As a trade and tourism company with millions of customer contacts each day, REWE Group has both a special opportunity and an obligation to integrate sustainability into its business activities. Important momentum is generated during direct and personal conversations with a range of stakeholders. In this activity, REWE Group views itself as an idea generator at events, podium discussions and talks. It shares the experience it has gained in sustainability activities during these discussions. This enables experiences to be exchanged and leads to a discussion that is beneficial for all parties concerned.
The stakeholder groups that are relevant to REWE Group were determined as part of the sustainability strategy developed in 2008. Collaboration is regularly modified on the basis of intense discussions in such places as the REWE Group Dialogue Forums, Sustainability Weeks, the Sustainability Advisory Board and stakeholder surveys. The key stakeholder groups with which the company conducts a dialogue are suppliers, consumers, business partners, political leaders, government authorities, the academic community and non-government organisations (NGOs) as well as its own employees, the Works Council, managers and independent retailers. In 2015 and 2016, REWE Group performed stakeholder mapping to gain an overview of relevant NGOs in the areas of social issues, the environment, consumers, animal welfare, climate protection, conscious diets and emergency assistance. This mapping is still valid – the results flow into the planning of stakeholder communication activities.
|Stakeholders||Form of Involvement|
|Customers||Online platform Utopia.de, social media
Customer satisfaction surveys
Point of sale campaigns
|Independent retailers||Dialogue forums
Communication of guidelines
|Business partners||Communication of guidelines|
|Political leaders||Dialogue forums
Membership of associations
Offices in Berlin and Brussels
Sustainability Advisory Board
Strategic partnership with NABU (since 2015)
|The academic community||Dialogue forums
Cooperation with universities
Preparation of studies
Answering enquiries from journalists
Blogger events (including producer visits)
The Corporate Responsibility department as well as the Sustainability and Communication departments of the sales lines are responsible for the institutionalised dialogue with stakeholders and communications with leading media and the trade press. In 2010, REWE Group began to hold dialogue forums where it can have a personal, candid and intense discussion with stakeholder groups. REWE Group organises both larger dialogue events with up to 250 participants and smaller expert dialogues on specific topics, in various formats. Experts at REWE Group also hold discussions with relevant topic-specific, expert stakeholders during background meetings and institutionalised dialogues – as part of round tables, working groups or forums, for example. REWE Group’s experts also take part in dialogue events as speakers and podium discussants in order to share the experience they have gained in sustainability activities and to exchange specialist information in a constructive dialogue.
At the end of the 2018 financial year, REWE Group updated its materiality analysis. During this, stakeholders were given the opportunity to express their expectations of the company. This enables REWE Group to align its activities more with the requirements of its stakeholders (for more information, see the Materiality analysis section).
One key organisational unit of the stakeholder dialogue is also the Sustainability Advisory Board. This board serves as a professional and technical adviser who supports REWE Group in its efforts to make its range of products even more sustainable and is consulted about communications issues (see the PRO PLANET section). The role of the former PRO PLANET Board of Advisers was modified and refined in 2018. As Sustainability Advisory Board consisting of five independent NGO experts, the Board of Advisers is involved in the development, assessment and implementation of all sustainability-related measures taken by the Sustainable Products department for the REWE and PENNY sales lines in Germany. This includes both further work within the PRO PLANET process and the continuous development of REWE Group’s sustainability strategy, e.g. through involvement in the creation and updating of guidelines.
In 2015, REWE Group set up a strategic partnership with the environmental group Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V. (NABU). In doing so, it intensified a working relationship initiated in 2009. As a result of the change, the two parties’ joint project work on biodiversity from the cooperation on PRO PLANET has been expanded to specific areas of cooperation, including protection of the seas, packaging, protection of forests, paper, conservation of resources and the fostering of biological diversity. In working groups and strategy workshops, NABU and REWE Group develop roadmaps leading to the achievement of jointly defined sustainability goals. A key aspect of the partnership is a constructive, but critical discussion that is conducted both on the work level and between the Management Board and CEO of REWE Group and the president of NABU. As a result of these discussions, NABU has become both an important initiator for the advancement of the sustainability strategy and a long-time partner in the implementation of projects.
The sales lines conduct communications with customers by doing such things as discussing sustainability in weekly fliers, in travel brochures, on their websites, in their stores and during Sustainability Weeks. The Sustainability Weeks are held annually and raise consumers’ awareness of more environmentally and socially acceptable products through individual measures (for more information, see the Promoting sustainable consumption section).
In addition, employees are informed, sensitised and inspired in regard to this issue. And there is a clear reason for this: Employees are the interface to customers and suppliers. They are an important contact for sustainability issues and a significant factor in the differentiation towards competitors. To bolster this effort, the concept of sustainability ambassadors was developed. The aim is for the ambassadors to communicate sustainability issues in stores, develop their own ideas and get customers and other employees interested in sustainability. As part of their task, they answer questions raised by customers and colleagues and can demonstrate in the stores that sustainability is sensible and something positive.
Since 2018, all REWE store employees have been able to take part in a specially developed e-learning module, which provides customer-relevant content about the four pillars of REWE’s sustainability strategy in a fun way. The program was awarded the eLearning AWARD 2019 by the eLearning Journal.
Trainees at PENNY stores had the opportunity to participate in a food waste ideas competition in the 2018 financial year. They were asked to come up with creative tips and tricks to pass on to customers. The competition is embedded in PENNY’s long-standing commitment to tackling food waste. This commitment includes informing customers using brochures and providing them with tips on how to store fruit and vegetables as well as fresh baked goods, printed on roll bags and paper bags, for example. For more information, see the Social involvement section.