REWE Group Sustainability Report 2018

Diversity and Equal Opportunity

Demographic change, globalisation, processes of individualisation and fundamental shifts in values are making society more and more diverse. Diversity can produce added value especially in companies: Collaboration promotes creative ideas and facilitates adaptability. Equal opportunity at the company is more necessary than ever before. Therefore, the promotion of diversity in the company is a critical factor in its business success.

To permanently integrate sustainability into its company processes, REWE Group has developed an all-encompassing sustainability strategy that is made up of four main pillars: Green Products; Energy, Climate and the Environment; Employees; and Social Involvement. Five areas of action have been defined for the pillar Employees: values and culture; training and professional growth; health and safety; job and phases of life; and diversity and equal opportunity. With its activities in the area of action diversity and equal opportunity, REWE Group is striving to stay adaptable and facilitate fair interaction.

GRI 405: Diversity and Equal Opportunity

Management Approach

Individuals from more than 140 countries have been working peacefully and respectfully at REWE Group for many years now. REWE Group would be unable to stay in business without the help of many thousands of employees from different cultural backgrounds. By bringing diversity to life, REWE Group improves its ability to adapt to changing market conditions and enhances its competitive position in the race to recruit qualified skilled employees. With this in mind, REWE Group focuses its personnel management work on fostering a diverse employee structure and on maintaining a discrimination-free workplace for employees irrespective of their gender, age, religion, sexual identity, origin or disability. At the same time, the company works intensely to ensure that all employees have equal opportunities. This also includes equal pay for men and women.

In this effort, the company has defined the following issues:

  • Inclusion ensures that employees with disabilities are treated equally. This effort includes work areas and work stations adapted to the needs of the disabled.
  • Respect for cultural diversity is the focal point of cultural mainstreaming, an effort in which REWE Group promotes intercultural, open structures and processes.
  • The gender balance is designed to further the gender-specific promotion of professional and personal abilities and development opportunities.
The commitment to the discrimination-free formulation of company human resources policies is a fundamental part of the Guidelines for Sustainable Business Practices at REWE Group. It is also a fundamental component of the code of conduct that applies to all employees and managers. At the beginning of 2017, REWE Group signed the Charta of Diversity, a commitment to diversity management made by the business community.

Measures and Projects to Promote Diversity and Equal Opportunity

In a wide range of projects and measures, REWE Group actively works to foster diversity and equal opportunity in the company.

People with disabilities and people at risk of disability can turn to the company’s representative for the disabled and the inclusion officer at any time. The representative for the disabled will assist them with the submission of applications to the government agency that handles disability-related matters, the transition back to work following a long illness and all other legal questions. The representative will also help the employer during the inclusion of new employees. As part of this effort, work stations at the till were developed for employees in wheelchairs.

In 2017, REWE Group started a strategic partnership with Aktion Mensch, a German social organisation. In the same year, a roundtable discussion on the subject of “inclusion and work” was held. The aim was to discuss options to improve the integration of people with disabilities in the company and/or also to train them. Webinars are planned for the purpose of raising the awareness level of executives and HR managers and educating them about inclusion in the regions.

Respectful and responsible interactions with one another are also a fundamental aspect of the corporate culture of toom Baumarkt DIY stores. toom Baumarkt DIY stores have been working closely with the organisations of Lebenshilfe, a group that helps people with disabilities, since 2014. The focus of this effort involves active diversity and respectful relationships among people with and without disabilities that are practised as part of joint projects done within the framework of local partnerships, internships and outsourced workshop jobs. During the reporting period, a hearing-impaired trainee who is assisted by a sign language interpreter was hired.

In Austria, REWE Group applies a holistic concept regarding the subject of disability: The vision “We think without barriers and give employees, customers and partners the same opportunities” involves, on the one hand, increasing the number of employees with handicaps in the company itself. Hearing-impaired employees have been successfully integrated into the stores, and people with autism have also found employment in the central units. On the other hand, it means that accessibility is implemented in the stores and on the websites. Numerous awareness-raising measures and an internal DisAbility network support this process. As part of its DisAbility strategy, REWE International AG has defined the following goals that the company intends to reach by 2019:

  • Double the number of employees with disabilities
  • Set up an accessible pilot branch
  • Have accessible websites throughout the Group
  • Raise the awareness levels of employees and managers
A disability manager position has been created in Austria to promote implementation of the measures and goals of the company-wide strategy. In the financial year, a total of 100 employees with disabilities were hired. REWE International AG also employed 33 per cent more integrative trainees in 2018. These individuals have been given a longer training period. In cooperation with the Special Stars Foundation, the company has integrated an employee with autism. During the financial year, “Disability Day” was conducted for headquarters managers for the purpose of raising awareness levels about inclusion. A pilot project involving the employment of visually impaired employees was also launched in selected MERKUR stores. To help people with disabilities obtain information, two barrier-free websites were certified during the reporting period.

Integration of Refugees
REWE Group actively strives to help refugees gain a foothold in society and the work world. To help young refugees enter the workforce, internships throughout Germany were offered to them. The offer of training positions to refugees – particularly in sales and logistics – was done following an intensive recruitment effort conducted as part of open houses and internships. As an initial step, refugees very frequently enter a six- to 12-month orientation programme that focuses on language and culture. They begin a training programme afterwards.

Supporting Refugee with JOBLINGE

REWE Group is also active in a partnership with JOBLINGE – an initiative that supports young, socially disadvantaged people and young refugees. In the JOBLINGE and JOBLINGE Kompass programmes, employees from REWE Group act as mentors to help young refugees to obtain qualifications as soon as possible and become integrated in the labour market. Employees of REWE, DER Touristik, PENNY and toom Baumarkt DIY stores can easily work as volunteers (“Ehrensache”, or Act of Honour, programme). A total of 130 mentor teams have been set up across Germany. During more than 500 internships, participants in the JOBLINGE programme have gained insights into the practical aspects of the work world. More than 110 young people have been hired.

The integration initiative “KIMAT” was launched in the REWE Region South to help improve the integration of migrants into the labour market and to foster intercultural exchanges. The initiative was presented the HR Excellence Award of Quadriga University and the trade journal Human Resources Manager in 2016. Some refugees are now integrated as trainees. Others are taking part in language courses to prepare them for training in sales and logistics.

In Austria, refugees are being systematically recruited. A total of 348 refugees have been hired. Twenty apprenticeships have also been filled by refugees.

European Logistics Recruiting
In the European Logistics Recruiting project, lorry drivers, pickers and packers from the rest of Europe are being systematically recruited for REWE and PENNY. But the real effort to attract employees extends well beyond mere recruitment. The aim is to integrate new co-workers – on the job and in their private lives. For this reason, the project includes intensive integration support like German-language courses, mentors for initial support and assistance with the search for a flat. To open up different paths, the project also aims to acquire and integrate the target group of refugees. The successful experiences from the South region will be used as a basis to develop a concept for the entire REWE Group. Implementation in the North, East and South regions commenced at the start of 2018. In 2019, other locations are being added.

Promoting Women
Like many other companies, REWE Group is confronted with inequality with regard to women and men in top management positions. REWE Group intends to address this question by conducting projects that are part of the initiative “Diversity at REWE Group”. As part this work, the Women’s Drive programme has been conducted since 2017 with 16 participants each year. It provides systematic support to women with managerial responsibilities and lasts one year. The programme consists of four seminars with supporting mentoring from internal managers. In response to the initiative of participants, the creation of a women’s network is planned for 2019.

Since 2017, REWE has also been a partner in the Cologne-based alliance “Mit Frauen in Führung“ (Leading with Women). A total of 15 well-known Cologne companies have established this active network offering numerous activities designed to provide women and men with equal professional growth opportunities and to set an example. In addition to the regular dialogue conducted with other member companies in the alliance, REWE Group takes part in a cross-mentoring programme with five mentees and mentors.

Different Together: Promoting LGBT Networking

The national LGBT network “different together”, or, celebrated its fifth anniversary in August 2018. During an official event attended by many guests, a range of perspectives about the issue of sexual orientation was discussed in talks. During this celebration, the guests had an opportunity to support regional LGBT organisations; the donation check went to a group called SCHLAU NRW, a statewide network in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. is designed to help employees to network in the work environment and promote dialogue outside their own sales lines. A 10-employee working group is responsible for setting up the network and organising regular meetings and events, among other things. For example, with a successful rainbow sticker campaign, has encouraged all REWE and PENNY stores in recent years to demonstrate tolerance and diversity by attaching the symbol to the door of the store. During World AIDS Day on 3 December, teddy bears were sold at all Cologne locations. The proceeds were donated to the Cologne help group Kölner Aidshilfe. is also a contact for employees who feel discriminated against because of their sexual identity. The network now has about 250 members and more and more regional networks are being added to it. There are also subsidiaries in the South, North, East and Central regions. The network is active in Austria as well.

GRI 405-1:

Diversity of governance bodies and employees

Women made up 67.1 per cent of the workforce of REWE Group in 2018 (2017: 67.7 per cent). Women represented 11.2 percent of top management, while they made up about 46.5 per cent of managers (2017: 46.2 per cent). The total is slightly below the goal to maintain the share of management positions filled by women at 47.9 per cent.

KPI Target Status
Percentage of Management Positions Held by Women To maintain the level of 47.9% through 2022 46.5 %

The Supervisory Board of REWE-Zentral-Aktiengesellschaft (RZAG) had 18 ordinary members (16 men and two women) as of 31 December 2018. The Supervisory Board of REWE-ZENTRALFINANZ eG (RZF) had 20 ordinary members (17 men and three women) in 2018. No women were members of the Management Board in the reporting period. Likewise, no women were members of the Managing Board or the Supervisory Board of REWE International AG.

REWE Group determines the employment rate of people with disabilities under Section 2 of the German Social Welfare Code (Sozialgesetzbuch) and in Austria in accordance with the Disabled Persons Employment Act (Behinderteneinstellungsgesetz). Under these definitions, the employment rate of employees with disabilities at REWE Group was 3.0 per cent in 2018, (2017: 3.0 per cent; 2016: 3.1 per cent).

KPI Target Status
Rate of people with disabilities by headcount* To at least maintain the level of 3.0% through 2022* 3.0 %

* The rate of people with disabilities is calculated by headcount and therefore has a different calculation basis than when determining the mandatory share of employed people with severe handicaps according to Section 71, Book IX of the Social Welfare Code (SGB) (Germany). Calculating the rate of people with disabilities by headcount was chosen in order to determine a uniform key figure for Germany and Austria. Individuals with disabilities are defined according to Section 2 of the German Social Welfare Code and the Austrian Disabled Persons Employment Act (BEinstG).

In Germany, no comprehensive reporting requirement applies to people with disabilities. For this reason, all employees with a reported disability are included in this calculation.

Share of Female Employees by Employee Category in 2018

Top executives
Women 11.2%
Men 88.8%
in %
Women 46.2%
Men 53.8%
in %
Women 68.8%
Men 31.4%
in %

Composition of Employees by Employee Categories

Employees Managers Top executives
Region 2016 2017 2018 2016 2017 2018 2016 2017 2018
Total staff Total 202,064 210,165 217,010 14,056 14,489 14,647 231 225 206
Germany 165,704 173,255 178,791 8,780 9,232 9,487 199 192 174
Austria 36,360 36,910 38,219 5,276 5,257 5,160 32 33 32
Women % Total 69.8 69.2 68.6 46.6 46.2 46.2 10.0 11.6 11.2
Germany 68.5 67.9 67.2 36.5 36.5 35.9 9.0 10.4 10.3
Austria 75.5 75.6 75.1 63.3 63.3 65.1 15.6 18.2 15.6
Men % Total 30.2 30.8 31.4 53.4 53.8 53.8 90.0 88.4 88.8
Germany 31.5 32.1 32.8 63.5 63.5 64.1 91.0 89.6 89.7
Austria 24.5 24.4 24.9 36.7 36.7 34.9 84.4 81.8 84.4
Up to 30 years old % Total 31.6 31.2 30.7 14.3 14.2 13.8 - - -
Germany 30.9 30.5 30.0 14.0 13.7 13.3 - - -
Austria 34.7 34.3 34.1 14.8 15.1 14.5 - - -
31–50 years old % Total 40.8 40.3 40.0 59.5 59.3 59.4 48.9 51.1 46.6
Germany 39.5 39.0 38.8 58.6 59.4 59.5 50.3 51.0 46.6
Austria 46.8 46.3 45.6 61.0 59.0 59.1 40.6 51.5 46.9
Older than 50 years % Total 27.6 28.5 29.3 26.2 26.6 26.9 51.1 48.9 53.4
Germany 29.6 30.5 31.2 27.4 27.0 27.2 49.7 49.0 53.4
Austria 18.5 19.4 20.2 24.3 25.9 26.4 59.4 48.5 53.1
People with Disabilities by Headcount* Total 2.8 2.9 3.0 1.8 1.9 1.8 1.7 1.3 1.4
Germany 3.2 3.3 3.4 2.2 2.3 2.1 1.5 1.0 1.1
Austria 1.0 1.3 1.3 1.0 1.2 1.3 3.1 3.0 3.1

* The rate of people with disabilities is calculated by headcount and therefore has a different calculation basis than when determining the mandatory share of employed people with severe handicaps according to Section 71, Book IX of the Social Welfare Code (SGB) (Germany). Calculating the rate of people with disabilities by headcount was chosen in order to determine a uniform key figure for Germany and Austria. Individuals with disabilities are defined according to Section 2 of the German Social Welfare Code and the Austrian Disabled Persons Employment Act (BEinstG).

Composition of Governance Bodies

Year Number Women % Men % Up to 30 years old % 31–50 years old %% Older than 50 years %
Management Board 2016 6 0 100 0 17 73
2017 5 0 100 0 20 80
2018 4 0 100 0 25 75
Supervisory Board Germany 2016 28 14 86 0 29 71
2017 31 16 84 0 19 81
2018 31 16 84 0 19 81
Management Board RIAG (Austria) 2016 6 0 100 0 33 67
2017 6 0 100 0 50 50
2018 5 0 100 0 60 40
Supervisory Board (Austria) 2016 7 0 100 0 14 86
2017 6 0 100 0 33 67
2018 5 0 100 0 40 60

Share of Employees with Foreign Nationality

Employees Managers Top Executives
Region 2016 2017 2018 2016 2017 2018 2016 2017 2018
Total staff Total 202,064 210,165 217,010 14,056 14,489 14,647 231 225 206
Germany 165,704 173,255 178,791 8,780 9,232 9,487 199 192 174
Austria 36,360 36,910 38,219 5,276 5,257 5,160 32 33 32
Headcount, foreign nationality Total 26,067 28,564 31,426 1,241 1,310 1,400 12 16 15
Germany 17,590 19,488 21,570 479 529 597 7 8 6
Austria 8,477 9,076 9,856 762 781 803 5 8 9
Share of foreign nationality % Total 12.9 13.6 14.5 8.8 9.0 9.6 5.2 7.1 7.3
Germany 10.6 11.2 12.1 5.5 5.7 6.3 3.5 4.2 3.4
Austria 23.3 24.6 25.8 14.4 14.9 15.6 15.6 24.2 28.1

Further topics in this area:


GRI 401

Labour/Management Relations

GRI 402

Occupational Safety and Health Management

GRI 403

Education and Training Programmes

GRI 404


GRI 406