REWE Group Sustainability Report 2018

Raw Materials in Focus – Non-food

The supply chain links of raw materials production and processing involve particular ecological challenges and a heightened risk of non-observance of labour and social standards. Accordingly, REWE Group activities are focused on these. As part of product-related risk analysis, REWE Group has defined the following non-food raw materials as critical: cotton and textiles as well as natural stones.

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. The Green Products Strategy 2030 was adopted in 2017 in a move to more strongly anchor sustainability within procurement processes. In the action areas of ethical business practices, animal welfare and conservation of resources, the trade and tourism company designs effective measures to reduce environmental and social impacts as part of the Green Products commitment. Activities relating to the focus non-food raw materials of cotton and textiles as well as natural stones are of special importance in these areas of action.


Percentage of purchased volume from suppliers compliant with the company’s sourcing policy

REWE Group continuously works to make its supply chains more social and environmentally conscious. The company observes internationally recognised certification standards, cooperates in industry initiatives, launches its own projects and formulates its own requirements within the framework of company policies and the PRO PLANET process. The approaches that the company takes for individual raw materials are outlined below.

Cotton and Textiles

Cotton is one of the most important raw materials used in the textile industry. It is primarily grown in India, China and the United States. Conventional cotton cultivation practises use extensive amounts of water, pesticides and fertilisers. To boost the percentage of textile products made with more sustainable cotton, REWE Group in Germany sources Cotton made in Africa (CmiA), observes the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and utilises textiles made of recycled fibres. REWE Group is 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. In 2018 this figure was 85 per cent.

Percentage of More Sustainable Cotton Textiles (REWE, PENNY and toom Baumarkt in Germany)

2017 2018
Percentage of CmiA or GOTS-certified textiles 70 % 85 %

CmiA Cotton

REWE Group has been a supporter of Cotton made in Africa (CmiA), an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation, since 2008. The initiative is committed to improving the living conditions of African smallholders by helping them to help themselves. Agricultural training sessions teach them about efficient farming methods that increase cotton yields and quality while protecting their health and reducing the environmental impact. These measures are improving the income of farmers and their families. They are also receiving support through various cooperation projects, for example in the areas of education and the promotion of women. Since 2018, REWE Group has been aiding women’s groups in rural Zambia through income-earning initiatives aimed at helping women gain economic and social independence as part of the Cotton made in Africa Community Partnership Programme. The programme supports projects such as the opening of a grocery store, a poultry farming operation and the purchasing of an oil press. Some 400 women and their family members too are benefiting from these investments, but the positive impact extends to their entire village communities. The initial projects are slated for completion in mid-2019. REWE Group is also involved as a consultant on the CmiA Board of Advisers.

In addition to focusing on cotton as a raw material, REWE Group is committed to promoting sustainability in the textile sector overall through an array of different measures. These include the Detox Programme promoting the use of safe chemicals in textile production, and the company’s activities in the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. This multi-stakeholder initiative is dedicated to bringing about social, environmental and economic improvement throughout the textile supply chain. Joining the Partnership is part of REWE Group’s commitment to sustainably improving environmental, social and economic conditions in international textile supply chains. In 2018, REWE Group played an active role in the Alliance Initiative for Chemical and Environmental Management, the Group of Experts on Living Wages and the Working Group on Complaint Mechanisms.

In 2013, REWE Group signed the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety to improve safety in the Bangladeshi textiles industry.

And in December 2018, REWE Group joined the international Fur Free Retailer programme. The ban on real fur has been in effect for several years in our store brand ranges. REWE Group has outlined its management approach and its activities in a document called the Guideline for More Sustainable Textiles.

Wood and Paper

REWE Group is committed to protecting the forests of the world and the animals and plants that live there. For this reason, it supports environmentally and socially conscious forest management by increasingly procuring wood and paper for its products and packaging from sustainably operated sources. REWE Group uses the seal of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) and of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC™) as well as the German environmental seal Blauer Engel (Blue Angel). A large number of REWE Group products have already been awarded these seals. 100 per cent of hygienic paper products sold by REWE and PENNY now bear the FSC®, PEFC™ or Blue Angel labels.

toom Baumarkt DIY store has a steadily growing assortment of certified items in numerous product categories, and has been a member of FSC® and PEFC™ since 2018. toom Baumarkt DIY stores thus support high standards for transparency and controlling of the product chain in both systems for sustainable forest management.In addition, REWE, PENNY and toom Baumarkt DIY stores in Germany are making their entire assortment of charcoal products either FSC®- or PEFC™-certified. REWE Group intends to exclusively sell certified charcoal in its stores by the end of 2019. A gradual sell-off of remaining uncertified stocks has been underway since 2018. REWE and PENNY in Germany will be exclusively using recycled or certified paper in packaging by the end of 2020.

Percentage of More Sustainable Hygienic Paper Products (REWE and PENNY Germany)

2016 2017 2018
Percentage of FSC®-, PEFC™- or Blue Angel-certified hygienic paper products 100 % 100 % 100 %

Peat-free Soils

toom Baumarkt DIY stores plan to stop selling peat soils by 2025. This commitment applies to both store brands and branded products. As part of this transition, the percentage of peat in the entire assortment is being continuously reduced and replaced with renewable raw materials. In addition, the range of peat-free soil earth products is expanded from year to year. Seven peat-free store brand products were sold in 2018: five toom Naturtalent potting soil products and two toom Qualitätsmarke products. The REWE and PENNY sales lines have also added peat-free and peat-reduced alternatives to their seasonal range of soils.

Natural Stone

toom Baumarkt DIY stores work to ensure that social standards and environmental requirements are met in the extraction and production of natural stone products. To achieve this goal, toom has been working for several years with the independent experts of XertifiX to seamlessly track the supply chain of natural stone all the way back to the quarry and to independently monitor compliance with social and environmental criteria. toom Baumarkt DIY stores were an active participant in the process of revising this standard in 2018 as a representative of the retailing sector. Published in September 2018, the revised standard is valid until 2023. In 2016, toom Baumarkt DIY stores began offering their first certified natural stone products that bear both the XertifiX PLUS and PRO PLANET labels. This range of certified products is being continuously expanded. For example, all natural stone products for the garden from China and India available at toom DIY stores bear the XertifiX PLUS label.

Nordmann Fir

Eighty per cent of the seeds of all Nordmann firs come from the economically weak region of Racha in the country of Georgia. In partnership with the Danish Fair Trees Fund, toom Baumarkt DIY stores are committed to ensuring fair working conditions and greater safety in the harvesting of cones in Georgia. This involves a five-day climbing training meeting German standards which cone pickers are required to complete before each harvest season. They also get professional climbing equipment with doubled safety features, and are guaranteed to receive fair wages and accident insurance coverage during the harvest season.

For each fir sold, toom Baumarkt DIY stores donates to support numerous social projects of the Fair Trees fund in the harvesting region in Georgia, such as opening of a dental practice providing free care for children. Additionally, a number of scholarships have been awarded to pupils from the region. toom Baumarkt DIY stores began realigning the entire Nordmann range to use trees from Fair Trees in 2018. A Fair Trees tree is planted for every tree sold. In addition to the Fair Trees logo, the trees also bear the PRO PLANET label additionally stating: “Social Conditions Improved”.

More Sustainable Travel: Futouris

DER Touristik joined Futouris, the sustainability initiative of the German travel and tourism industry, in 2015. The organisation’s primary objective is to promote tourist destinations over the long term by supporting environmental, biodiversity and corporate responsibility projects in the interest of society and culture. DER Touristik was involved in four projects as part of this initiative during the reporting period. The company teamed up with Futouris, the organisation United Against Waste e.V. and other member companies in an industry project on preventing food waste in hotels; selected hotels in Greece, Turkey and Italy were examined over the course of one year to develop practical measures against food waste. The KAZA project, for example, is designed to develop a standard for sustainably operated lodges in the KAZA region of Africa (Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area). The project Green Travel Transformation is aimed at promoting sustainable travel offers and making them easier to book (for more information about this project, see the section Promoting Sustainable Consumption). As part of the sponsorship project “Tour Operator Human Rights Due Diligence”, DER Touristik developed a Destination Risk Register in 2017 and 2018 in partnership with Futouris and Löning Human Rights & Responsible Business, as well as a guide for analysing the human rights implications of doing business in major corporations in the tourism industry. The findings from this project are being made available to the industry.

Further topics in this area:

Product-related Risk Analyses

GRI 102-11

Regional Products

GRI 204-1

Raw Materials in Focus – Food







GRI 301


GRI 304

Ecological Impacts
Within the Supply Chain

GRI 308

Social Issues
in the Supply Chain

GRI 412, 414

Customer Health
and Product Safety

GRI 416

Promoting Sustainable Consumption

GRI 417

Animal Welfare


Child Labour
and Forced Labour

GRI 408, 409

Livestock Farming Conditions