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GRI 304


Brief Overview:

The REWE Group aims to conserve natural resources and protect and promote biodiversity along its supply chains. The company

  • is committed to the conservation and protection of natural ecosystems in its Guideline on Sustainable Business Practices and supports the objectives of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity;
  • aims to convert all relevant regional open-field fruit and vegetable products of the private labels at REWE and PENNY in Germany to biodiversity-promoting cultivation by 2025;
  • is driving regional projects that promote biodiversity in agricultural use in cooperative ventures at REWE and PENNY in Germany, for example with numerous farmers and partners such as NABU;
  • implements numerous measures and projects to create spaces for biodiversity or restore damaged ecosystems;
  • established the biodiversity foundation „Blühendes Österreich“ (Blooming Austria) in Austria together with the nature conservation organisation BirdLife Austria in 2015.

Biodiversity was defined as a focus topic for REWE and PENNY in Germany within the Green Products Strategy 2030. It belongs to the Environment area of action.

GRI 304: Biodiversity

Management Approach


Up to one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. In the long term, the loss will also affect people's livelihoods because nature's processes control, for example, the quality of fresh water, air and soil, ensure pollination and pest control, regulate the climate and reduce the impact of environmental disasters. The REWE Group is aware that its business activities as a trade and tourism company may have impacts on biodiversity. In addition to direct effects, for example at the company's locations or in the transport of goods, the upstream and downstream stages of the value chain are particularly important. Impacts can arise here from the unsustainable use of natural ecosystems – for instance, in the extraction of raw materials, in the production of goods, or in tourism offers. The company has a major influence on the issue through the design of its product ranges and contributes to conserving natural resources and protecting and promoting biodiversity along its supply chains with numerous measures and projects.

The REWE Group contributes to conserving natural resources and protecting and promoting biodiversity along its supply chains with numerous measures and projects.


In its Guideline on Sustainable Business Practices the REWE Group is committed to the preservation and protection of natural ecosystems and supports the goals of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. In addition, as part of the Biodiversity in Good Company initiative, the REWE Group has committed to integrate the protection and promotion of biodiversity into its corporate sustainability management.

Furthermore, the REWE Group founded the association "Food for Biodiversity" in March 2021 together with representatives from companies, associations and certification organisations from the food industry as well as environmental associations and research. The members of this first industry-wide alliance commit to implement measures that ensure the protection of biodiversity in the food industry and its upstream value chains. This is intended to contribute to achieve the goals of the German and European Biodiversity Strategies, the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

As part of the Biodiversity in Good Company initiative, the REWE Group has committed to integrate the protection and promotion of biodiversity into its corporate sustainability management.


  • By 2025, conversion of all relevant, regional free-range fruit and vegetables products of the private labels at REWE and PENNY in Germany to biodiversity-promoting cultivation.
  • By 2025, switch to peat-free soils in the private label and branded products of REWE and PENNY in Germany, as well as toom Baumarkt DIY stores, in order to protect peatlands as important CO2 reservoirs.
  • The REWE Group in Austria plans to protect 1,000 hectares of threatened ecological land by 2022. The target was reached with 1,054 hectares.

The objective of converting all relevant regional free-range fruit and vegetable products of the private labels to biodiversity-promoting cultivation is not yet measurable. In addition to the REWE Group's project commitment, this requires standards that bring biodiversity criteria to a wider audience. These are currently under development. The REWE Group is already working on scalable approaches within the "Food for Biodiversity" association.

Responsibility and Resources

Implementation of strategies and measures regarding biodiversity is the responsibility of dedicated teams and departments in the respective sales line. For more information, please refer to Management Approach Green Products.


To protect and promote biodiversity, product ranges are designed more sustainably and biodiversity criteria are taken into account:

  • via standard systems such as organic, Fairtrade or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®), Rainforest Alliance and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC);
  • within the guidelines on raw materials such as palm oil, fish or cocoa and
  • in product-related analyses as part of the PRO PLANET label award procedure, in which negative impacts on biodiversity are identified and measures are taken to preserve and promote it (for more information, see PRO PLANET).

In addition, the focus is on cooperations. In Germany, the company works with numerous farmers and its partners NABU, the foundation Stiftung Rheinische Kulturlandschaft with its affiliate foundations, and other nature conservation organisations in regional projects that promote biodiversity in agricultural use (see section Measures and Projects). Targeted measures to protect and promote biodiversity are also being implemented under the Central America Fund, which expires in 2023 (for all information, see section Focus Raw Materials – Food), for example with reforestation or animal welfare projects in Central America.

Standard systems such as organic, FSC® or MSC are also taken into account at the REWE Group in Austria, and guidelines for raw materials are also applied.

Involvement of Stakeholders

As part of the materiality analysis, stakeholders rated the topic of biodiversity as relevant (see Materiality Analysis). They are informed annually about the effectiveness of measures taken via the Sustainability Report and in various dialogue formats (see Stakeholder Dialogue). In addition, there is a targeted exchange with nature conservation organisations and participating suppliers about the PRO PLANET Biodiversity Project. This allows stakeholders to provide important input on the issue.

Customers, suppliers as well as other stakeholders can submit their grievances or comments. For this purpose, the REWE Group has established reporting and grievance mechanisms. For more information, please refer to the Compliance section.

GRI 304-2: Significant impacts of activities, products and services on biodiversity

Measures and Projects

The greatest opportunities to influence the protection of biodiversity lie in the area of private label products. Progress and impact will be evaluated on a project basis and reported as part of the projects presented. The following projects show the focal points of the Group's commitment in the reporting period - in line with the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 - sorted thematically by:

Creating Spaces for Biodiversity

PRO PLANET Biodiversity Project Highlight

The aim of the PRO PLANET project is to increase biodiversity in conventional fruit and vegetable farms through good cooperation between farmers and conservationists. In addition to the many participating farmers, nature conservation organisations such as NABU and the foundation Stiftung Rheinische Kulturlandschaft and its affiliate foundations are also involved as important partners, implementing individual measures on site to protect and promote biodiversity. Meanwhile, the number of participating fruit and vegetable farms has increased to more than 550 (2021: 540). In addition to apples and pears, the products include broccoli, Chinese cabbage, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, carrots, potatoes, onions, cherries, plums and blueberries. The fruit and vegetables are marked with the PRO PLANET label with the addition “Für mehr Artenvielfalt” (For More Biodiversity).

The positive effects of the project are manifold: In numerous measures, many hectares of flower strips have been planted and enhanced in Germany since 2010, and various forms of structural enrichments such as dry stone walls or small bodies of water have been created. In addition, trees, hedges and shrubs were planted, nesting boxes and nesting aids for birds and bats as well as nesting aids for insects were set up. To make metrics and progress more tangible, the project set targets until 2025. Two of them were achieved in the reporting year: In 2022, for example, the planting or enhancement of 1,3551 acres of annual or perennial flower strips since the project began exceeded the target of 900 acres by 2025, and instead of 20,000 nesting boxes by 2025, 21,300 nesting boxes had already been installed by 2022.

Targets 2020 2021 2022 Status
Establish/enhance 900 hectares (since project start) of annual or perennial flower strips by 2025 842 888 1,3551
Plant 30,000 woody plants (trees, hedges and shrubs) by 2025 24,900 26,000 26,300
Set up 20,000 nesting aids by 2025 17,443 19,800 21,300
Implementation in progress
Target achieved
Not available
Target not achieved

1 New calculation basis: From 2022, all flowering areas ever created or enhanced since the project began will be reported. These are perennial and annual flowering areas, some of which are not permanent. In 2022, over 500 hectares were still preserved.

The success of the implemented measures is checked through regular monitoring. For example, the wild bee monitoring in 2021 in the cultivation region of Lake Constance revealed: The wild bee diversity has stabilised at a very high level. Compared with the start of the project, more wild bee species (2021: 112; 2010: 56) and endangered wild bee species (2021: 26; 2010: 5) were found on the surveyed flowering areas. Biodiversity has also increased. This proves that the ecosystems have also stabilised and become more resilient.

In a wild bee monitoring already conducted in 2019 in the southern Rhineland, ideal flowering areas with a high flower density and undisturbed location had more wild bee individuals than areas without measures. Nesting opportunities in the ground had a positive effect on the number of species. The next wild bee monitoring is expected to be carried out in 2025.

In 2020, the PRO PLANET Biodiversity Project was described in the Retail Guideline as part of the EU Pollinators Initiative. In 2019, it was awarded the European Bee Award and was one of the UN Decade Projects on Biodiversity in the same year. In addition, the project received the German CSR Award in 2016.

In the reporting period, the REWE Group was included by the Lake Constance Foundation as a partner in the LIFE project "Insect Promoting Regions" as part of the PRO PLANET Biodiversity Project. In this way, additional biodiversity-promoting instruments, such as cultivation practices, can be tested at PRO PLANET partner farms in the Lake Constance region and their benefits for the PRO PLANET project evaluated. In addition, biodiversity is thus increasingly promoted at landscape level throughout the region.

PRO PLANET Apple Project in Poland

Since 2020, REWE Group has been cooperating with the Polish Society for the Protection of Birds (OTOP) and farmers in the Grojec region, Poland’s largest apple-growing area, to promote more biodiversity: The measures on the plantations include the planting of flower strips as a food source for insects as well as the installation of nesting aids for insects and bird houses. The apples from this project are handled separately and used to produce the REWE Beste Wahl apple juice "Aus Liebe zur Biene" (For the Love of Bees), which is awarded the PRO PLANET label.

Nature conservation programme ”Blühendes Österreich“ (Blooming Austria) Highlight

The biodiversity foundation “Blühendes Österreich” (Blooming Austria) was established in 2015 by the REWE Group in Austria together with the nature conservation organisation BirdLife Austria. Today, the foundation is not only the first, but also the largest private-sector initiative for a healthy environment and sustainable agriculture in Austria. The foundation‘s mission is to provide strategic, transparent and systematic funding for nature conservation projects. These also strengthen regional cooperation in particular. The foundation´s nature conservation strategy 2018-2022, entitled “Nachhaltigkeit verankern, Österreichs Vielfalt leben” (Anchoring Sustainability, Living Austria´s Diversity), aims to protect a total of 1,000 hectares of threatened ecological areas by 2022. The target was reached with 1,054 hectares. So far, projects have been implemented with around 230 farmers, nature conservation organisations, communities and initiatives to protect habitats, animals and plants through responsible agriculture, climate and nature conservation measures. This way, 951 hectares of endangered biotope areas could be preserved. The financial support also serves as an economic planning perspective for the small-structured farming families and secures jobs. In 2022, 117 companies (2021: 121) took part in the FLORA programme to promote farmers and organisations to save our biodiversity. In addition, the citizen science project "Schmetterlinge Österreichs" (Butterflies of Austria), for example, is one of the largest nature observation apps in German-speaking countries, with 50,000 downloads and over 400,000 butterflies reported. The data is used for scientific butterfly research. In 2022, the foundation´s budget amounted to 750,000 euros (2021: 700,000 euros). In addition, the foundation received the European Natura 2000 Award in the reporting year, bringing this EU Commission award to Austria for the first time.

Biodiversity projects of DER Touristik Foundation

DER Touristik is committed to species conservation through the non-profit association "DER Touristik Foundation e. V.". As part of the "Chilis against Elephants" project, awareness campaigns for the promotion of ecological habitat and the protection of elephants are taking place in Tanzania. In addition, the DER Touristik Foundation in Sri Lanka is promoting the restoration of mangrove forests in the Koggala Lagoon in the south of the country. In Mauritius, the DER Touristik Foundation participates in native habitat restoration for Aldabra giant tortoises.

Beneficial insect-friendly plants

Since 2016, toom Baumarkt DIY stores has offered an extensive range of bee-friendly plants under the concept name "Bienenfreund" (Bee Friend). In 2021, this was replaced by the new ”beneficial insect-friendly“ concept. Here, an entomologist and expert on wild bees not only evaluates the beneficial insect-friendliness of a plant species, but also assesses for which insect group it is suitable. This makes toom Baumarkt the first DIY store in Germany that distinguishes between different flower-visiting insect groups in the assessment. In the new range, plants are labelled as “beneficial insect-friendly” if they are suitable for honey bees, bumblebees or wild bees as pollen plants or for butterflies as nectar plants. Since 2021, toom Baumarkt DIY stores has exclusively stocked plants under the new "beneficial insect-friendly” concept that have been assessed and found suitable by the experts. The range is to be further expanded. All beneficial insect-friendly potted plants are awarded the PRO PLANET label “Für mehr Artenvielfalt“ (For More Biodiversity). By the end of 2022, the range of beneficial plants comprised 156 items (2021: 127) – including perennials, flower bulbs, herbs and fruit trees.

Since 2022, REWE in Germany has also been offering a range of beneficial insect-friendly plants under the "Artenreich" concept that meet the above criteria and have been awarded the PRO PLANET label "Für mehr Artenvielfalt" (For More Biodiversity).

PENNY in Germany runs campaigns with “bee favourites” throughout the year.

Restoring Damaged Ecosystems

NABU climate fund and peat-free alternatives Highlight

Starting in 2022, the REWE sales line will pay five million euros annually for five years into the newly established NABU climate fund of the REWE Group‘s long-standing partner NABU. Its purpose is to support rewetting of peat soils degraded by agriculture and peat extraction. Heavily drained peatlands in Germany and EU countries are to be purchased or leased on a long-term basis, and agricultural farms are to be supported in converting from conventional farming methods to climate-friendly wet meadow management. Through rewetting, the peatlands are to regain their original function: as huge carbon reservoirs (see also Climate Protection in the Supply Chain) and as unique habitats for many animal and plant species that have become rare in Germany, such as the common snipe, the moor frog or sundews.

As early as 2016, REWE and PENNY in Germany as well as toom Baumarkt DIY stores as the first DIY store chain in Germany decided to convert the entire soil range of both private label and branded products to peat-free alternatives by 2025 at the latest in order to protect peatlands from peat extraction (for further information see section Focus Raw Materials Non-Food and Services). In addition to the expansion of peat-free products, the proportion of peat substitutes made from renewable raw materials is also being successively increased across all soils. All toom private label soils now have a maximum peat content of 50 per cent. With this conversion, toom Baumarkt DIY stores is making a contribution to combating climate change and to biodiversity. The REWE and PENNY sales lines in Germany have also added peat-free and peat-reduced alternatives to their seasonal soil range. In the reporting year, for example, the soil plant of Gebrüder Mayer GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of the REWE Group in Lower Saxony, was prepared to produce only peat-free soil from 2023. Potting soils for REWE and PENNY have been produced there for decades.

Peat is also to be replaced by alternative materials wherever possible for toom‘s ornamental plants in the long term. Currently, ornamental plants that use a maximum of 50 per cent peat in the substrate can be awarded the PRO PLANET label "Für mehr Klimaschutz" (For More Climate Protection). This should create an incentive for producers and suppliers and provide orientation for customers. In 2022, the range of peat-free and peat-reduced plants in the toom Baumarkt DIY stores comprised over 100 products (2021: 17).

Avoidance and Reduction of Risks from Pesticides

Negative list on the use of pesticides for conventional fruit and vegetables

The REWE Group aims to reduce the pesticide load of conventional fruit and vegetables and developed a negative list for this purpose. The active ingredients listed therein may not be used in production for REWE and PENNY in Germany. Since 2016, REWE Group in Austria has also included pesticides containing endocrine disruptors (EDCs) in its Pesticide Reduction Program (PRP), the use of which is not yet regulated by law. For further information on this list see Ecological Aspects in the Supply Chain.

Negative list on the use of pesticides for beneficial insect-friendly plants

In addition to the assessment of beneficial plants (see project Beneficial Insect-Friendly Plants) by an insect expert, an extended negative list of pesticides has been in force at toom Baumarkt DIY stores for this range since 2021. This list goes beyond the generally applicable negative list for all ornamental plants and is based on the recommendations of the Pestizid Aktions-Netzwerk e. V. (PAN). Therefore, all active substances that are hazardous to bees are banned in the production of the beneficial insect-friendly range. This likewise applies to the REWE "Artenreich" range. Furthermore, the DIY chain has been cooperating with the leading Austrian environmental organisation GLOBAL 2000 since November 2020 in order to further reduce the use of pesticides for beneficial plants.

Pesticide reduction and renunciation of glyphosate at toom Baumarkt DIY stores

toom Baumarkt DIY stores analysed its range of crop protection and pest control products in cooperation with the environmental protection organisation GLOBAL 2000 in the reporting year. As a result, 22 articles were removed from the range until the end of 2022 and replaced by products whose active ingredients pose a lower risk to humans and the environment.

This measure is the continuation of many steps taken by toom Baumarkt DIY stores to reduce pesticides. For example, the sales line has already dispensed with the sale of products containing glyphosate since 2015, making it the first DIY store chain in the sector to do so. Glyphosate is the most widely used pesticide in agriculture worldwide and is repeatedly criticised. In addition, the sale of pesticides that are particularly hazardous to bees and their use in the production of the plant range were also restricted: As an active contribution to the protection of bees and the environment, toom Baumarkt DIY stores has tightened its requirements for its suppliers of ornamental plants, and since 2017, has been the first DIY store chain to only offer ornamental plants that have been produced without the use of pesticides classified by Greenpeace as particularly hazardous to bees. Since 2015, toom Baumarkt DIY stores has also completely dispensed with such chemical pesticides that, according to a Greenpeace study contain active ingredients particularly hazardous to bees.