As an international trade company, REWE Group assumes responsibility that extends beyond its core business. With the help of strong, long-range partnerships and dedicated employees, the company carries out a broad range of projects and measures designed to help society.
As a way of permanently integrating sustainability into company processes, REWE Group has drawn up a comprehensive sustainability strategy that consists of four central pillars: Green Products; Energy, Climate and the Environment; Employees; and Social Involvement. As part of the pillar Social Involvement, four areas of actions have been defined to develop targeted measures: healthy diets and exercise; opportunities for children and adolescents; vigilant approach to food and biodiversity; and environmental protection. As it carries out projects, REWE Group is striving to advance the individual areas of action.
REWE Group considers itself to be a good corporate citizen. This means that it assumes responsibility where it does business and where help is needed within the realm of its own possibilities. In particular, it works on behalf of children and adolescents and promotes healthy diets and a conscious approach to food (see the section Social Involvement).
REWE Group invests in the infrastructure and services of its locations as well as in destinations and countries where support is desperately needed. One focal point of this effort is long-range partnerships with non-profit organisations. Another priority is improving access to education, by taking such steps as building schools and supporting educational institutions. The following section describes selected projects undertaken during the reporting period.
Food Bank Support
REWE Group has been one of the main supporters of more than 940 local Tafel food banks across Germany since 1996. For many years now, REWE Group has also served as a sponsor of many events organised by the food banks’ umbrella organisation, Tafel Deutschland e.V. In 2018, REWE Group supported the event to mark the organisation’s 25th anniversary and the national Tafel day.
Since 2009, customers have been able to purchase so-called Tafel bags and support the food banks as part of the annual campaign called “Fill the Plate Together!” The bags are filled with foods that are rarely donated because of their long shelf lives, including noodles, rice, chocolate and jelly. For two weeks in November 2018, customers at REWE stores and the REWE Delivery Service could buy Tafel bags for five euros. About 505,000 donation bags worth a total of 2.53 million euros were donated to the Tafel. The REWE sales line itself donated 40,000 bags.
Together for Haiti
Ever since a devastating earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, REWE Group has been working with the children’s relief group Kindernothilfe Haiti to improve access to education for children and adolescents. Nearly 4 million euros have been donated as a result of the efforts of REWE Group and the strong commitment of its employees. The money was primarily used to rebuild the destroyed school Collège Véréna that about 1,500 students can attend in a slum in Port-au-Prince. New projects were also initiated for Restavèk children – children from rural areas whose impoverished families sent them to guest families in the city – to ensure that they receive a basic school education. REWE Group created a scholarship programme that enables graduates of Collège Véréna who are in great need and Restavèk children to undergo vocational training or college. The partnership with Kindernothilfe is scheduled to run until 2020 at the very least as a way of providing continued support to the new school and of continuing and expanding education projects.
The DER Touristik Foundation
The DER Touristik Foundation was set up in 2014 as a non-profit organisation of DER Touristik. In taking this step, the international travel company DER Touristik has assumed its responsibility for people and environment of destination countries. The aim is to use the power of tourism to protect the diversity of our planet and to foster the economic development of host countries. DER Touristik Foundation bundles the social commitment of DER Touristik beyond its business activities. In addition, the foundation ensures that sponsorship projects receive effective, long-term support.
The DER Touristik Foundation strives to promote and protect the social and economic conditions of people and the ecosystems in less developed tourism regions of the world. Training measures are designed to create future opportunities and empower local residents to reduce poverty and inequality, contribute to growth and prosperity and to promote the protection of nature and wildlife.
“Know One Teach One” (KOTO): Education Project in Vietnam
In 2016, the DER Touristik Foundation began to provide financial support to the Vietnamese educational organisation KOTO. This group provides extremely disadvantaged and at-risk adolescents with occupational training that enables them to gain qualifications for jobs in the hospitality and tourism industries. In 2018, support funds were used to finance the renovation and expansion of a KOTO training restaurant in Hanoi where students complete their practical training. Under the plan, students will have an improved learning environment, gain practical experience and strengthen their self-confidence for work with guests. The support is based on the principle “helping people to help themselves”. Ultimately, KOTO wants to use the revenue produced by the restaurant to gain mid- and long-range financial independence.
Regional Development Project in Tanzania
Since 2016, the DER Touristik Foundation has been supporting a number of development projects in Tanzania that benefit residents of the Simanjiro District located south of Kilimanjaro. In 2018, the refurbishment and construction of new classrooms at two primary schools (Malambo and Kampuni) were financed. The need for new school space is extremely large as a result of the growing population. The aim is to create a supportive learning environment so that more pupils can qualify to attend secondary school.
A vocational training centre planned by the he German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Upendo e.V. and local organisations will also be designed to provide a start into a better future. In 2018, the foundation stone was laid and necessary wells were dug. The new vocational centre is scheduled to open in 2019. Once in operation, it will teach craftsmanship skills and offer practical experience directly on site, including as part of school construction projects. Well trained young people will receive job opportunities, a chance to earn a living and future prospects in their region.
Because of the close vicinity of national parks, such as Tarangire National Park, nature and species conservation is also very important in this region. Since 2017, the DER Touristik Foundation has been supporting the environmental educational programme “Living in Harmony with Nature” at various secondary schools in the Simanjiro District. The long-term goal is to raise awareness among young people about the importance of wildlife and to increase conservation of natural resources, thus reducing the human-wildlife conflict.
Care Centre in Kleinmond (South Africa)
The DER Touristik Foundation is determined to provide children and adolescents from Kleinmond (South Africa) with new opportunities. The township of Kleinmond is fighting a range of problems: poverty, unemployment and hopelessness along with teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, violence and gang crime. To counteract these developments, the DER Touristik Foundation began in 2018 to support the creation of a new centre for children and adolescents ages 12 to 18. The range of support covers the topics of health (lunch, drug counselling and psychological support), education (homework supervision, tutoring and computer courses) and recreation (sports, teamwork and development of personal skills). The young people should receive support that reflects their abilities.
Sanitary Facilities and Hygiene in India
REWE Far East Ltd. is committed to its responsibility as a purchasing organisation of REWE Group and, since January 2017, has been supporting the “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene” project – or WASH – organised by Save the Children in India. Inadequate supplies of drinking water, the lack of sanitary facilities and virtually no hygiene education are the main causes of the high rates of child mortality in the informal settlements of marginalised groups of people in Delhi. 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. 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.
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 repaired.
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. In addition to the toilet complex, “water ATMs” have been set up. They offer clean, filtered water for one-fifth of the normal price. Solar modules were also installed to provide the toilet complex with continuous power.
By December 2018, REWE Far East and Save the Children had directly reached 4,864 children and adults with the project activities in the first two years. To ensure the long-term future of the project and 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 during the project were handed over to the communities. These communities were also shown how to manage and maintain them.
With its approximately 15,600 stores and travel agencies, REWE Group employs about 360,000 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.
Promotion of Healthy Diets and Exercise
In its role as a charter member of the group “5 am Tag” (5 a day) and a member of the organisation’s Board of Directors, REWE Group has been encouraging efforts to boost consumption of fruit and vegetables to five portions a day and to promote healthy diets for children since 2000. To encourage a healthy lifestyle among children, REWE also distributes school cones to pupils who start school each year. They contain fruit and vegetables and information about nutrition that is suitable for children, among other things.
In many regions of Germany, REWE also promotes nutrition workshops. Depending on the region, the workshops are organised along with the ArbeitsKreisNeueMedien or with expika. The workshops are designed to motivate children in day-care centres and to help them to playfully learn about healthy diets. For this purpose, new media are used during the daily training course in a contemporary way that is appropriate for children. More than 170,000 children have attended a workshop.
Opportunities for Children and Adolescents
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.
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.
To promote motoric and social development at early ages, REWE supports construction of inclusive playgrounds along with the German charity Aktion Mensch and Procter & Gamble. Since April 2018, one cent from the sale of every Procter & Gamble product flows into the campaign “Stück zum Glück” (the Coin to Happiness). The money is being used over a period of three years to build new inclusive playgrounds and expand existing ones.
Germany and Austria make their own donations by rounding-up the total
The sales line PENNY launched a sponsorship penny in November 2018. Customers can round up their total bill at the till to the next 10-cent level – the money is then donated to organisations that support children and adolescents in the neighbourhood. The recipients are thus the winners of the PENNY Goodwill Baskets in their neighbourhood areas.
As part of the “Aufrunden” programme, REWE International AG in Austria is active with the trade companies BILLA, MERKUR, BIPA and PENNY. Thanks to customers’ many years of support, nearly 900,000 euros had been raised by the end of 2018. The money is used to support projects by Caritas, such as learning cafés, special education programmes and mother-child homes.
Cooperation with Lebenshilfe
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, 40 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:
Vigilant Approach to Food
REWE Group strives to keep food waste to a minimum. As part of this effort, it works with upstream production stages and its own stores. With the help of 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 warehouse locations and stores, end-to-end refrigeration from production to shelf as well as regular employee training help to keep losses to a minimum. On average, PENNY and REWE sell up to 99 per cent of their foods each year. Most of the remaining 1 per cent is donated across Germany to around 940 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. The sales line PENNY has been involved in this work for years. In addition to regular activities to sensitise consumers about such areas as the correct way to store foods or the creative use of leftovers, PENNY worked with two popular YouTube bloggers in 2018 as a way of explaining the topic of food waste to young target groups.
In 2019, PENNY won a Federal Award in the Retail category for a campaign on the topic of sell-by date called “Kostbares Retten” (Saving the Valuable) and Naturgut Bio-Helden with “Zu gut für die Tonne!” (Too Good for the Bin). In 2018, PENNY won second place in the Retail category with Naturgut Bio-Helden.
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 and carry out practical measures to prevent food waste.
DER Touristik began in 2018 to introduce the concept to more of its own hotels. Employees who work in the food & beverage area are being trained about sustainable meal offerings and the avoidance of food waste. The hotel lti Bellevue Park in Tunisia started the activities with a sensibilisation workshop.