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GRI 305

Climate protection on a company level

Human activity has a marked effect on the climate, while climate change has a significant effect on ecosystems and, as a result, on societies as well. The REWE Group understands its responsibility for the climate: A large portion of global CO2 emissions is created during the production and consumption of products, the provision of services and by transport. 

Three areas of action were defined in the pillars Energy, Climate and the Environment of the group-wide sustainability strategy climate-relevant emissions, energy efficiency and conservation of resources. In terms of climate protection, the activities of the REWE Group are included in the area of action of climate-relevant emissions. 

GRI 305: Emissions

Management approach


Saving energy and preventing climate damaging emissions are very important for the REWE Group, while rising energy costs also have to be taken into account. Key challenges to be faced by the REWE Group in the future include cutting energy consumption while addressing rising needs in the areas of freshness and convenience, which will require increased transports and refrigeration. 

The group is aware that greenhouse gases are created through operation of the stores, travel agencies and headquarters, transportation of goods and business trips and that these have an effect on climate. The declared strategic goal of the REWE Group is to make a measurable contribution to climate and resource protection or, at the very least, to keep impacts on the climate and environment to a minimum. 

In its Guideline on Sustainable Business Practices, the REWE Group has committed itself to continuously reducing the greenhouse gases that are produced as a result of its business processes. It champions the use of renewable energies and reduces specific energy consumption with appropriate measures and by making employees aware of actions to save energy. The guidelines are also a value basis for business relationships with the contractual partners of the REWE Group. 


A new climate strategy was defined in 2021 and the management approach was modified to take account of this:

  • The scope was extended and the focus on Germany and Austria was expanded to include all countries and companies where the REWE Group is active.
  • Two new sub-targets were adopted with regard to refrigerant-related greenhouse gas emissions and electricity consumption per square metre sales area (see Objectives). 

All measures to achieve the defined objectives were implemented throughout the group; any deviations are described explicitly. Information about upstream supply chains can be found in Climate Protection in the Supply Chain

To reach its targets, the REWE Group has had its annual greenhouse gas emissions reported by independent experts since 2006 so that it can review its progress (see Carbon Footprint Report 2021). The reporting framework includes all parts of the value chain that can be directly controlled. Specifically, this means: Emission data relates to the process chain from the central warehouses to the stores of the REWE Group and to the travel agencies and administration. It does not include manufacture and transport of the products or product use and disposal by customers. 

In addition to outlining the achieved savings, the Carbon Footprint Report highlights the fundamental levers that the company has at its disposal. The major causes of greenhouse gas emissions are electrical, heating and refrigeration systems. Other causes are logistics and business trips. To allow a better comparison, the focus is on direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions. In future, paper will be reported as resource consumption. 


The Energy, Climate and Environment Working Group is responsible for climate protection on a company level. The working group is led by Telerik Schischmanow (Divisional Management Board Trade Germany – Administration and Services). Operational implementation in the regions and strategic business units is handled and expedited by dedicated specialist areas, such as energy managers. 


In 2021, the REWE Group set a new absolute target in relation to its climate strategy: the REWE Group wants to achieve climate neutrality at the company level by 2040. This applies not only to Germany and Austria, but to all countries and companies in which it is active. To do this, in a first step, by 2030 it will reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent compared to the base year of 2019. The emission level set by the REWE Group takes account of the use of certified green electricity in all stores, warehouses and travel agencies since 2008. 

In addition to its climate targets, the REWE Group has defined two KPIs to track the effectiveness of energy efficiency measures and activities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They focus on activities that cause significant consumption or greenhouse gas emissions where the REWE Group can have a direct effect through its own actions: refrigerant-related greenhouse gas emissions and electricity consumption. 

KPI/Target 20191 2020 2021 Status
Reduce total greenhouse gas emissions for all countries and companies of the REWE Group by 30% by 2030 (compared to 2019)

Climate neutrality for all countries and companies of REWE Group by 2040
- 8.1% - 7.3%
Reduce refrigerant-related greenhouse gas emissions for all countries and companies of the REWE Group by 60% by 2030 (compared to 2019) - 11% - 18%
Reduce electricity consumption per square metre of sales area by 10% by 2030 (compared to 2019) - 3.1% - 5.2%
In progress
Goal attained
Not available
Goal not attained
No data, as it is the base year.

These targets replace the previous ones that REWE achieved prematurely for Germany and Austria before 2022:

KPI Status
Halve greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 equivalents) for Germany and Austria per square metre sales area by 2022 compared to 2006
Reduce refrigerant-related greenhouse gas emissions per square metre sales area (in kg CO2 equivalents/m²) by 35% in Germany and Austria between 2012 and 2022
Reduce electricity consumption per square metre sales area (in kWh/m²) by 7.5% in Germany and Austria between 2012 and 2022
In progress
Goal attained
Not available
Goal not attained

To prevent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a company level and reach its targets, in addition to using climate-friendly refrigerants (see Reducing refrigerant-related greenhouse gas emissions) and green electricity (see Energy), the REWE Group focuses on the following: modern, energy efficiency stores (see Green Building) and alternative drive systems (see Logistics & Mobility).
The REWE Group will try to neutralise unavoidable residual greenhouse gas emissions in the future with appropriate measures. 

Carbon Footprint Report 2021

During the reporting period, the monitoring instrument, the annual carbon footprint report, was carried out for Germany by INFRAS AG and for Austria by denkstatt GmbH. The service providers calculated greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the GHG Protocol. 

In determining CO2 equivalent emission factors, as in the previous years, data from the material-flow-analysis model GEMIS, the transport emission model TREMOD and the life-cycle analysis database Ecoinvent were used, among other things. 

Complaint procedure

REWE Group attaches great importance to tips and improvement suggestions from employees with regard to its general approach and to the actions it takes in the areas of climate protection on a company level and energy. The REWE Group has set up a central e-mail address for this purpose: EnMS@rewe-group.com. External stakeholders can also use this address. However, they also have all other communication channels of the REWE Group at their disposal. For more information, refer to Energy, optimising energy consumption. 

GRI 305-1, 305-2, 305-3:

Greenhouse gas emissions scope 1–3 (tonnes CO2 equivalents)1

Total greenhouse gas emissions for all international companies of the REWE Group fell from 1.47 million tonnes in the base year 2019 to about 1.36 million tonnes in 2021. This represents a decrease of about 7.3 per cent.

2019 2020 2021 Change 2019–2021
Scope 1: Direct greenhouse gas emissions (GRI 305-1) 874,846 778,333 791,664 - 9.5%
Scope 22: Indirect energy-related greenhouse gas emissions (GRI 305-2) 264,682 237,069 217,431 - 17.9%
Scope 3: Other indirect energy-related greenhouse gas emissions (GRI 305-3) 326,735 331,669 350,010 7.1%
Total greenhouse gas emissions 1,466,262 1,347,071 1,359,106 - 7.3%
Scope: all countries and companies of the REWE Group, including retailers.
102-48: Compared to the 2020 reporting year, the base year for the KPIs has changed from 2006 to 2019; the reporting framework was also extended to include all countries and companies in which the REWE Group is involved.
The green power generated for companies of the REWE Group in Germany meets the requirements of Label EE01 of TÜV SÜD, a technical inspection association in Germany.

GRI 305-4:

GHG emissions intensity

Specific greenhouse gas emissions (per square metre sales area) of the REWE Group remained constant over the reporting period. In 2021, the figure was 109 kilograms CO2 equivalents per square metre. The calculation of emissions intensity includes direct, indirect energy-related and other indirect emissions (scopes 1, 2 and 3).

Greenhouse gas emissions1

Unit 2019 2020 2021
Total greenhouse gas emissions t CO2 equivalents 1,466,262 1,347,071 1,359,106
Specific greenhouse gas emissions per square metre of sales area kg CO2 equivalents/m² 119 109 109
Scope: all countries and companies of the REWE Group, including retailers.
The green power generated for companies of the REWE Group in Germany meets the requirements of the Label EE01 of TÜV SÜD, a technical services company in Germany.

The greenhouse gas emissions of the REWE Group were broken down in the following manner for 2021:

Share of greenhouse gas emissions by originator group (scope 1–3) in 2021

Scope: all countries and companies of the REWE Group, including retailers.

GRI 305-5:

Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

The REWE Group has taken various measures to save electricity, which result in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (for more information, refer to Energy). As a result of these efforts, about 398 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents were saved in 2021.

Steps to lower CO₂ emissions1

Measures Savings of CO2 equivalents (tonnes)
20192 20202 2021
Conversion of lighting systems to LED, optimisation of light management, reduction of turn-on times
102 171 159
For example, use of glass on dairy-product shelves and doors on freezers, retrofitting of glass doors, optimisation/upgrading of system technology, replacement of refrigeration systems and energy-efficient display cases
60 81 161
Improvements in the technology of other systems, ventilation systems and IT infrastructure 1 34 78
Total 163 286 398
Scope: companies of the REWE Group in Germany and Austria including retailers. Not included are measures to reduce the electricity consumption of Lekkerland and units that left the REWE Group in terms of the scope during the reporting period.
The basis for the calculation are the energy-saving initiatives used for GRI 302-4.
102-48: The values for 2019 and 2020 differ from those in the last sustainability report due to the use of market-based emission factors instead of location-based emission factors.

GRI 305-6:

Emissions of ozone-depleting substances (ODS)

In recent years, the REWE Group has consistently reduced its use of ozone-depleting refrigerants – no ozone-damaging refrigerant has been used since 2020. The chief reason for this was the legally mandated replacement of the refrigerant R22 with non-ozone-depleting refrigerants.

Emissions of ozone-depleting substances by weight (kilograms)

Unit 2019 2020 2021
Total emissions of ozone-depleting substances from replenished refrigerant kg of CFC-11 equivalents 0.3 0 0
Scope: All countries and companies of the REWE Group including retailers.

GRI 305-7:

Nitrogen oxides (NOX), sulfur oxides (SOX), and other significant air emissions

The airborne pollutants associated with the business activities of the REWE Group are primarily caused by upstream combustion and production processes used to make electricity, heat and paper. Emissions generated by refrigerants, logistics and business trips also have an impact on air quality.

Air pollutant emissions, including upstream chains (t)

2019 2020 2021
NOX 1,273,712 1,343,324 1,221,380
SOX 270,099 300,177 312,308
Fine particulate matter (particle < 10 µm) 41,099 56,274 50,273
Non-methane volatile organic compounds 66,239 89,908 58,179
Scope: companies of the REWE Group in Germany and Austria including retailers. Units that are no longer part of REWE Group were excluded during the reporting period in terms of the scope.

Reduction of refrigerant-related greenhouse gas emissions

The greenhouse gas emissions produced by refrigerating systems are largely the result of the refrigeration agents used in them. The REWE Group decided early on to use climate-friendly refrigerants. These agents increasingly also include natural refrigerants such as CO2 and propane and refrigerants with lower greenhouse gas potential. By doing this, the REWE Group has been able to reduce refrigerant-related greenhouse gas emissions from 364,544 tonnes in 2019 to 277,212 tonnes in 2021. Throughout the group, this represents a 24 per cent reduction.

Within the framework of the REWE Group’s sustainability strategy, in the REWE and PENNY stores all multi-compressor systems for commercial refrigeration in new buildings and in most refurbishments are equipped with CO2, a natural refrigerant. Plug-in refrigerating units that will be used in future at all new and refurbished stores will operate with propane (R290), a natural refrigerant.