In its role as a reliable partner, the REWE Group commits its resources to areas where it does business and to the world’s more destitute regions. The company works with strong partner organisations who can draw on their local experience and provide effective support. A special issue in this regard is the development of long-term partnerships that all sides can count on. The REWE Group's strategic partners include the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), the funding organisation Aktion Mensch e. V., Tafel Deutschland e. V. and Kindernothilfe e. V. Where possible, the REWE Group involves its customers and employees in projects. This approach strengthens the sense of community and expands the projects' reach.
The REWE Group is actively involved in causes such as the development of children and adolescents. It aims to improve their educational opportunities, and promotes equal opportunity in Germany. In this work, the company helps socially disadvantaged young people while they are attending school and taking steps to enter the work world. The REWE Group is also committed on an international level to access to education, for example in school construction projects around the world. The REWE Group also values projects designed to inform children and adolescents at an early age about the need to get plenty of exercise and eat balanced meals.
For the concept of sustainability to take root in society, we need well-informed consumers. And it is easy to understand why: They will be the ones to explore the issue and integrate it into their shopping decisions. For this reason, the REWE Group strives to raise the awareness levels of adults and children about more sustainable consumption and more balanced diets. The company also integrates them into its involvement in biodiversity and environmental protection. The REWE Group draws on a wide range of formats in this process to reach numerous customers and raise awareness of a more sustainable lifestyle – from participatory events and informative action weeks to fund-raising drives conducted through the sale of selected products. For more information, see Promoting Sustainable Consumption. Also, as part of its membership with the consumer group Deutsche Stiftung Verbraucherschutz, the REWE Group promotes projects targeted at providing children and adolescents with key consumer skills.
In the pillar Social Commitment within the REWE Group's Sustainability Strategy, the company has identified the following four topics as areas of action: conscious nutrition and exercise; opportunities for children and adolescents; vigilant approach to food; and biodiversity and environmental protection. The areas of action apply to the whole of the REWE Group. Every sales line covers at least two of these areas with its involvement.
All areas of action are monitored by the “Social Commitment” project group, a team that has been led by Dr Daniela Büchel (Divisional Board Member of Retail Germany – HR and sustainability areas) since mid-2016.
As a way of measuring the progress being achieved in the pillar Social Commitment, the REWE Group records key figures for selected projects in the respective areas of action. All projects using at least 30,000 euros in funds, or of particular relevance for a sales line, are included in the reporting. The overall key figure recorded is the percentage of projects running for at least two years, since a high degree of effectiveness can especially be expected in long-term projects.
Area of action: conscious nutrition and exercise
The number of children and adolescents reached through three projects during the financial year were recorded. In particular, these projects involved nutrition workshops with children in day-care centres and football clubs and the provision of healthy food for school classes. Due to school and day-care centre closures caused by the pandemic, the projects had to be temporarily suspended.
Area of action: opportunities for children and adolescents
The number of children and adolescents reached through twelve projects during the financial year were recorded. This has more than doubled compared with the previous year, with the number of organisations receiving support through the projects remaining the same at 123. In 2021, however, these included more institutions with a very wide reach, such as large associations. The focus of projects in the area of action “opportunities for children and adolescents” is on improving future opportunities. Therefore, they particularly target supporting socially disadvantaged children and adolescents with learning and vocational training, improving their life circumstances, as well as constructing and renovating schools around the world.
Area of action: vigilant approach to food
In total, four projects contributing to a more vigilant approach to food were recording during the financial year. The focus of these were consumer education and cooperation with food banks. Around 80-90 per cent of REWE and PENNY stores in Germany and Austria work with food banks and/or other organisations such as, for example, Foodsharing. By doing so, they help to avoid food waste. As part of the project “Tafel macht Zukunft” (Tafel creates the future), the aim in the future is to establish an exact recording of the cooperations and the food quantities delivered. As participants and sponsors of this project, REWE and PENNY in Germany are also helping to make the collection and distribution of food donations from stores and producers efficient and customised using digital solutions – in order to be able to pass on even more donations to people affected by poverty.
The REWE Group participates in the Nationales Dialogforum zur Reduzierung der Lebensmittelverschwendung (National Dialogue Forum for Reduction of Food Waste) and supports the national strategy for the reduction of food waste of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. As part of this, food waste in REWE and PENNY stores in Germany was measured again in 2021. On average, REWE and PENNY sell over 98 per cent of their foods each year. By summer 2022, further specific reduction goals and measures are to be adopted as part of the target agreement of the Dialogue Forum.
Area of action: biodiversity and environmental protection
In the financial year, six projects were recorded which are helping to promote biodiversity and environmental protection, educate consumers and employees, as well as make them aware of these issues. The total amount spent on projects fell compared to the previous year. This is due to fewer donations from, for example, BILLA customers who instead favoured the foundation “Blühendes Österreich” (Blooming Austria), as well as lower proceeds from campaigns which help these projects. An example here is the fall in sales of the NABU ocean bracelet.
Nine further projects are not associated with any of the four areas of action. Their total volume (donations and project budgets which make a contribution to society) was over six million euros, including three million euros from customer donations. The decline in total donations compared to the previous year can be attributed to the fact that, in 2021, donations for the major project “Scheine für Vereine” (Vouchers for Clubs) were shifted to the following year.
An action particularly noteworthy for 2021 is the commitment of the REWE Group and its employees to help victims of the floods in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate in July 2021. In total, over four million euros were paid to organisations such as the German Red Cross and “Ein Herz für Kinder” (A Heart for Children) as well as to employees affected by the flood, and distributed in the form of donations in kind to those affected in the flood regions (see Projects and Sponsorships). For each of the two projects, just under 500,000 euros were contributed through employee and customer donations.
The GRI report covers the main topics of the pillar Social Commitment: