When goods are transported, fuel is consumed – through the transport of goods from the production facilities to the warehouse, from the warehouse to the store and through online ordering when goods are delivered to the customers. These consumptions are reflected in energy consumption and in the release of emissions.
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. The actions in the area of logistics and mobility are assigned to the pillars Energy Efficiency and Climate-Relevant Emissions.
GRI 307: Logistics and mobility
The REWE Group is continuously looking for ways to reduce fuel consumption. The company is also doing everything it can to ensure that the mobility of its employees generates as few emissions as possible.
The REWE Group takes many measures to optimise its logistics and transport processes.
Measures in the area of logistics and goods transport
The REWE Group Logistics ensures that the company’s stores always have the products they need. A complex transport and warehouse system ensures availability, quality and freshness of the products. At the same time, the REWE Group aims to keep fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions caused by logistics as low as possible. To achieve this, the REWE Group uses the following levers: strategic reduction of distances between stores and warehouses, high capacity utilisation of the vehicles, reduction of emissions per kilometre driven through differentiated logistics concepts, the use of more efficient vehicle technology and changes in driving behaviour.
Fuel consumption for trucks and cars increased from 1,334 GWh in 2020 to 1,355 GWh in the reporting year.
Fuel consumption of the REWE Group (in GWh)
|Share of fuel consumption (trucks/cars) in total energy consumption of the REWE Group
Transport-related emissions cause about 37 per cent of the REWE Group’s total greenhouse gas emissions in Germany and about 36 per cent in Austria. For the entire the REWE Group, the share of greenhouse gas emissions caused by logistics was almost 33 per cent in the reporting year. The absolute increase between 2020 and 2021 was 5,685 tonnes CO2 equivalents. The percentage increase can also be attributed to the reduced share of greenhouse gas emissions from electricity, resulting from the use of green electricity in Germany and Austria (for more information, refer to Energy).
Greenhouse gas emissions1 from logistics (including external carrier logistics)
|Total greenhouse gas emissions from logistics
||t CO2 equivalents
|Share of logistics in total greenhouse gas emissions of the REWE Group
Warehouse network structure
The REWE Group’s warehouse network also expanded in 2021. For instance, PENNY logistics was reorganised in the Region East. The REWE Group fruit logistics also put the new fruit and vegetables hub in Wiesloch into operation. The warehouse network was also increased through warehouse conversions and extensions at the Stelle, Breuna and Oranienburg locations.
In addition to the improvements in the warehouse structure, forecast techniques and route planning are continuously improved. In 2021, utilisation of the entire truck fleet was approximately 91 per cent of the capacity in use, which is a one per cent improvement compared to the previous year.
New roll cage trolleys: increased efficiency in goods delivery
In the reporting year, the introduction of new roll cages into the REWE full product range, which began in 2020, was largely completed. The primary transport aid to move merchandise into the REWE Group stores will take account of increased demands. The side rails, which are 15 per cent higher than their predecessors, considerably increases the capacity utilisation of the roll cages and also the trucks. This made it possible to save two million transport units, 51,000 deliveries, 7.2 kilometre and 2.8 million litres of fuel. As well as this increased efficiency, another focus of this development was ease of handling for employees. The new roll cages can be used in many different ways and can be dismantled quickly to take up little space while they are being stored temporarily and to be returned to the warehouse. In 2021, the PENNY sales line also fitted higher side rails to its roll cages to increase the efficiency of goods deliveries.
Vehicle technology and alternative drive systems
In the REWE Region Central, gas-powered trucks are a regular part of the fleet. In 2021, eleven trucks ran on CNG (compressed natural gas). In addition, in national long-distance traffic between the central warehouses and the regional warehouses, seven trucks use LNG (liquefied natural gas).
REWE International AG also works with alternative drive systems and, in Austria, began using two diesel hybrid trucks and seven trucks running on natural gas at the end of 2021. Between September 2018 and September 2021 a fully electrically operated prototype truck supplied the retail stores in the Vienna municipal area. IN 2002, another eTruck trial is planned for the Vienna area.
The eTruck was developed and put into operation within the framework of a long-term partnership between REWE International AG and the Council for Sustainable Logistics (CNL). REWE International AG is also participating in the MEGAWATT-LOGISTICS project of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna. The aim is to find solutions for the challenges of changing over to electric trucks.
To further reduce the emissions of the fleet, the REWE Group also replaces its vehicles regularly. For this purpose, the company once again increased its investments in the truck fleet considerably in 2021. Older vehicles with lower emission classes were increasingly replaced by new Euro-6 vehicles. At the end of 2021, the share of vehicles that met the Euro 6 emission standard was 92 per cent in Germany and 83 per cent in Austria (in terms of the company’s entire fleet of trucks).
In Germany, average fuel consumption per 100 kilometres also fell by one per cent compared to the previous year.
Deliveries with battery-operated trucks: feasibility analysis
In 2021, in the REWE Region North-East, a research project was carried out in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI. the objective was to analyse the technical feasibility and economic efficiency of battery-operated trucks in heavy traffic. The urban and regional distribution logistics of Oranienburg and Berlin-Mariendorf warehouses were used as case studies. The energy consumption was simulated for 9,500 actual routes of 224 heavy trucks and the total usage costs for acquisition from 2021 and eight years of operation were calculated. The result: current eTrucks and models announced for the future could electrify a large part of the distribution traffic. Up to 42 per cent of the vehicles that were considered and 21 per cent of the carrying capacity would be feasible with battery-operated trucks and, compared to conventional trucks, total usage costs would also be lower. However, this assumes the corresponding availability of the vehicle models, which is currently not the case in terms of the required numbers within the required time line.
Multi-chamber vehicles for Lekkerland
Since 2013, 231 multi-chamber vehicles and vehicle combinations have been delivering merchandise to the Lekkerland sales line. They have up to three temperature zones simultaneously inside: fresh (0–7 °C), deep-frozen (-18 °C) and ambient products. With this multi-temperature logistics system, only one truck is used to supply the full range of goods ordered to customers, especially petrol station shops and convenience stores. This considerably reduces the number of stops, the kilometres driven and the emissions of the trucks. In 2013, the concept received the German Logistics Award from the Federal Logistics Association.
Delivering to customers
REWE Group is developing a new concept to ensure efficient delivery to customers by REWE Lieferservice (REWE delivery service). It will take account of the challenges of urban centres, such as increasing traffic and the resulting congestion and bans on vehicles. One approach is to use bicycles with trailers. In collaboration with the service provider veloCARRIER GmbH, deliveries in Cologne and Berlin will be made by electric bike. The bikes have a motor and are equipped with a facility to carry merchandise.
In the course of optimising the refrigeration concept for the REWE Lieferservice (REWE delivery service), new thermal boxes were developed in 2021. They use batteries to keep the merchandise cool. They do not require carbon dioxide and can be used time and time again. This means that no dry ice is needed. The first locations were provided with the new thermal boxes in 2021.
Turn assistants for increased safety in road traffic
Within the framework of the safety partnership with the German Federal Department of Transportation, in 2018, the REWE Group began equipping all new vehicles in the REWE and PENNY fleets in Germany with turn assistants. This has been the case with the Lekkerland sales line since 2019. In addition, all existing newer Euro 6 vehicles were retrofitted accordingly. By the end of 2021, more than 500 trucks were retrofitted with assistance systems or added to the fleet as new vehicles already equipped with the systems. Consequently, at the end of the reporting year, more than 70 per cent of the fleet in Germany had been retrofitted. The entire truck fleet should be equipped with turn assistants by the end of 2022.
With this voluntary commitment, the REWE Group points the way for more safety in road traffic. The turn assistant detects road users in the vehicle's direct surroundings and draws the driver’s attention to them with acoustic or visual signals. This protects pedestrians, cyclists and all other road users from turning accidents, which often have a fatal outcome.
Due to its business model, the REWE Group Logistics transports mainly food. Because of this, in the event of a transport accident, there is little risk of chemicals or other hazardous materials being released. If transport accidents occur in logistics, they are recorded and followed up at the logistics locations. To prevent serious accidents, all drivers regularly receive driver safety training.
Employee and customer mobility
Energy is consumed and emissions are also produced when employees commute. The REWE Group is working on finding ways to make these commutes emission free as well.
For instance, the REWE Group offers employees, especially in metropolitan areas, a reasonably priced job ticket to use public transport. Entitled employees of the REWE Group can use their mobility budget individually – they can choose a smaller car, for example, and use the amount saved to increase their age pension benefits. In addition to their mobility budget, electric vehicle drivers receive a monthly bonus of up to EUR 150. The monthly subsidy for hybrid vehicles is EUR 50.
At its locations in Cologne, the REWE Group also has 34 charging stations where employees can charge their vehicles. For its employees in Austria, the REWE Group has 100 charging stations for 137 electric vehicles.
To encourage mobility with bicycles, all employees of the REWE Group in Germany have been able to purchase a company bike since 2016 as part of a deferred-compensation model. Employees can use the bicycles to commute to work and enjoy in their leisure time. Since the scheme began, employees have bought more than 8,000 bicycles.
Promote electric mobility by providing charging stations
The REWE Group is making a contribution towards developing the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and is installing charging stations in the car parks of new stores, which were built according to the Green Building concept. At the end of 2021, 370 stores and administration locations had charging stations for electric vehicles. 150 of these are in Germany, 68 in Austria and 152 in the CEE countries.
In 2021, the company concluded several strategic partnerships with the aim of developing one of the largest and most modern networks of fast charging stations in Germany. By the end of 2024, up to 2,000 additional fast charging stations will be installed at at least 400 selected REWE and PENNY stores and other leased properties. During this time, the REWE Group will install up to 4,000 more charging stations at existing leased properties and new buildings.