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GRI 405

Diversity and Equal Opportunity

The demographic shift, globalisation, a process of individualisation and a fundamental shift in values are creating an increasingly diverse society. Diversity produces added value for companies in particular – collaboration fuels ingenuity and adaptability. For this reason, equal opportunity at the company is needed more than ever before. The promotion of diversity in the company is now a critical factor in its business success.

Diversity and equal opportunity are one area of action in the pillar called Employees that is part of the Sustainability Strategy of the REWE Group. The REWE Group’s activities in this area of action are designed to maintain the company’s adaptability and foster fair interaction among employees.

GRI 405: Diversity and equal opportunity

Management approach


For many years now, people from around 150 countries have been working harmoniously and respectfully with one another at the REWE Group. The REWE Group would be unable to remain in business without the many thousands of employees who come from such a wide range cultures. By bringing diversity to life, the company improves its ability to adapt to changing market conditions and bolster its competitiveness in the race to recruit qualified skilled employees. With this in mind, the REWE Group focuses its personnel management activities 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 takes steps to ensure that it provides an equal opportunity to all employees. One of the ways it does so is to offer the same pay to all genders. 

The commitment to the discrimination-free formulation of company human resources policies is a fundamental part of the Guidelines on Sustainable Business Practices at the REWE Group. It is also a fundamental component of the Code of Conduct that applies to all employees and managers. Additionally, at the beginning of 2017, the REWE Group became a signatory to the Diversity Charter, a voluntary commitment by the German business community to diversity management. 


The issue of diversity and equal opportunity is overseen by the HR and sustainability departments of the company’s sales lines. It is included in some of the behavioural anchors contained in the REWE Group’s expertise model for managers in these departments. It is part of their performance reviews as a result. The expertise model serves as a basis for evaluating employee performance in all sales lines. Incentive systems are used as part of this effort as well. 


In its work to foster diversity and equal opportunity, the REWE Group drew on the Diversity Charter in 2021 and defined the following five diversity issues as focal points of the area of action: 

  • Gender and gender identity: The REWE Group promotes gender equality as part of the assignment of areas of responsibility and the acceptance of all gender identities. It endeavours to achieve a balanced gender ratio in all management positions (see section Diversity of Governance Bodies and Employees).
  • Social-cultural background (combines the areas of ethnic origin, religion, ideology and social background): No discrimination based on religion or language, cultural and/or social background should ever occur at the REWE Group.
  • Sexual orientation: The group of companies fosters an open corporate culture for all sexual identities and orientations.
  • Generations: The company provides opportunities and (working) conditions as well as support and advisory programmes for all phases of life.
  • Physical and mental capabilities: The REWE Group offers all of the support needed to assist employees who have limited capabilities. 

The sales lines in Retail Germany have developed a work-group structure to address questions related to this issue: The Diversity Network was set up during the financial year under the motto of “Vielfalt.Gemeinsam.Leben” (Jointly.Living.Diversity.). The network is composed of employees from a range of different departments and sales lines who serve as diversity ambassadors and promote the issue in the sales lines and departments. Working with Corporate Communications, they talk about company-wide issues like gender-neutral language and unconscious bias and raise employees’ awareness levels about them. 

All diversity and equal-opportunity programmes that the REWE Group implements are developed and coordinated each year as part of the company’s HR and sustainability strategy and its annual target planning. Implementation is reviewed and modified where necessary during the annual target planning. The management approach was confirmed during the financial year. No adjustments were made. 

Each sales line has a contact partner to whom employees can turn in cases of discrimination. These advisers are found in compliance departments, the Works Council and the di.to network (different together; see the section Different together: The LGBTIQ network is growing in spite of the pandemic). Employees can also turn to managers, the chairman and the HR department. Information about discrimination will be systematically investigated. Each case will be handled confidentially. A face-to-face meeting will be held with affected individuals, and the Works Council will be brought in. REWE Group Germany has set up a network of regional contact partners to whom employees can turn in cases of discrimination. No standardised complaint mechanism like the one in REWE Group Austria has been created. 

Best practice diversity management according to the German Retail Association

In 2022, the German Retail Association, the auditing and consulting firm PwC Germany and Google Germany prepared a study titled “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – How Mature is the Retail Industry?” The study identified the REWE Group with its Diversity Network as a best-practice example for retailers. It noted that the group of companies has taken a holistic approach to the issue, is actively promoting it on its highest managerial level and is networking employees in order to foster dialogue and an understanding for one another.

Policies and projects to promote diversity and equal opportunity

The REWE Group is actively carrying out a range of projects and implementing various policies to encourage diversity and equal opportunity at the company. 


The REWE Group Germany is working to ensure that all employees have an equal opportunity. The 7,899 people with disabilities and people at risk of disability at the company (as of 2021, Scope Sustainability Report) can turn to the REWE Group’s representative for the disabled and inclusion officers at any time. The representative for the disabled helps individuals to prepare applications for the German Office for Social Services, rejoin the work world following a long absence due to illness and find answers to all other legal questions. The representative also helps the employer with inclusion of new employees. To enable individuals with disabilities to work in administrative positions and in its stores, the REWE Group offers barrier-free workplaces – for example, in the form of checkout stations for employees in wheelchairs.

Small aides like magnifying glasses and signals as well as the opportunity to use a seeing-eye dog in stores have been provided by some retailers in their stores. In Germany, the websites of the REWE Group and the career pages of PENNY and REWE can be used in accordance with barrier-freedom standards. 

Since 2017, the REWE Group has been part of a strategic partnership with Aktion Mensch, a German charity that assists people with disabilities. As part of the partnership, a range of inclusion projects and programmes to assist children and young people is being jointly carried out. During the financial year, a day-care and school inclusion assistance service was created, and its equipping, including playgrounds, was supported (see segment Social Commitment – Projects and Sponsorships). 

The REWE and PENNY sales lines participated in the talent programme of myAbility during the financial year. Students who suffer from chronic illnesses or have disabilities, the myAbility talents, are coached in the areas of career planning and soft skills for an entire semester. They also make connections to companies as potential employees and are given an opportunity to take part in job shadowing – that is they accompany an employee at work – and trial internships. Such activities foster an open approach to disabilities in the company. Preparations for the programme began in autumn 2021. The application phase was extended to March 2022 due to the low number of applications submitted by students as a result of the pandemic. The trial internships are being provided between June and August 2022. 

toom Baumarkt DYI stores have also made respectful and responsible interaction among employees a permanent part of their corporate culture. toom Baumarkt DYI stores have been working with the Bundesvereinigung Lebenshilfe e. V., a German association that assists individuals with disabilities, since 2014. The focal points of this work include active diversity and respectful interaction among people with and without disabilities. These goals are achieved during joint projects conducted as part of local partnerships, practicums and Lebenshilfe workshops that are set up in toom stores. A total of 21 workshop jobs were filled in 2021 (see the segment Social Commitment – Projects and Sponsorships). 

REWE Group Austria employs a holistic concept to the issue of disabilities. Its vision is: “We think barrier free, and we give our employees and partners the same opportunity.” One aim of this programme is to increase the number of employees with disabilities who work at the company. The effort has led to the hiring of deaf employees in stores and of individuals with autism in headquarters units. Barrier freedom has also been added to the websites of REWE Group Austria. As a result of this commitment, the job portal of the BILLA sales line in Austria was recognised as barrier free by the Web Accessibility Certificate Austria (WACA) in 2020. The first independent certificate in Austria affirms the accessibility of all people to professionally evaluated websites. 

REWE Group Austria reviewed its disability strategy in 2020 and reworked it for the period of 2020 to 2025. It also introduced a programme called Diversity to go in 2019 and created an app that informs employees about it. In one other aspect of this programme, the company prepared short videos with experts who discussed such topics as discrimination, feminism and gender identity. In 2021, REWE Group Austria joined forces with the Centre for Dementia Studies at the University of Continuing Education Krems to raise employee awareness levels about this condition as well. As part of the effort, employees who work in stores operated by BILLA, BILLA PLUS, BIPA and PENNY learned how they can help customers who suffer from dementia to do their shopping. The course was based on a training video that the company produced itself. 

BIPA stores and the company’s headquarters also intensified their use of disability recruiting to attract individuals with disabilities to the company. In 2021, the job profile “employee for supporting activities” was introduced in stores for applicants with disabilities. Managers in BIPA’s health and beauty stores also learned more about this issue on an internal online dialogue forum and during a presentation made by Specialisterne, a Danish company that supports the autistic and helps them to find jobs. BIPA also participated in the Purple Light Up Day, the international day for people with disabilities, in December 2021. To celebrate the occasion, a purple BIPA logo was displayed on the company’s social media channels, and two of its stores in Vienna were bathed in purple light. 

A number of BILLA stores have also done their part to facilitate barrier freedom under the motto of BILLA Without Borders. Changes introduced as part of this effort include wheelchair-accessible scales for fruit and vegetables, a baked goods dispenser whose height has been adapted for use by wheelchair users and extra-wide checkout lanes.

The BILLA sales line now employs colleagues with a number of different disabilities including learning difficulties and chronic illnesses in its headquarters, stores, online shop and logistics operation. The sales line also actively recruits people with disabilities in its job ads. BILLA is currently training 220 inclusive individuals. 

Integration of refugees

The REWE Group is doing its part to help refugees to become integrated into society and the work world. As part of these efforts, young refugees have been given practicums across Germany. The acceptance of refugees into training programmes – particularly in sales and logistics – occurs following a period of intense recruitment that includes trial workdays and practicums. As a rule, refugees initially enter a six- to 12-month language and cultural orientation programme. They begin their training after completing these courses. 

The integration initiative called KIMAT that is being conducted by the REWE Region South helps immigrants to become better integrated into the job market and foster intercultural interaction. The project builds a bridge between the backgrounds and the future of refugees in particular. Many of them are now REWE trainees. Others are preparing for their training programmes by attending language courses, among other things. 

Support of refugees through a mentoring programme

The REWE Group has forged a strategic partnership with JOBLINGE, a non-profit employment organisation. The initiative supports two of the organisation’s programmes in particular: JOBLINGE Klassik, which is aimed at socially disadvantaged young people, and JOBLINGE Kompass, which is designed for young refugees. The aim of both programmes is to help these individuals to qualify for the job market and to become integrated into it. Employees of REWE, DER Touristik and PENNY can serve as volunteer mentors as part of a project called “Ehrensache” (Act of Honour). Today, the company has 80 mentors and nearly 180 mentor tandems. JOBLINGE participants have explored the work world during around 700 different practicums. About 240 young people have entered training programmes or received full-time jobs.

REWE Group Austria systematically recruits refugees. In addition to a large number of practicums, a range of training positions has been given to young refugees. 

Integration of the long-term unemployed

The REWE Group works to integrate the unemployed and long-term jobless individuals who are older than 25 in the job market. The programme called Partial Qualifications in About 58 Weeks is a certified initiative conducted by a company called the Entwicklungszentrum für berufliche Qualifizierung und Integration GmbH in Dortmund (EWZ). It prepares selected job-seekers over a period of about 58 weeks to take the examination for sales assistant, focal point service, that is administered by the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The participants are employees of a REWE store and are paid by the store. The store is then reimbursed by the German Employment Agency and the Job Centre until the individuals have earned their qualification. The first partial qualification programme started in December 2019 with 23 participants. Thirteen of them passed the examine in January 2021 with an average score of 2.1 (or B) and received an employment contract from a REWE store. The second partial qualification programme began in November 2021 with 13 participants. It is expected to continue until June 2023. 

Promotion of women

Like many companies, the REWE Group is wrestling with an imbalance between male and female managers. The REWE Group is tackling this challenge in projects being conducted as part of the initiative named Diversity in the REWE Group. The programme called Women’s Drive has led to the promotion of more than 100 participating female employees to managerial positions since 2017. The programme consists of three seminars and an associated mentoring component that incorporates internal managers. It lasts six to eight months. 

The REWE Group has also been a partner in the Cologne-based alliance called Mit Frauen in Führung (With Women in Management) since 2016. In this network, 14 Cologne-based companies conduct a wide range of activities designed to help women to obtain managerial positions. In addition to regular discussions with network members, the REWE Group regularly takes part in a cross-mentoring programme. 

In 2019, the REWE Group gained its own network for women, f.ernetzt. Today, nearly 350 female managers and experts discuss such issues as leadership, new work, personal growth and work/life balance as part of this network. Virtual events that provided collegial support were also offered during the reporting year. 

REWE and PENNY organised workshops on the topic of Diversity in Management for female employees in all regions during the reporting year. During these workshops, proposals designed to promote gender diversity in managerial positions in sales were developed. 

In 2021, gender-neutral language was introduced on the company’s website and in its sustainability and annual reports and internal communications. Similar changes will also be made soon on the career page and in all internal and external communication channels. 

To help to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, REWE Group Austria added emergency hotline numbers to store receipts, the POS and employee screens. 

The Austria sales line BIPA received the quality seal equalitA in 2020. This seal recognises companies that promote women and their careers and encourage gender equality. 

Different together: The LGBTIQ network is growing in spite of the pandemic

di.to (different together) is a Germany-wide LGBTIQ network that helps all employees, regardless of their sexual orientation, to feel comfortable in their jobs at the REWE Group. Since being created in 2013, the network has attracted about 300 members and more than 1,300 followers on social media channels. The network is designed to help employees to network in the work world and promote dialogue outside their own sales lines. As part of these efforts, a national virtual network meeting has been held several times a year since 2020 to foster discussions by internal and external guests about queer, political and job issues. In addition, di.to joined the “PEPP – PROUT EMPLOYER PARTNER PROGRAMME” network in 2020. It works to create a diverse work culture. 

The spokespersons of the six regional di.to groups act as a steering committee that focuses on expanding the network and network meetings, among other things. It also provides support in the form of cash and non-cash donations as well as its participation in many events held by the community. With the help of its successful rainbow sticker campaign, di.to also motivated all REWE and PENNY stores, toom Baumärkte DYI stores and DER travel agencies to promote tolerance and diversity by displaying the symbol on the doors to their facilities. Acting in response to the network’s request, a large number of REWE Group stores raised more than 3,000 rainbow-coloured flags across Germany in May 2021 to mark the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHBOT). This action generated a large amount of regional and national media coverage. Cologne’s Christopher Street Day parade resumed in 2021, albeit in smaller form. Nonetheless, it created a feeling of belonging between employees and the Cologne community. 

The PENNY sales line provided financial support for 20 mentorings to the training and empowerment network Queermentor in 2021. The digital diversity training platform helps LGBTQIA young people who are at least 16 years old to develop the mindset of “I am fine just the way I am”. The focal points of the Queermentor programmes are one-on-one mentoring sessions with experts from a range of industries, online training courses for career success, soft-skills development and strengthened mental health. 

GRI 405-1:

Diversity of governance bodies and employees

To foster diversity in its governance bodies and among its employees, the REWE Group has committed itself to goals regarding a balanced gender ratio and employment of individuals with disabilities that extend beyond regulatory requirements. The REWE Group has set the goal of achieving a balanced gender ratio in managerial positions (managers and top management) by 2025. 

Women made up 66.1 per cent of the total workforce of the REWE Group in 2021(2020: 66.2 per cent). The share of women in top management was 9.8 per cent (2020: 10.9 per cent). About 45.7 per cent of all managers at the company are female (2020: 46.0 per cent).

Objective 2019 2020 2021 Status
Achieve a balanced gender ratio in management positions by 2025 45.4 %
45.6 %
45.3 %
54.6 %
54.4 %
54.7 %
In progress
Goal attained
Not available
Goal not attained

The Supervisory Board of REWE-Zentral-Aktiengesellschaft (RZAG) had 18 ordinary members (16 men and two women) on 31/12/2021. The Supervisory Board of REWE-ZENTRALFINANZ eG (RZF) had 20 ordinary members (16 men and four women) in the financial year. No women were on the Management Board in 2021. No women were members of the Management Board or the Supervisory Board of REWE International AG.

The REWE Group has set itself the goal of keeping its employment rate of individuals with disabilities by headcount* at a level of at least 3 per cent up until 2025. 

The REWE Group measures the employment rate for individuals with disabilities on the basis of section 2 of the German Social Welfare Code (Sozialgesetzbuch) and on the Austrian Disabled Persons Employment Act (Behinderteneinstellungsgesetz). Under these definitions, the employment rate of individuals with disabilities at the REWE Group was 3.0 per cent in 2021 (2020: 3.1 per cent).

Objective 2019 2020 2021 Status
Keep the employment rate of individuals with disabilities at a level of at least 3.0% until 20251 3.2% 3.1% 3.0%
In progress
Goal attained
Not available
Goal not attained
The rate of individuals with disabilities is calculated by headcount. As a result, it has a different calculation basis than the mandatory share of employed individuals with severe disabilities under section 154 of the Social Welfare Code IX in Germany. The decision to calculate the employment rate of people with disabilities by headcount was made in order to be able to determine a uniform key figure for all countries (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 registered disabilities are considered in the analysis.

Share of employees by category 2021

Top executives
Women 9.8%
Men 90.2%
Diverse 0%
Not Specified 0%
Women 45.7%
Men 54.3%
Diverse 0%
Not Specified 0%
Women 66.1%
Men 33.9%
Diverse 0.0024%
Not Specified 0.00012%

Composition of employees by employee category

Employees Managers Top executives
Region 2019 2020 2021 2019 2020 2021 2019 2020 2021
Total headcount Total 229,125 249,016 248,678 14,975 15,154 15,158 206 211 204
Germany 190,309 209,644 209,163 9,771 9,999 10,107 174 179 171
Austria 38,816 39,372 39,515 5,204 5,155 5,051 32 32 33
Women in % Total 67.9 66.2 66.1 45.9 46.0 45.7 10.2 10.9 9.8
Germany 66.5 64.7 64.6 35.0 35.5 36.1 9.8 10.6 9.4
Austria 74.8 74.2 73.9 66.4 66.5 65.1 12.5 12.5 12.1
Men in % Total 32.1 33.8 33.9 54.1 54.0 54.3 89.8 89.1 90.2
Germany 33.5 35.3 35.4 65.0 64.5 63.9 90.2 89.4 90.6
Austria 25.2 25.8 26.1 33.6 33.5 34.9 87.5 87.5 87.9
Diverse in % Total 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Germany 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Austria 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Not specified in % Total - 0.0 0.0 - 0.0 0.0 - 0.0 0.0
Germany - 0.0 0.0 - 0.0 0.0 - 0.0 0.0
Austria - 0.0 0.0 - 0.0 0.0 - 0.0 0.0
Up to 30 years old in % Total 30.6 31.9 30.8 13.5 12.0 11.4 - - 0.0
Germany 30.0 31.5 30.3 12.8 11.3 10.4 - - 0.0
Austria 33.6 33.9 33.6 14.6 13.5 13.4 - - 0.0
31– 50 years old in % Total 39.4 38.9 39.4 59.8 60.4 60.6 44.2 44.1 45.1
Germany 38.3 37.9 38.4 60.3 61.4 62.1 43.7 43.0 45.0
Austria 45.0 44.3 44.3 58.8 58.4 57.6 46.9 50.0 45.5
More than 50 years old in % Total 30.0 29.2 29.8 26.8 27.6 28.0 55.8 55.9 54.9
Germany 31.7 30.6 31.3 26.9 27.3 27.5 56.3 57.0 55.0
Austria 21.4 21.8 22.1 26.6 28.1 28.9 53.1 50.0 54.5
Rate of individuals with disabilities by headcount* Total 3.3 3.2 3.1 1.9 1.8 1.6 0.9 0.5 1.0
Germany 3.6 3.5 3.3 2.2 2.0 1.8 0.6 0.6 1.1
Austria 1.6 1.7 1.9 1.3 1.3 1.4 3.1 - -
The rate of individuals with disabilities is calculated by headcount. As a result, it has a different calculation basis than the mandatory share of employed individuals with severe disabilities under section 71 of the Social Welfare Code IX in Germany. The decision to calculate the employment rate of people with disabilities by headcount was made in order to be able to determine a uniform key figure for all countries (Germany and Austria). Individuals with disabilities are defined under section 2 of the German Social Welfare Code and the Austrian Disabled Persons Employment Act.

Composition of leading governance bodies

Year Number Women % Men % Up to 30 years old % 31– 50 years old % More than 50 years old %
Management Board 2019 4 0 100 0 25 75
2020 4 0 100 0 25 75
2021 4 0 100 0 25 75
Supervisory Board Germany 2019 31 16 84 0 22.6 77.4
2020 32 25 75 0 31.3 68.7
2021 32 25 75 0 25 75
RIAG Management Board (Austria) 2019 6 0 100 0 50 50
2020 5 0 100 0 60 40
2021 4 0 100 0 100 0
Supervisory Board (Austria) 2019 5 0 100 0 40 60
2020 4 0 100 0 50 50
2021 4 0 100 0 50 50

Share of non-German employees

Employees Managers Top executives
Region 2019 2020 2021 2019 2020 2021 2019 2020 2021
Total headcount Total 229,125 249,016 248,678 14,975 15,154 15,158 206 211 204
Germany 190,309 209,644 209,163 9,771 9,999 10,107 174 179 171
Austria 38,816 39,372 39,515 5,204 5,155 5,051 32 32 33
Headcount of foreign nationalities Total 33,885 38,767 40,804 1,497 1,584 1,699 14 17 19
Germany 23,449 27,732 29,177 615 659 726 5 7 8
Austria 10,436 11,035 11,627 882 925 973 9 10 11
Share of foreign nationalities in % Total 14.8 15.6 16.4 10.0 10.5 11.2 6.8 8.1 9.3
Germany 12.3 13.2 13.9 6.3 6.6 7.2 2.9 3.9 4.7
Austria 26.9 28.0 29.4 16.9 17.9 19.3 28.1 31.3 33.3

GRI 405-2:

Equal pay for equal work

Equal pay for equal work is a high-priority goal at the REWE Group. Much of the compensation employees earn is set by collective bargaining agreements – in such cases, pay is based on remuneration groups and is not influenced by gender or other factors. A total of 98.4 per cent of the REWE Group’s employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements and/or labour-management agreements. In terms of the scope of the Sustainability Report including independent retailers, the figure is 71.7 per cent. Collective bargaining coverage for REWE retailers is generally created when a company joins an employers’ association.

The German Remuneration Transparency Act took effect in 2017. It is designed to promote equal pay for women and men for the same type of work. Twenty-two employee queries about this issue were submitted in the financial year. Employees can submit their questions about equal pay to the headquarters department Compensation & Benefit. This process is coordinated with works councils.