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Raw Materials in Focus – Non-food

The supply chain links of raw materials production and processing involve particular environmental challenges and a heightened risk of non-observance of labour and social standards. Therefore, these areas are the focus of REWE Group activities. As part of a product-related risk analysis, the commercial company identified the following raw materials in the non-food area as critical: cotton and textiles as well as natural stone (for more information on the supply chains of individual raw materials, see Supply Chain).

The critical raw materials in the non-food area are assigned to the three areas of action – people, animals and the environment – within the Green Products Strategy 2030. Within the framework of these areas of action, the REWE Group develops effective measures to reduce the environmental and social impacts and create positive effects – activities related to the focus raw materials of cotton, textiles and natural stone in the non-food area play a special role here.


Percentage of purchased volume from suppliers compliant with the company’s sourcing policy

The REWE Group works continuously to make its supply chains more socially and environmentally responsible. The company observes internationally recognised certification standards, cooperates in industry initiatives, launches its own projects and formulates requirements within the framework of guidelines and the PRO PLANET process. The approaches for individual raw materials are outlined below.

Cotton and textiles

Cotton is one of the most important raw materials in the textile industry and is primarily grown in India, China and the USA. Conventional cotton cultivation is water-intensive and requires large amounts of pesticides and fertilisers. In order to increase the proportion of textile products made from more sustainable cotton, the REWE Group in Germany relies on Cotton made in Africa (CmiA), the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and textiles made from recycled fibres. In addition, the commercial company also supports Germany's Green Button textile seal.

The REWE Group aims to raise the proportion of textiles made from more sustainable cotton at REWE, PENNY and toom Baumarkt DIY stores in Germany to 100 per cent by 2025. In 2021, this figure was 98 per cent.

Percentage of more sustainable textiles made from cotton (REWE, PENNY and toom Baumarkt DIY stores in Germany)

2019 2020 2021 Status
Percentage of CmiA- or GOTS-certified textiles 88% 91% 98%
In progress
Goal attained
Not available
Goal not attained

The REWE Group began to support CmiA in 2008. The initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation is committed to improving the living conditions of small farmers in Africa and their families by helping people to help themselves. Agricultural training sessions teach them about efficient farming methods that increase cotton yields and quality while protecting their health and reducing the environmental impact. They are also receiving support through various cooperation projects, for example in the areas of education and the promotion of women.

The green button

In order to give its consumers guidance for the purchase of more sustainable textiles, the REWE Group has been supporting the Green Button since its introduction in 2019. The government-run seal for sustainable textiles is intended to ensure environmental and social standards in the textile supply chain. In total, 46 social and environmental criteria place binding requirements on the product and its manufacturing process – from effluents limits to the ban on forced labour. The seal is applied directly to the product and is easy for customers to see when shopping. REWE and PENNY in Germany are already labelling various products with the Green Button. These include, for example, the cotton shopping bag, the reusable net for fresh food at PENNY as well as clothing and home textiles at REWE and PENNY stores.

In addition to focusing on the raw material cotton, the REWE Group is committed to a more sustainable textile sector through a variety of measures. In order to reduce the environmental impacts in the textile supply chain, the REWE Group joined the Detox campaign by Greenpeace in 2014 and set up a corresponding programme for products distributed by the REWE Group in the product groups of clothing, shoes and home textiles. The goal is to ensure safe textile production with no dangerous chemicals. To achieve this, the REWE Group works together with its suppliers to systematically eliminate hazardous chemicals from textile production. The Greenpeace Detox campaign officially came to an end in 2020. Regardless of this, the REWE Group remains committed to eliminating dangerous chemicals from textile production. The REWE Group realises this through capacity building training for strategic suppliers which includes advanced chemical management training (for more information, see Environmental Aspects in the Supply Chain).

With the aim of ensuring reliable safety in the textile industry in Bangladesh, the REWE Group signed the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety in 2013 and the follow-up agreement, the “2018 Transition Accord”, in 2017. Since its expiration, the REWE Group has been supporting the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC), which was founded in 2020 and has officially taken over the tasks of the agreement in Bangladesh. In May 2021, the REWE Group signed the three-month extension of the “2018 Transition Accord”. The company also plans to sign the new International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry, as soon as the new draft is available and checked. This would be valid until October 2023 (for more information, see Social Aspects in the Supply Chain). Furthermore, the REWE Group is a member of the international Fur Free Retailer Program. The use of real fur in private label product ranges has already been banned for some years now. In the Guideline on More Sustainable Textiles, the REWE Group describes its management approach and its activities.

Wood and paper

The REWE Group is committed to protecting forests and the species of animals and plants that live there. For this reason, it supports environmentally and socially responsible forest management by increasingly procuring wood and paper for its products and packaging from sustainably operated sources. The REWE Group uses the seals of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC™ as well as the environmental seal Blauer Engel (Blue Angel). A variety of products from the REWE Group have already been awarded these seals.

In 2020, for the REWE and PENNY sales lines in Germany, the REWE Group set the goal in the area of non-food of certifying all wood and paper products (with a wood or paper content of at least 90 per cent) through one of the following standards by the end of 2025: Blauer Engel, FSC Recycled, PEFC Recycled, FSC 100%, PEFC™ or FSC Mix. This goal was already achieved in the area of near-food (including sanitary paper products) in 2020 and has been a requirement ever since.

Percentage of more sustainable wood and paper (REWE and PENNY in Germany)

20191 2020 2021 Status
Percentage of wood and paper products certified for Blauer Engel, FSC Recycled, PEFC Recycled, FSC 100%, PEFC™ or FSC Mix in the area of near-food (including sanitary paper products) at REWE and PENNY in Germany - 100% 100%
Percentage of wood and paper products certified for Blauer Engel, FSC Recycled, PEFC Recycled, FSC 100%, PEFC™ or FSC Mix in the area of non-food at REWE and PENNY in Germany - 99% 99%
In progress
Goal attained
Not available
Goal not attained
There is no data for 2019 as the goals associated with the disclosures were only adopted in 2020.

toom Baumarkt DIY stores also offer a constantly growing range of certified products from numerous product categories and the sales line has been a member of FSC® and PEFC™ since 2018. It therefore supports the high standards of these two systems for transparency and control in terms of sustainable forest management. In addition, the sales lines REWE, PENNY and toom Baumarkt DIY stores in Germany have been marketing only FSC®- or PEFC™-certified charcoal during the financial year.

Peat-free soil

toom Baumarkt DIY stores have set themselves the goal of discontinuing the sale of peaty soils by 2025. This applies to both private labels and brand products. During this transition, the proportion of peat will be steadily reduced across the entire product range and replaced with renewable raw materials. In addition, the offering of peat-free soil products will increase each year. In 2021, the private label product range of peat-free soils comprised a total of 19 products, including seven Naturtalent by toom® potting soils, eleven products from toom's quality brand, plus one additional product. Through this strategy, all of toom's private label soils are now at least peat-reduced. The REWE and PENNY sales lines have also supplemented their seasonal soil product range with peat-free and peat-reduced alternatives. In the long term, the plan is to also replace peat with alternative materials for ornamental plants (for more information, see Biodiversity).

Natural stone

toom Baumarkt DIY stores want to ensure that social standards and environmental requirements are adhered to during mining and the production of natural stone products. To achieve this, toom has been working for some years with independent experts at the NGO XertifiX in order to seamlessly trace the supply chain of natural stones all the way back to the quarry and independently check compliance with social and environmental criteria. toom Baumarkt DIY stores also actively collaborate as trade representatives on revising this standard, which is valid until 2023. Certified natural stone products bearing the XertifiX PLUS and PRO PLANET labels have been available at toom Baumarkt DIY stores since 2016. Their share in sales of natural stones is 82 per cent. Furthermore, all natural stone products available in toom Baumarkt DIY stores from China bear the XertifiX PLUS label.

Nordmann fir

80 per cent of the seeds of all Nordmann firs originate from the economically underdeveloped region of Racha in Georgia. Together with the Danish foundation Fair Trees, toom Baumarkt DIY stores are committed to fair working conditions and greater safety for cone harvesting in Georgia. Before each harvest season, the cone pickers complete a five-day climbing training course to German climbing standards. They also receive professional climbing equipment which includes a dual safety system. In addition, fair wages are paid and accident insurance is provided during the harvest season.

Since 2018, toom Baumarkt DIY stores have switched their Nordmann fir product range completely to Fair Trees. For each tree sold, a new tree from fair harvesting is planted. In addition to the Fair Trees logo, the trees bear the PRO PLANET label. Each fir sold allows toom Baumarkt DIY stores to support the foundation Fair Trees in its work to implement numerous social projects in the harvest region in Georgia. Despite a crop failure due to climatic conditions across the entire region, projects in 2021 still included, for example, the awarding of higher education scholarships to students, the supporting of remote learning through materials and the enablement of teachers, as well as the provision of support for a girls football club.

Since 2021, the REWE sales line has also been offering Fair Trees Nordmann firs.

More sustainable travel: Futouris e. V. and Magalogue

In 2015, DER Touristik joined the sustainability initiative of the German travel industry Futouris – with the goal of helping tourist destinations by providing support for projects in the fields of ecology, species diversity and responsibility toward society and culture in the long term. As part of this, for example, a project for the prevention of food waste in hotels was carried out and guidelines for analysing the human rights impacts of business activities in large tourism companies were created. The finished projected, Green Travel Transformation, resulted in a uniform logo for sustainable travel offerings which is recognised throughout the industry: since winter 2019, sustainably certified hotels have been identified with a green leaf. In 2021, DER Touristik and Futouris e. V. also prepared a feasibility study on the creation of an industry-wide CO2 accounting system for travel. DER Touristik wants to use the study to inform its guests about the climate impacts of different travel offerings in a transparent manner and, at the same time, to specifically promote climate-friendly travel alternatives.

The member companies of Futouris e. V. are also working together to reduce the amount of tourism-related plastic waste in the Balearics. The project “Plastic Free Balearics” was paused in 2020 and 2021 due to the corona pandemic. Despite this pause, the guidelines “Plastic-free holidays on Balearic Islands” were published during the financial year. They help hotels and tourism businesses to find more sustainable alternatives to frequently used single-use plastic products.

In addition to the projects with Futouris, DER Touristik published its first two catalogues in magazine form (the “magalogue”) in 2021. Under the title “Bewusst Reisen” (“Conscious Travel”), the goal of these magalogues is to bring together sustainable and responsible travel offerings and make them transparent. They contain hotels which have sustainability certification in Europe as well as medium- and long-distance travel destinations.

To raise employees' awareness of these issues, DER Touristik conducts regular training sessions on human rights and tourism. For more information about the projects of DER Touristik, see Promoting Sustainable Consumption.