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A Sustainable Use of Resources
According to the United Nations, the world will need to produce approximately 70% more food by 2050 in order to feed the expected global population of around 10 billion people. Resource efficiency is absolutely vital in order to allow a transition towards a more sustainable society with a healthy environment in which everyone can thrive.
If this is to be successful, it is crucial that businesses – particularly those with high resource footprints – act responsibly and encourage responsibility along their value chains to ensure positive climate action, for example by reducing CO2 emissions and food waste.
METRO AG, headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany with operations in 34 countries around the world and around 680 stores across 24 countries, is intending to halve its food waste by 2025. To make this a reality, the multinational wholesale and food expert is not only optimising its own store operation processes to prevent surplus food in the first place but is also working in collaboration with multiple organisations based in its local communities to distribute surplus food at its best way. These include the ‘Too Good To Go’ app service that allows members of the public to ‘rescue’ surplus food from stores and restaurants, along with the sustainable brands Whole Surplus and SirPlus, as well as food bank organisations in 21 countries. In order to achieve optimisation of resources, METRO understands that collaboration on industrial and cross-sector levels is a crucial necessity. The company ensures that surplus or imperfect food products approaching a sell-by date or with bad packaging are donated. In financial year 2017/18, METRO donated the equivalent of 51 million meals to food banks.
Earlier in the value chain, METRO is already active in preventing food waste and loss. METRO India for example is investing into collection centres, helping to ensure that particularly small-holder farmers get a fair trade and ease of access when their product is ready. This has the effect of strengthening the supply chain between food producers and retailers, minimising waste and increasing efficiency while at the same time contributing to safe and reliable income for farmers and their families.
In addition to its conduct with food waste, METRO is committed to sustainable action in other ways. Greenhouse gas emissions contribute to harmful air pollution, destabilise the ecosystem and harm biodiversity. As one of the world’s leading wholesale companies, METRO acknowledges its high footprint, and the accompanying responsibility to act in a more sustainable manner. Therefore, the company is committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 60% in its own operations and 15% within its supply chain by 2030, heading towards a climate target of well below 2°C in line with the Paris Agreement. It is reducing emissions in a variety of ways, from the use of renewable energy and conserving natural resources, e.g. in its use of refrigerants and paper, its facilities management, and the running of its logistics fleet, to implementing electric charging infrastructure at its stores and headquarters. To make full use of its workforce as a powerful multiplier, METRO is also working to sensitise its employees worldwide to their environmental impact: With around 100,000 employees, the success of this initiative will have far reaching impact also outside their workplaces.
A responsible and sustainable business cannot be achieved overnight. Multiple and consistent changes are necessary to encourage a permanent and meaningful transition. METRO, with its focus on resource efficiency, sensitising its employees and collaborating with various partners in its up-and-downstream value chains is diversifying its sustainable efforts, thus stewarding an effective transition across multiple levels of the wholesale business. With its goals over the next few years, it is clear that METRO is committed to this change and will redouble its efforts to achieve these positive objectives.