE Group also created a scholarship programme designed for suitable graduates of Collège Véréna who are in desperate need of assistance and restavek children to provide them with an opportunity to learn an occupation or attend university.
In January 2016, REWE Group extended its partnership with Kindernothilfe through to 2020 as a way of providing further support to the new school and of expanding its commitment to other educational projects.
In 2017, the DER Touristik Foundation supported the Child Friendly Spaces program (CFS) of Kindernothilfe on the north-west coast of Haiti with a donation of 30,000 euros.
The north-west of Haiti was hit very badly by Hurricane Matthew at the end of 2016. The CFS programme is the only aid programme to become active after the hurricane. In the CFS, children who were traumatised by the natural disaster are fed, receive socio-pedagogical and medical care and can take part in various leisure activities. So far, about 1,400 children have been looked after here.
In 2014, DER Touristik established the non-profit organisation DER Touristik Foundation e.V. that is dedicated solely to charitable work and supports the education of children and young people, environmental protection and sustainable developmental aid. Within its “DER Welt verpflichtet” (committed to the world) programme, DER Touristik is especially involved in creating the necessary school infrastructure and imparting knowledge to children, young people and women.
Since DER Touristik Foundation was created, financial aid has been provided for the construction of more than 40 schools for over 6,500 children. In 2017, 12 school construction projects were carried out in ten countries around the world – in Africa (Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa), Asia (Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Indonesia) and Central America (Guatemala) – with the help of donations.
Social involvement has been extended with more education projects since 2016. The aim is to break the cycle of poverty and especially to help young people create a better future for themselves and their communities. The DER Touristik Foundation also supports environmental education programmes to raise awareness for nature and species protection among the local population.
The DER Touristik Foundation began to provide financial support to KOTO, an educational institution near Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2016. The aim is to give extremely disadvantaged, at-risk young people vocational training that qualifies them for jobs in the hospitality and tourism industries. In 2017, funding was used to develop a learning and training centre on the KOTO Campus. The new facilities provide the young people with a protected space and support for their occupational development by offering learning materials, coaching and vocational activities.
Since 2016, the DER Touristik Foundation has supported various development projects that benefit the population in the Simanjiro District in Tanzania, to the south of Kilimanjaro. This is home to the Maasai ethnic group. Since the start of October, roughly 1,200 primary-school pupils in two schools have benefited from renovated classrooms, refurbished bedrooms in the boarding school, a completely renovated canteen and new school furniture. The aim of this project is to create a conducive learning environment so that more pupils can qualify to attend secondary school.
The new education centre for Maasai women, built with the cooperation of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Upendo e.V. and local organisations, also promises a better future. The project is at the centre of a local initiative that aims to strengthen the role of women in society and is particularly aimed at providing education, schooling and advice.
Because of the close vicinity of national parks, such as Tarangire National Park, nature and species conservation are also very important in this region. Within the scope of the project “Living in Harmony with Nature”, which is funded by the DER Touristik Foundation, since 2017, young people have been taught about environmental protection at various secondary schools in the Simanjiro District. After all, education is also a key component for conserving the wonderful wildlife and landscapes of Tanzania.
The DER Touristik Foundation funds development measures worldwide. Together with Kindernothilfe and local partners, the development of child protection centres on Haiti was funded in 2017. In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew left a trail of destruction in its wake. The children living there were especially affected by the force of nature. Initial centres were already set up in the region immediately after the natural disaster. The donations provided by the Foundation flowed into the Child Friendly Spaces programme (CFS) on the north-west coast of Haiti, which suffered very badly. Through this measure, around 1,400 children who were traumatised by the natural disaster have been fed and have received socio-pedagogical and medical care.
REWE Far East Ltd. is aware of its responsibility as a purchasing organisation of REWE Group and has been supporting the “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene” project – or WASH – organised by Save the Children in India since January 2017. Inadequate supplies of drinking water and the lack of sanitary facilities and hygiene education are the main causes of the high rates of child mortality in the informal settlements of marginalised groups of people in Delhi. This is also why India has one of the highest rates of child mortality worldwide due to diarrhoeal diseases – a completely avoidable disease. Improving basic sanitary conditions, such as regular hand washing with soap, has already reduced the number of diarrhoeal diseases with a fatal outcome by two thirds. Inadequate access to water and sanitary facilities also leads to reduced education opportunities, food insecurity and lower incomes for families because of disease-related time off school and work.
The goal of the project is therefore to provide children and their families in Delhi with access to sanitary facilities and clean drinking water and to educate them about hygienic practices. As part of the programme, children learn about hygienic practices and the correct way to use water – things like washing their hands before they eat meals and after they use the toilet – in primary schools and in centres of the Indian government’s Integrated Child Development Services programme (ICDS). In addition, sanitary facilities like toilets and sinks are being installed or upgraded. The combination of clean water, sanitary facilities and hygienic practices is designed to prevent avoidable diseases over the long term and maintain the health of children and their families.
The project is being carried out in three slum areas, in seven ICDS centres and four primary schools in southern Delhi. An additional 40 primary schools and ICDS centres will be included thanks to further training. By June 2017, REWE Far East and Save the Children had reached 3,038 children and 3,251 adults with the project activities in the first seven months of the project.
In collaboration with Save the Children, REWE Far East wants to ensure the sustainability of the project for the people in Delhi. Because of this, and to ensure a high degree of personal responsibility, members of the community are closely involved in the identification, planning, organisation and execution of project activities. In addition, the toilet blocks that were established and renovated within the scope of the project were handed over to the communities who were shown how to manage and maintain them during the project.
A partnership with the non-profit initiative “Deutschland rundet auf” (Germany Rounds Up) has been maintained since 2012. Customers of PENNY and toom Baumarkt DIY stores can round up their purchase total at the cash register by a maximum of 10 cents. All donated money is provided to social projects for children and adolescents in Germany. Since the initiative was started, PENNY customers have rounded up more than 100 million times and donated about 5 million euros in the process.
In Austria, REWE International AG has taken part in a similar programme, “Woche des Aufrundens” (The Week of Rounding Up). “Aufrunden, bitte” (Round Up, Please) has been the motto at BILLA, MERKUR, BIPA and PENNY as well as at LIBRO since April 2015. Thanks to many years of support from customers, donations of more than 500,000 euros had been collected by May 2016. The money is used to support projects by the Catholic charity Caritas, such as Learning Cafés, special education programmes and mother-child homes.
Since 2014, toom Baumarkt DIY stores have been cooperating with Lebenshilfe, the German association for people with mental disabilities, their families, experts and friends. The aim is to break down barriers by talking with each other and to familiarise customers with the topics of inclusion and diversity. For this purpose, toom Baumarkt DIY stores throughout Germany have established partnerships with Lebenshilfe facilities in their city or region. The commitment consists of the following project focuses:
One particular focus is including employees with disabilities in toom Baumarkt DIY stores. toom has already set up outsourced workplaces from Lebenshilfe workshops in 14 stores.
With its approximately 15,300 stores and travel agencies, REWE Group employs about 345,000 people inside and outside Germany. When new stores are opened, communities benefit from infrastructure investments, taxes and fees as well as from a broad range of social activities undertaken by employees, store managers and independent retailers. In doing so, REWE Group generates important momentum for the development and growth of the regions where its stores do business. REWE Group also actively supports children and young people, focusing on areas related to its business operations.
REWE Group works with a range of organisations to pique children’s interest in healthy lifestyles. REWE Group has been supporting the group “Klasse in Sport – Initiative für täglichen Schulsport e.V.” (Excelling at sports – Initiative for daily sport at schools) since 2008. This initiative promotes the well-being and athletic activities of children at selected schools. REWE Group is now the patron for 46 “Klasse in Sport” schools. The idea of this initiative is to enable an hour of qualified sport at school or during breaks every day within the scope of working groups and to methodically integrate movement in the lessons to show children and young people that movement can be fun. After all: if you feel positive about your body, you are more motivated to learn.
The association backs training and advanced training of the necessary specialist and training staff and provides the schools with education material, games and sports equipment. German Sport University Cologne provides scientific support for the project and also conducts the project.
As a charter member of the group “5 am Tag” (5 a day) REWE Group encourages efforts to boost consumption of fruit and vegetables to five portions a day and to promote healthy diets for children. Together with other sponsors, including the German Nutrition Society (DGE), the company has been involved in encouraging people to eat more fruit and vegetables since 2000.
To promote a healthy lifestyle in children, each year, REWE also distributes school cones to children starting school. They contain fruit and vegetables and information about nutrition that is suitable for children.
To help children get their days off to a healthy start, REWE Group has joined forces with Tafel Deutschland e.V. food banks and other partners to distribute so-called Power Kisten (power boxes) to schools. These boxes contain a changing range of foods selected by nutrition experts that individual classes use to prepare breakfast. At the end of 2017, ten schools and about 1,200 children were receiving the power boxes from Monday to Friday. In this way, more than 230,000 meals were provided in the 2016/17 school year. The project is supported with donations by Chiquita, Danone, Ehrmann, FrieslandCampina, Mondelez, Nestlé, Unilever, Zentis and the REWE Group production operations Glocken Bäckerei and Wilhelm Brandenburg, among others.
In many regions of Germany, REWE promotes nutrition workshops. The aim of the workshops, which, depending on the region, are carried out together with ArbeitsKreisNeueMedien or expika, is to motivate children in daycare centres and provide practical support so that they learn about healthy nutrition in a fun way and to ensure that new media is used in education work in a manner that is suitable for children. In 2017, more than 1,000 workshops were organised.
For years, REWE Group has systematically taken part in projects that promote the development of children and young people. An important approach is the support from volunteers who pass on their knowledge and experience in direct contact.
REWE International AG, together with Caritas and Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU), helps children and young people who need extra care in the “Lernen macht Schule” (Learning to Learn) initiative. The project is conducted by volunteer “learning buddies” – individuals who are frequently students at the university or employees of REWE International AG. These buddies help with school work for two to three hours once a week and can answer any other questions as well.
In another mentoring project, REWE Group takes part in the sponsorship programme “EHRENSACHE” (Act of Honour) in cooperation with the non-profit employment organisation Joblinge to provide internships and job-entry qualification training to socially disadvantaged young people.
The sales line uses the PENNY Goodwill Basket largely for the purpose of supporting small organisations and projects that are being conducted in areas near its stores and support children and young people.
REWE Group strives to keep food waste to a minimum. In doing so, it works with upstream producers and in its own stores. Due to modern forecasting systems and automatic ordering processes, supported by the commercial experience of the employees, stores can be supplied with fresh goods as they are needed. Short transport routes between the warehouse locations and the stores, end-to-end refrigeration from production to shelf as well as regular employee training help keep losses to a minimum. PENNY and REWE sell up to 99 per cent of their foods on average each year. Most of the remaining 1 per cent is donated across Germany to around 900 local food bank initiatives. REWE has been making such donations since 1996 and PENNY since 2007. Even though these foods cannot be sold, they are perfectly good for consumption.
Because consumers are responsible for most food waste, REWE Group conducts information and educational campaigns aimed at its customers. For years now, the PENNY sales line has played an active role in this work. In 2016 and 2017 it distributed a brochure called “Spar doch grün” (The Green Way to Save) with clever household tips and tricks and in 2015 it conducted an educational campaign about the sell-by date.
Since it started in 2016, PENNY has been involved in the EU research project “Refresh” and has already implemented pilot projects as part of this. For instance, in 2017/2018 all PENNY trainees completed a course on food waste to raise awareness for and explain this important subject. The trainees are also asked to take part in an ideas competition and submit creative tips to prevent food waste.
Each year, German hotels produce 200,000 tonnes of food waste, a large part of which could be avoided. To improve this situation, DER Touristik took part in the project “Preventing Food Waste in Hotels”. Together with the sustainability initiative Futouris e.V. and the organisation “United Against Waste e.V.”, investigations were carried out in selected hotels in Greece, Turkey and Italy. The aim was to develop practical measures to prevent food waste.
One of the hotels in the project was lti Asterias Beach Resort on Rhodes, which belongs to DER Touristik. In the first step, all food rests were collected in the kitchen and separated into waste from the store, production waste, surplus production and food rests on plates. With the help of a waste analysis tool, the quantities of waste were measured systematically over several weeks and, on this basis, savings potentials were determined and measures were developed. The biggest challenge in all the hotels that took part was the ubiquitous “all you can eat” concept, which resulted in above-average quantities of food left on plates.
At lti Asterias, the new concept to prevent food waste was introduced in summer 2017. For example, a pre-order system was introduced for the à la carte restaurant. Guests can order what they would like the following day at reception, which allows better planning in the kitchen. The introduction of even more live cooking stations to supplement the buffet has also proved to be very successful, as portions can be measured much better. Another important aspect is raising guests’ awareness for the topic. In particular, the information about produce from the region and local specialities made people more aware about the food they ate.
At lti Asterias, a control measurement was carried out in October 2017, which showed that on average the measures that had been implemented reduced food waste by 18 per cent. The reduction in waste from lunch and dinner was between 30 and 60 per cent. In addition, the results from the final project report showed that about 400 kilograms of food waste per week could be saved in a hotel.
DER Touristik plans to expand the concept to more of its own hotels in 2018. Initially, the measures will also be implemented in the hotels lti alpenhotel Kaiserfels in St. Johann in Tyrol, Austria, and in lti Bellevue Park in Tunisia. Employees from the Food & Beverage area will also be trained in the subjects of sustainable food offerings and preventing food waste.