Selected measures and projects
An increasing number of consumers are not simply interested in the quality and safety of the products they buy – they also want to know about their social and ecological compatibility. METRO GROUP acts responsibly in this field of action by defining production conditions, raising awareness among buyers and making its procurement as environmentally friendly and as socially compatible as possible. This is fundamentally based on our purchasing guidelines, which METRO Cash & Carry, Real and Galeria Kaufhof each developed for their own specific needs in 2012 based on the Group-wide fish purchasing policy adopted in 2011. A Group-wide general purchasing policy for all products is scheduled for 2013 and will stipulate the principles of the sustainable procurement of products containing important resources and raw materials, such as wood and paper, palm oil, cocoa and soya.
FAIR WORKING CONDITIONS
Complying with social standards is an integral part of our sustainability activities. Accordingly, METRO GROUP makes sure it complies with the key labour standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. We also contractually oblige our suppliers to honour fundamental human rights and maintain fair working conditions. To prove compliance, our supply contracts stipulate an audit according to the requirements of the BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative) standard or an equivalent thereof. We make this requirement of suppliers who produce our end products in risk countries and import them to the EU. All the manufacturers of nonfood items supplied to the EU via our subsidiary MGB Hong Kong were audited accordingly and 62 percent of them passed the audit with a good mark. Suppliers who do not yet make the grade have the option to be supported over the course of their development process until they satisfy the requirements. We are also working towards introducing the BSCI standard or an equivalent social standard system to suppliers of nonfood products sourced through local importers by 2015.
EFFICIENT TRADE STRUCTURES
Among other things, we guarantee the high quality and safety of our products by means of efficient procurement structures. Well-organised logistics also reduces the volume of food lost during the various stages of our supply chain. We therefore make targeted investments in our business processes. 4 centralised purchasing offices oversee the purchasing of specific product groups. METRO Cash & Carry also sets up local collection centres for farmers in the vicinity of the cultivation areas, and this reduces the time between harvesting and delivery of the produce to the stores. In addition, the sales line is using its Fast Inventory Turnaround project to reduce its product inventories and storage times.
SUPPLY CHAIN TRANSPARENCY
Sustainability calls for supply chain transparency that can be guaranteed by means of product-based traceability. The purpose of this is to be able to trace products back to their origins and to be aware of the conditions under which they were produced. This is the only way in which to pinpoint potential risks and need for improvement, both in terms of the product quality and social and ecological standards. A prime example of this is the need to protect the fish stocks in the world’s oceans. Illegal fishing cannot be stopped unless there is targeted traceability from the fish counter to the fisherman. For a number of years now, METRO GROUP has therefore been actively working in tandem with industry partners and political decision-makers in order to achieve supply chain transparency. METRO GROUP is currently working with GS1, a competence and service centre for the optimisation of internal and external business processes, and other renowned partners to develop a global all-encompassing solution that can be applied to all product groups in the future. The approach revolves around decentralised data storage that makes data access easier and more reliable, thereby creating greater transparency throughout the supply chain in the long term, right the way up to the end consumer.
In order to offer high-quality and safe products in India, for example, METRO Cash & Carry works closely with the agricultural producers there and supports improvements being made to the supply structures. Having already established collection centres for agricultural produce in a number of Indian provinces, the wholesale expert opened a further 2 platforms for fresh fish in 2012. The local fishermen’s catches are bought here and processed in readiness for shipment elsewhere. Everybody involved in this benefits: the fishermen are given access to the market and have calculable incomes, while METRO Cash & Carry benefits from efficient logistics, which guarantees it good availability and high quality of products. The farmers who bring their produce to the collection centres have “pay direct cards”, which give them instant payment for their goods. METRO Cash & Carry was the first company in India to introduce this method of payment, which is similar to a German EC (electronic cash) card and which allows for secure and fast financial transactions.
METRO Cash & Carry also supports its Indian suppliers with expertise given to them during training programmes. For example, in the reporting year the sales line’s Quality Assurance division trained more than 25 meat suppliers in innovative processing solutions, food safety and hygiene. In this way, METRO Cash & Carry improves product quality and the suppliers’ ability to earn, and reduces food loss at the first stage of the supply chain.
METRO GROUP assists consumers in being more conscious about their consumer behaviour and in choosing to buy more sustainable products. And this doesn’t just apply to food. Since October 2012, Media-Saturn has a stake in the leading recommerce company FLIP4NEW and has thus added a modern service to the conventional marketing of consumer electronics and electrical appliances via speciality stores. Customers can exchange electrical items and media that they no longer need for a voucher via the Saturn online shop and in an ever-increasing number of stores. FLIP4NEW tests the used goods and then sells them via online platforms, thereby extending the lives of these elaborately manufactured products. Media-Saturn plans to roll this business model out internationally. The sales line also gives consideration to sustainability when it comes to the new appliances it adds to its product range, and Saturn’s portfolio now includes a wide array of energy-efficient electronic products and home appliances. To make it as easy as possible for people to locate these products, in its online shop and soon also in its stores, Saturn is using the label “Utopia empfiehlt” (Utopia recommends) to mark the appliances that are the most energy-efficient, the most environmentally friendly and the cheapest to operate according to the EcoTopTen lists published by the independent Öko-Institut e. V. organisation. Additionally, products that are especially worthy of recommendation because, for example, they are the most popular choice among customers are given the label “Utopia Produkt” (Utopia product). Also, the sales line gives information on the intelligent and economical use of electricity in a section of its website entitled “Energiesparen mit Saturn” (Saving energy with Saturn).
In the reporting year, Galeria Kaufhof and Real have expanded the number of sustainable products in their textile product ranges. Our Galeria Kaufhof sales line continues to increase its portfolio of textiles that are particularly environmentally friendly or socially ethical in their manufacture. Customers in Galeria Kaufhof department stores can identify children’s wear, linen and household textiles made of skin-friendly organic cotton in accordance with the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and winter sportswear that complies with the bluesign standard thanks to the logo “natürlich GALERIA” (naturally GALERIA). At the end of 2012, almost 1,500 different textile items of the sales line’s own brands and also of the manufacturers’ brands complied with one of the sustainability standards as defined by “natürlich GALERIA”. In 2012, Real added cotton products made as part of the “Cotton made in Africa” (CmiA) initiative to its range. This initiative supports African farmers by trading in sustainably grown cotton. In the reporting year, Real was already offering 20 items with the CmiA logo, and had sold around 133,000 of them. Further initiatives are set to follow.