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GRI 417

Promoting Sustainable Consumption

Promoting the consumption of more sustainable products and services is an important part of the REWE Group's sustainability strategy. In order for more sustainable product ranges to be successful, the social or environmental added value must be understandable and credible for the customers. It is important to note that other criteria such as the price, quality, packaging and freshness also play a role in purchasing decisions. Retail has an important intermediary role to play in this context. Without sufficient demand and willingness to pay on the part of the customer, responsible providers quickly find themselves in financial difficulties. And without a broad range of more sustainable products, consumers are unable to act in an ethically responsible way.

GRI 417: Marketing and labeling

Management approach


In its Guidelines on Sustainable Business Practices, the REWE Group pledges to comply with applicable consumer-protection regulations and to employ appropriate sales, marketing and information practices in communications with consumers.


As part of its sustainability communications work, the REWE Group implements various measures which enable informed purchasing decisions and are intended to get consumers enthusiastic about more sustainable products and services. Credibility, transparency and a target group-specific address are important communication principles here.


The REWE Group has committed itself to transforming sustainability's niche role into a truly mass market.

Measures for increasing sustainability awareness

Through campaigns, actions and communication measures throughout the year, the sales lines of the REWE Group address their customers on sustainable consumption in the context of a relevant social issue such as, for example, conscious diets, organic products, regionality or animal welfare. By doing so, the REWE Group creates awareness of sustainability during purchasing decisions and makes its customers aware of responsible consumption.

REWE communicates sustainability topics throughout the entire year as part of far-reaching 360-degree campaigns and directly in the stores. For example, the eight-week campaign “Leichter besser essen” (Eat better more easily) about the Nutri-Score was launched around January 2021 and the Tafel bags campaign was advertised in October under the slogan “Fill the Plate Together”. In addition to promoting topics, REWE's online shop offers a function which enables customers to apply an organic or vegan filter to products and items.

REWE focuses on regional, organic and vegan products

There is a focus on regionality and organic products. To this end, the sales line is continuously expanding its communications – in the relevant seasonal period, all year round and across all channels. In 2021, the focus was on, amongst other things, the promotion of local business, short transportation routes as well as trusting and fair cooperation with local suppliers and farmers within the REWE Local Partnership (for more information on regionality at the REWE Group, see Regionality).

With regards to organic products (for more information, see Organic), REWE asked questions in 2021 such as, for example, “Is this still organic?” and thereby demonstrated that organic has long ceased to be a niche topic for sustainability pioneers. Under the slogan “Mehr Bio für dich = besser für alle” (More organic food for you is better for everyone), REWE showed, for example, that organic means more space and larger run-out areas for dairy cows – with five-minute videos on around 6,000 screens in German cities. The launch of the private label “REWE Bio + vegan” in May 2021 was also accompanied by a communication campaign. During the financial year, REWE also reported on the project “Boden gut gemacht” (Soil made good) with NABU, in which farmers seeking to transition from conventional to organic farming can receive support. At the start of 2022, the “Gutes beginnt mit mir – Gemeinsam für mehr Nachhaltigkeit” (Good things begin with me – together for more sustainability) omni-channel campaign was launched for the areas of animal welfare, packaging and the climate.

In order to place vegan product ranges, the consumption of plant-based alternative products and packaging in the context of climate protection, REWE cooperated with the ecosign Academy of Design in Cologne at the end of 2021. As part of the project, sustainable design students were called upon to look for new approaches to communication – from traditional communication media and digital design options through to packaging concepts. A panel made up of employees from the REWE Group in the area of sustainability selected the best three ideas which were awarded prize money of up to 1,500 euros. These are currently being reviewed in terms of their feasibility.

Since 2020, PENNY has been gathering together all information and news about sustainability online under the motto “Unser grüner Weg” (Our green way). In addition, the sales line has used far-reaching sustainability campaigns throughout the financial year to highlight relevant topics such as Naturgut, climate change and the Förderpenny (Sponsorship Penny) initiative. Since the end of 2021, the campaign “Klimaleicht mit PENNY” (Climate-friendly with PENNY) has been used to bring climate protection into focus, through the consumption of plant-based alternative products using the example of the private label Food for Future. As in previous years, the discounter also ran Sustainability Weeks during the financial year to promote more sustainable branded products.

“Zukunftsbauer” (Farmer of the future) project promotes energy-efficient egriculture

The end of October 2021 saw the launch of the support programme “Zukunftsbauer” (Farmer of the Future), a joint project between PENNY and the dairy Berchtesgadener Land. The aim of this project is to make a contribution to climate protection and the preservation of family-run farms in the Alps. For this purpose, farmers in the dairy cooperative are set to receive up to 10,000 euros to help them make their farms more energy efficient. An example is farms with sophisticated energy management, which use the power produced themselves by means of a photovoltaic system in a time-optimised manner for their electrical machines and electrical vehicle fleet.

The funds for this project come from two sources: PENNY waives part of the trade margin from the sale of all dairy products from the brand “Berchtesgadener Land”. The dairy Berchtesgadener Land doubles that amount. By buying products from Berchtesgadener Land, consumers are thereby able to support farmers in the region on their journey towards sustainable agriculture. Therefore, the joint project between PENNY and Berchtesgadener Land is a good example of what is possible when retail, companies, agriculture and consumers pull together.

See and experience sustainability issues at PENNY

Since the opening of the first interactive sustainability store “PENNY Grüner Weg” in 2020, the sales line has been making its customers more aware of the importance of sustainability: 20 stations in the store allow customers to see and experience the most important sustainability issues – from the advantages of Naturgut Bio-Helden and initiatives to avoid packaging through to tips on how to create a bee-friendly environment. One station also shows the “true cost”: here it is explained what selected products actually cost when certain environmental factors are taken into consideration.
To do this, scientists at the University of Augsburg looked at the four indicators of greenhouse gas emissions, reactive nitrogen emissions, energy consumption and land use change from the production of eight selected foods and included them in the true sale price of conventionally and organically produced private label products (apple, banana, potato, tomato, mozzarella, Gouda, milk and mixed ground meat). The example evaluation of conventionally produced food shows that the sale price per kilogram increases by around 62 per cent on average. The delta between true cost and sale price is smaller for organic food because it tends to reflect the consequential costs. Therefore, the sale price of products from organic farming increases by around 35 per cent.

REWE, PENNY and nahkauf draw attention to insect mortality

Insect mortality is focal point of customer communications at REWE, PENNY and nahkauf. For example, PENNY ran an action week on bee-friendly plants in spring 2021.

Since 2019, REWE has been receiving prominent support for communication activities on protecting insects: Maya the Bee and her friends are ambassadors for REWE's commitment to biodiversity and have also promoted the protection of insects during the financial year. For more information on wildlife conservation and biodiversity, see Biodiversity).

A bee campaign also took place for the first time at the nahkauf sales line in 2021. Under the slogan “Wir geben Bienen ein Zuhause” (We give bees a home), over 430 nahkauf stores across Germany provided a total of 435 insect hotels which were given to selected establishments such as nursery schools. The little wooden houses provide bees and other insects with a nesting and hibernation aid.

In autumn 2021, toom Baumarkt DIY stores promoted the sustainable properties of its private label products – from flooring and paints/varnishes through to energy-saving LED lights or radiator thermostats – with the campaign “Über Geschmack lässt sich streiten – über Nachhaltigkeit nicht” (You can argue about taste – but not sustainability). The former tennis player Ana Ivanović and her husband, football star Bastian Schweinsteiger, were brand ambassadors for this campaign.

DER Touristik is educating customers about sustainable and responsible travel offerings via the format “Bewusst Reisen” (“Conscious Travel”) (see Sustainable Holiday Offerings). In addition, the travel company has been working with the industry initiative for sustainability, Futouris e. V., to develop a feasibility study on the creation of a CO2 accounting system since autumn 2021. The aim is to create a uniform basis for calculating a climate footprint for travel and then implement it as an industry project. The CO2 footprint information is to be incorporated into product design at DER Touristik and be used to make products comparable, drive sales of more sustainable products, and make customers aware of the impact of their travel on the climate and possible alternatives. This is intended to reduce the climate footprint of travel.

The REWE Group in Austria has been organising Sustainability Weeks once a year since 2010. The products in focus here are those which offer sustainable added value with regard to healthy diets, climate and environmental protection, biodiversity or social involvement.

GRI 417-1:

Requirements for product and service information and labeling

The products of the REWE Group are labelled in accordance with legal requirements regarding their origin, composition and usage – an example being the expiration date. The REWE Group goes beyond legal requirements when it comes to highlighting the sustainability aspects of its products and provides detailed information about the origin of many products.

Sustainability label and certifications for transparency and credibility

With the PRO PLANET label, the REWE Group has created a system that enables it to clearly and transparently provide sustainability information on products. REWE, PENNY and toom Baumarkt DIY stores use the PRO PLANET label to identify private label products which take social and environmental factors as well as animal welfare aspects into consideration. It thus provides a reliable and comprehensible orientation for shoppers to encourage sustainable consumption amongst a broad group of consumers. More information about individual products can be found on the PRO PLANET website (for an overview of the share of these products in the range and an explanation of the PRO PLANET process, see PRO PLANET).

In 2020, the REWE Group also began to introduce Nutri-Score labelling for the first private label products of REWE and PENNY. The labelling will be gradually expanded until it is completely introduced by mid-2023. More than 40 per cent of REWE and PENNY private label products already bear the Nutri-Score on the packaging. With this eye-catching nutritional information labelling, the REWE Group wants to help consumers make conscious food choices. The recipes of numerous private label products have been optimised with the Nutri-Score in mind (for more information, see Nutrition).

In addition, the REWE Group uses recognised external labels to mark its private labels and sells brand products with the following seals in its product range:

  • Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and GGN – certified aquaculture (GLOBALG.A.P.)
  • Blauer Engel (Blue Angel)
  • Fairtrade
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®)
  • Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
  • Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC)
  • Rainforest Alliance
  • Verband Lebensmittel ohne Gentechnik e. V. (VLOG) (German Association of Non-Genetically Modified Foods)

In addition, organic and regional products are displayed separately. Almost all fresh fish counters at REWE stores have been certified by the MSC since 2009 and by the ASC since 2012. So that consumers can make informed buying decisions amid this maze of labels, REWE has compiled the most important information about the labels and certifications that it uses on its website.

Addition of origin information for greater supply chain transparency

Many consumers want to know where the products that they are purchasing come from. The REWE Group responds to this desire by taking such steps as highlighting the origin of its regional products and having information about many products certified according to the criteria of the Regionalfenster (Regional Window) programme (see in this regard Regionality).

For fish products, the REWE Group introduced a tracking code for private label fish products in 2012. Customers can use this on the websites of the REWE and PENNY sales lines to find out about the supply chain of the particular fish product. In addition, the first aquaculture products can be tracked online all the way back to the farming region. In total, 84 per cent of fish products have been given a tracking code. For the supply chains of REWE private label bananas, REWE Beste Wahl pineapples, pineapples at PENNY and Fairtrade Biohelden bananas at PENNY, customers are also able to trace the products back to the producer using a QR code.

In 2014, the name of the actual production company began to be included on the private label products sold by PENNY and REWE. This means greater transparency in the supply chain for customers. The REWE Group continues to be listed as the production company in only a few exceptions, including the products of the Feine Welt brand that are made by small suppliers.

When it comes to non-food products, the REWE Group uses the TÜV Exclusive Seal as a sign of the quality and safety of the products. Each certified product bears an individual ID number which is used to access further information.

toom Baumarkt DIY stores have teamed up with the consumer group Verbraucher Initiative e. V. to compile a guideline for sustainability labels. This is intended to provide customers with guidance when it comes to more sustainable shopping and explains recommended labels which can be found on products in their DIY stores. The selection of labels is based on ratings by the consumer portal label-online.de. The guideline can be downloaded at toom.de/nachhaltigkeit.

In order to offer travellers transparent help for decision-making, DER Touristik has implemented a strategy for clear labelling of sustainable travel offerings. As part of the “Green Travel Transformation” project from the sustainability initiative Futouris, the labelling of offerings using a number of different seals was replaced with a uniform logo for sustainable travel offerings which is recognised throughout the industry. This resulted in the data provider Green Travel Index, which collects and processes data from recognised sustainability certificates. Since winter 2019, sustainably certified hotels have been identified as “sustainably certified” with a green leaf in the catalogues of DERTOUR, Meiers Weltreisen, ITS and Jahn Reisen. It is based on international certificates which are recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and therefore meet the most demanding requirements in terms of compliance with environmental and social standards in tourism.

In addition to highlighting sustainability in these catalogues, DER Touristik has also enabled targeted online searches for sustainable hotels: Since the start of 2020, these hotels have also been identified accordingly with the green leaf on the travel agency booking platform Bistro and travel agency employees at DER Touristik can include these when providing advice to customers. In addition, various measures are being taken to gradually increase the number of sustainably operating hotels in the offering of DER Touristik tour operators and the development of sustainable travel products is constantly being promoted. The goal is for 25 per cent of DER Touristik's core portfolio to consist of sustainably certified hotels by 2023.

Sustainable holiday offerings

In 2021, DER Touristik published two catalogues in magazine form (the “magalogue”) for the first time called “Bewusst Reisen” (“Conscious Travel”). Adopting a transparent approach, these bring together sustainable and responsible travel offerings at destinations in Europe which can be reached by car, bus or train, medium-haul destinations and selected long-haul travel destinations. All hotels are sustainably certified by a standard recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) – they implement active sustainability management, behave in a socially responsible manner, reduce their environmental footprint, and actively involve the local community. The magalogues present initiatives from this sustainability commitment as well as selected excursions which meet the criteria of responsible tourism. Their portfolio is to be further expanded gradually and also include travel components and tours in the future.

For the first time, the magalogues provide information about the carbon footprint associated with the travel packages. Guests can voluntarily offset the balance of any carbon dioxide emissions which cannot be saved or avoided through other measures by investing in climate protection projects. DER Touristik and the non-profit climate protection organisation MyClimate have teamed up to enable this. The respective amount has been calculated for each travel offering in the magalogue – for example, for a one-week trip.

From 2022, “Bewusst Reisen” will no longer be seasonal, but rather will be set up as an annual catalogue. There are also plans to transition to an online environment, where a growing number offerings and information about projects and initiatives of DER Touristik and its partners will be gradually added.

Six criteria for sustainable travel experiences in Mauritius

DER Touristik is using the dodo – a land bird once native to Mauritius but now extinct – as a symbol for its campaign “The Wise Dodo. Preserve our Island”. As part of this campaign, the brands DERTOUR and Meiers Weltreisen are offering tours which focus on the cultural legacy and diverse range of plants and animals on the island and which promote social and environmentally relevant projects. The travel experiences must meet six sustainability criteria:

  1. Authentic experience
  2. Biodiversity & coral health
  3. Equal opportunity
  4. Waste avoidance
  5. Conservation of resources
  6. Involvement of local communities.

The campaign was born out of the “Sustainable Island Mauritius” project, in which DERTOUR and Meiers Weltreisen were pilot project partners and which has been promoting the development of the island as a sustainable destination country since 2018. It was initiated by the Mauritius Tourism Authority and the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production based in Germany. The aim is to strengthen the positive influence of tourism, the handprint, in the holiday destination and, at the same time, reduce its negative impacts, the environmental footprint.

“The Wise Dodo” tours can also be booked in combination with certified hotels from DER Touristik's portfolio.

GRI 417-3:

Incidents of non-compliance concerning marketing communications

As a matter of principle, the REWE Group advertises its products and services in strict conformity with legal requirements as well as with ethical and cultural standards. It expressly avoids the use of sexist, discriminatory, political, pornographic, extremist and violence-glorifying advertising. Truth, precision and transparency are the fundamental advertising principles employed by the company. In addition, the REWE Group adheres to its own company-wide code of conduct, regulations, guidelines and rules laid down by national advertising boards. To succeed, communications of sustainability issues require a significant amount of credibility.

In its Guidelines on Sustainable Business Practises, the REWE Group explicitly commits itself to complying with applicable consumer-protection regulations and to employing appropriate sales, marketing and information practices in its communications with consumers. As a way of considering these factors in the advertising concepts, communication materials from REWE and PENNY in Germany in particular are approved by the Sustainability Department before being published.

During the reporting period, there was one violation which resulted in a written warning.