Procurement and product range composition

Procurement and product range composition

METRO is dedicated to putting its product range together responsibly. Our products should be safe, socially and ecologically sound, and meet our customers’ expectations.

We systematically define the requirements for sustainable supply chain and procurement management. We develop and implement guidelines. By doing so, we act with the future in mind, strengthen our procurement channels and ensure that our product range is sustainable.

At METRO, it is our vision is to deliver sustainable food solutions with superior added economic value for independent entrepreneurs. We embrace our environmental and social responsibility in order to ensure the long-term viability of METRO. When it comes to sustainable retail and food sourcing, METRO follows a clear vision: "We will become sustainable in everything we do." In the following you will find our variety of procurement policies and positions regarding sustainable procurement of METRO.

METRO’s approach towards deforestation-free supply chains

One of the drivers of climate change is deforestation – the loss of natural forest and vegetation as a result of conversion to agricultural or other non-forest land use for instance. Additionally deforestation is often linked to other ecological and social issues like biodiversity loss and a breach of social standards of local people, if the original inhabitants of the forests are forced to leave their homes.

Deforestation is an important topic for the food sector as it is mainly driven by the production of soy, palm oil, meat as well as paper and wood. METRO Wholesale trades products that are made of or contain these commodities. As a wholesaler and as a part of the supply chain of products we source, we want to transform the way how these critical commodities are sourced, and we want to take action to end deforestation. This also contributes to the sustainability of our customers’ business as we enable our customers to make more sustainable choices when they buy with us.

We acknowledge the global frameworks of the Sustainable Development Goals and the United Nations Global Compact, and our approach towards deforestation-free supply chains builds on collaboration in the spirit of Sustainable Development Goal 17. We have set commitments individually in dedicated sourcing policies on soy, palm oil, paper & wood and on meat, but we believe that because of the complexity and interdependency of supply chains, only common, collaborative initiatives can lead to sustainable effects and that only then our lever is equally effective. This is why we collaborate with other actors along the supply chains of commodities like soy, palm oil, meat, paper and wood, as well as with other wholesalers and retailers, and representatives of governments and NGOs.

Important elements of our collaborative initiatives are our memberships, actions and commitments around zero deforestation within the Consumer Goods Forum and its Coalition of Action, the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) of the World Economic Forum, the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) and the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) as well as our Statement of Support for the Cerrado Manifesto and certification systems such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC ©) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). By means of these networks, best practices can be shared and greater transparency of supply chains is supported by introducing new technologies supporting this. Another factor is the backing of a wider spread of good practices via benchmarks, for instance by aligning the requirements of several third-party certification standards.

A learning from our ongoing activities and the experiences of the Consumer Goods Forum is, that action is needed on different levels within supply chains and with various actions at the same time: working with farmers, producers, traders and manufacturers to enable them to meet the requirements are important steps to reach deforestation free supply chains, and so are certification schemes. But we also need to constantly look at the specific area where those actors operate and at the environmental, social, economic and governmental circumstances of that area, otherwise actions will not bring the wished for long-term success.
In order to check if what we do is meeting the expectations of the market we openly disclose our activities, for example in the CDP Forest questionnaire and within the Consumer Goods Forum Forest Positive Coalition, in addition we learn from the assessment of independent third parties.

What we do regarding the most relevant commodities:


Following our Metro Soy Sourcing Policy (2019), we work on zero deforestation within our supply chains by 2025 latest. For this, we engage with our suppliers, focusing on own brand (private label) suppliers. We define with them the level of certified zero deforestation soy in their supply chains (both direct soy as ingredient in products and indirect soy as part of animal feed) and work on ways to raise the level of certified zero deforestation soy.

As part of our Sustainable Soy Procurement Policy, METRO has also joined forces with other companies in The Consumer Goods Forum Forest Positive Coalition of Action - Soy Working Group, and is currently leading this group. The Soy Working Group works on a Roadmap with tangible actions to reach zero deforestation. For this, we engage with our suppliers and the soy traders, directly, but also in collaboration with NGO’s. For an update on the work of the Soy Working Group, we refer to the Consumer Goods Forum website.

Together with several other manufacturers and retailers, we currently work on more transparency in the soy supply chain within the Soy Transparency Coalition, facilitated by experts 3Keel.

Palm Oil

Following our METRO Palm Oil Procurement Policy, we work towards sustainable palm oil in products in our supply chain. For METRO Germany for instance, all palm oil in our own brand food products is 100% RSPO certified ‘segregated’, meaning zero deforestation. Together with our Dutch supplier of frozen French fries, Farm Frites, we also reached 100% RSPO certified segregated palm oil.

As a member of the Consumer Goods Forum Forest Positive Palm Oil Working Group, we collaborate with 16 other companies on bringing more sustainable palm oil in our supply chains, for which we have conducted a Roadmap with tangible actions and output, more information on the Consumer Goods Forum website.

Together with several other manufacturers and retailers, we currently work on more transparency in the palm oil supply chain within the Palm Oil Transparency Coalition (POTC), facilitated by experts 3Keel.

We publicly report on the progress made against our palm oil commitment in the annual ACOP report of the RSPO, showing the overall palm oil volumes and the share of certification. More information on the website of the RSPO.

Paper & Wood

Since paper and wood product are also drivers of deforestation, already back in 2012, Metro committed to more sustainable products from paper and wood. In our Paper and Wood Procurement Policy, we aim to ensure that 100% of our own-brand products made from wood or wood fibre originate from legal and responsibly managed forests by the end of 2020, ensuring that the material is harvested in compliance with applicable legislation in force in the country of harvest, that the forest has been managed in compliance with the principles of sustainable forest management, which balance social, economic and ecological needs, and that traditional and civil rights of indigenous people, local communities and workers who benefit from the forest management and production are respected and protected. Further, ecosystems, biodiversity and ecological processes are maintained or restored, especially with regard to forests of high conservation value, and a proper management plan and a corresponding monitoring process are implemented and documented.

Products made from virgin fibre have to be certified in accordance with a third-party forest certification scheme: Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) or an equivalent standard according to the available benchmark of certification schemes.


METRO is providing its customers with meat products that comply with the highest quality and safety standards and that have been produced socially and environmentally well. We are aware of the various sustainability topics around meat and we are committed to continue to work in our supply chains on more sustainable meat. That is why we will introduce in fall 2020, the METRO Meat Procurement Sustainability Guideline, to create a more sustainable meat offer, starting with our own brand meat products. We will bring together topics regarding meat and sustainability, and we explain our activities and commitments around these topics.

A main topic in this Meat Procurement Sustainability Guideline is Deforestation, connected to soy in animal feed. With our engagement with our suppliers, as well as within some of the above mentioned collaborations on zero deforestation we are in, we will focus on achieving zero deforestation within our meat supply chains.

Sustainable procurement

METRO has drawn up a purchasing policy for its own brands. The aim is to source products sustainably. In terms of economic, environmental and social impacts.



The diversity of species and their habitats is worth preserving, especially as animals and plants provide certain services that are essential for the production of food. For this reason, METRO supports the goals of the International Convention on Biological Diversity and contributes to the protection of biodiversity.



Health and nutrition policy

Every day METRO strives to empower its more than 24 million customers to make healthier choices for their businesses and families by offering a growing range of reformulated, ultra-fresh and organic oriented products, providing clear and easily accessible information about nutrients and ingredients, and by leveraging digital solutions. To achieve this goal, we have developed clear guidelines and targets.



Commitment on cage free eggs sourcing

METRO is committed to ensure that for all business operations it controls shell eggs and liquid egg products are sourced 100% cage free in West and South Europe by the end of 2022 and in East Europe by the end of 2025 plus Russia and Ukraine. In our remaining markets such as India, China, Pakistan and Japan, we are committed to achieving the same by 2027. In these markets, the sourcing of cage-free eggs is currently challenging, so we are working together with the industry to solve the issue. Furthermore, METRO supports the improvement of farming conditions for laying hens by promoting alternative and more sustainable farming systems, e.g. floor and free-range systems.

Fish and Seafood

METRO promotes the long-term protection of fish stocks. We have drawn up a group-wide purchasing policy for sustainable fish procurement. METRO Cash & Carry has further specified this in its Fish and Seafood  Procurement Policy.

Genetically Modified Organisms

In the last years, the topic of genetically modified organisms (GMO) has become increasingly important as the food assortment impacted by GMO has been enlarged tremendously. On a world scale, consumers as well as experts assess the use of modern biotechnology in food items in completely different ways. METRO GROUP knows these differences and respects the particular perspectives of the different countries and their consumers.

European Supply Chain Initiative

The new METRO is a member of the European Supply Chain Initiative. The aim is to promote fair business practices along the supply chain and to implement best practices.

Code of Conduct for Business Partners

The METRO Code of Conduct for Business Partners defines our fundamental principles in the areas of the environment, social affairs and business ethics. We expect our partners to fulfil this code in their daily cooperation with us.

As a matter of principle, we support the further utilisation of resources and their recovery through recycling. Our focus is on packaging and the use of conventional plastic. To reduce our environmental footprint, we strongly support closed-loop recycling management.

In everyday wholesale business, packaging is not only used for transporting, preserving and protecting goods. Product packaging also contains information and usage instructions for customers. But packaging foremost represents a major cross-industry challenge in terms of reducing quantity as well as defining the proper materials.

As wholesale specialist we need to ensure that we meet the high quality and hygiene standards our customers expect, while at the same time we aim to reduce the environmental impact of the packaging of our own-brand products during the entire life cycle. We work to develop innovative solutions to improve resource efficiency, for instance by reducing packaging material, increasing the proportion of recycled material used in our packaging, and designing our packaging to improve stacking on pallets while at the same time reducing the costs for our customers.


Packaging targets 2018 achieved and ambition for 2023

From September 2014 to September 2018, we aimed to

  • Check the packaging of more than 10,000 own brand products regarding their impact on the environment and – if possible – improving it
  • Switch 100% of our SIG Combibloc and Tetra Pak drinks cartons to FSC®-certified packaging (for globally sourced products and in participating countries)

Both targets weren't only reached, but even exceeded as until September 2018 even more than 11,000 own brand products were reviewed. Furthermore, changes that were made to the packaging of the reviewed products accumulated to an amount of 400 tons packaging material that could be saved for good.

In order to make further significant reductions in plastic volumes and therefore in plastic waste, and to use resources as efficiently as possible, in October 2018 we have set ourselves new targets:

From October 2018 to September 2023, we aim to

  • Obtain FSC® or PEFC certification for all card, paper and wood content in primary, secondary and tertiary packaging
  • Save an additional 300 tonnes of plastic waste in our own brand packagin


METRO Plastics Initiative

To underline our strong commitment to tackle the plastic waste challenge , in September 2018, as part of the METRO Plastics Initiative, we and our national subsidiaries committed ourselves to replacing conventional disposable plastics with reusable, recyclable or compostable alternatives by 2025, and to promoting the transition to closed-loop plastics recycling.

To this end, we have also joined the New Plastics Economy of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation  in October 2018. In this international network of more than 290 organizations companies, universities, academics and financial institutions work jointly to achieve, amongst other goals:

  • Innovation to ensure that 100% of plastic packaging is easy and quick to handle and can be safely reused, recycled or composted by 2025
  • Enabling transfer of produced plastics into closed material cycles and increasing the production of such plastics, which can be reused or recycled and processed into new packaging or products

In addition, the #METROPlasticFighters are an important pillar of the METRO Plastics Initiative, which is deeply rooted in the company, raises awareness, educates about plastic waste and creates a growing internal task force to drive change forward. The idea behind it is simple – with 150,000 employees worldwide, METRO has an enormous impact on the urgently needed change, starting from each individual employee and his or her relationships with our customers, suppliers, business partners, friends and family. In recent months, employees voluntarily met under the flag of #METROPlasticFighters to join or even organize e.g. clean-ups in Düsseldorf, the Ukraine or on the beach in Hong Kong. In addition, conventional plastic containers and single-use Coffee-To-Go cups  were exchanged at METROs headquarters canteen and coffee bar. A sustainability fee for more sustainable alternatives e.g. reusable lunch boxes or 100% climate-neutral, reusable porcelain deposit cups are donated to the Pacific Garbage Screening project.

METRO wants to minimise waste - food and solid waste. It is important to us to think in life cycles and promote innovative manufacturing and recycling technologies. We advise our customers on how to dispose of products and packaging. This means raising awareness of conserving resources, providing information about avoiding waste, and incentivising and enabling correct disposal. Our involvement in the Retailers' Environmental Action Programme (REAP) is one example of our activities in this field. REAP is a joint platform of major European retailers and the European Commission (Directorate-General for Environment). It enables them to share their experiences and present exemplary environmental and resource management projects.

Logo Save FoodOne third of all food is either wasted or lost - an amount that would be enough to meet global food needs. Together with our partners along the value chain from industry, politics, civil society and our customers we aim to drive innovations, promote dialogue and kick off debates in order to generate solutions. This "from field to fork" approach is shared by many of our partners in this challenge, e.g. SAVE FOOD Initiative.


METRO supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, with our commitment to sustainability, pays attention to achieving the global agenda. By striving for compliance with social standards, METRO particularly works towards the goals:

  • SDG 1 (no poverty)
  • SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth)
  • SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production)

In this respect METRO also declares its ambition to work towards the paramount issue of ensuring a living income of those, producing for METRO’s own brand/no-name supply chains. Whilst various methodologies are acceptable when defining a living income, METRO gives preference to the Anker Methodology where possible.

Generally, METROs aim is to identify and prevent violations of socially ethical working conditions. The key labour standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO) are a fixed part of our procurement policies. We are a founding member of the amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI). This commits us to respect fundamental human rights in the production and supply chain. amfori BSCI is one of the most efficient systems for implementing safe and humane working conditions in emerging and developing countries. In addition to the amfori BSCI scheme and Sedex SMETA, under certain requirements METRO also accepts other standards and certificates as confirmation that social standards are met. Please see more in the overview document for downloading.

Clear principles

We signed the BSCI Code of Conduct which comprises eleven principles. We stand up for implementation and compliance with these principles:

  • Rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining are upheld
  • There is no discrimination
  • Fair remuneration that is sufficient to provide workers and their families with a decent living and as a minimum provide for statutory minimum wages and/or industry-standard wages
  • Working hours comply with ILO and national legislation
  • The workplace is safe and healthy
  • Child labour is prohibited
  • There is special protection for young workers
  • No forms of precarious employment are used
  • There is no forced labour or disciplinary action
  • The environment is respected
  • Ethical business behaviour is in place, in particular there are guidelines to prevent bribery and corruption


Systematic audits

METRO wants to establish fair working conditions among the producers of its own-brand and no-name products, starting with non-food products in 2014 and including food and near food products as of 2019. Our aim is to ensure social compliance in the supply chain by 2030 by conducting third-party audits of all the producers we work with in risk countries, based on either the amfori BSCI scheme, Sedex SMETA or comparable standards. The list of risk countries is collected by amfori BSCI*. Classification as a risk country is based on various criteria:

  • experience of local purchasing companies
  • United Nations’ human development index
  • Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.

For the running non-food process, since January 2017, new producers under the scope of our policy have been allowed to go on our books if they proof for a valid, acceptable and good audit report. For amfori BSCI this means the audit result needs to be A, B or C. Since January 2019, all non-food producers under the scope of our policy need to provide for such valid, acceptable and good audit report.

Since 2013 METRO is also signatory of a multi-stakeholder initiative, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh in order to contribute to the health and safety of particularly the textile industry workers in Bangladesh. Amongst other activities, the initiative runs independent safety inspections, remediation programs and offers safety training programs. Compared to the Accord producers average on closing the findings from Accord-audits during the year 2019, METROs producers average progress rate of 94% is slightly higher.

* METRO makes two deviations from the list: Bulgaria is not listed as a risk country; Malaysia is listed as a risk country.


Standards and certificates

In addition to the amfori BSCI scheme (including Small Producer Assessment SPA), METRO accepts other standards and certificates as confirmation that social standards are met.

  • ETI (Ethical Trading Initiative), provided it is conducted in line with the SMETA guidelines (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit)
  • SA8000 (Social Accountability)
  • ICTI (International Council of Toy Industries)
  • ICS (Initiative Clause Sociale)
  • RBA (Responsible Business Association (formerly EICC, Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition)
  • FLA (Fair Labor Association)

Furthermore, as a first step, METRO accepts the following food-relevant standards/certifications to ensure compliance with social standards.

  • ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council)
  • BAP (Best Aquaculture Practices)
  • RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil)
  • Global G.A.P. GRASP
  • RTRS (Roundtable for responsible Soy)
  • Fair Trade
  • Rainforest Alliance / UTZ
  • Any CGF SSCI benchmarked scheme

Fire protection and occupational safety training

In addition to our existing audits, we are involved in other activities. Our import company - METRO Sourcing - has implemented fire protection and occupational safety training courses for producers in Bangladesh and other risk countries in conjunction with our cooperative partners. We also want to improve building safety at textile factories in the production countries. To achieve this, we signed a special Accord for the textile industry in Bangladesh in 2013 and the Transition Accord 2.0 in June 2018. Its aim is to improve fire protection and enhance building safety. The Accord was developed in conjunction with business representatives, trade unions and non-governmental organisations.

Deal-breaker process

In 2016, we defined a list of deal-breakers which rule out collaboration with business partners. These factors include child labour, forced labour, insufficient occupational safety - in particular, fire protection - and unethical conduct. Suppliers and their producers who are found to violate any of these deal-breakers are required by METRO to come up with short- and long-term solutions. No new or follow-up orders are placed until remedial action has been taken.

Our goods and services have to tick all the right boxes by offering quality, safety, and sound social and environmental ethics – from their production and procurement to their useful lives and their disposal. With this in mind, we want to make the whole value chain sustainable and transparent.

For example, METRO takes a transparent approach to its procurement of products and its usage of resources. We ensure this by maintaining direct relationships with our business partners. We have also developed a cross-industry, international traceability solution together with cooperation partners and the standardisation organisation GS1 Germany.

Transparent supply chain for fish and meat

METRO is dedicated to taking a sustainable approach to sensitive product groups. This means, for instance, that customers of METRO Cash & Carry can find out where and how the fish they are buying was caught – quickly and easily using a smartphone app. In the future, it will also be possible to call up detailed data on numerous meat products, such as their origins, processing, quality and sustainability. This innovative solution is special because everyone from the producer to the vendor is involved. They each enter their product information in their own decentralised databases which are merged online. It is then possible to find specific product details via a search engine thanks to unique product identification.

The new traceability solution is based on international GS1 standards. This means it will be possible to add other product groups and databases in the future. All market players throughout the supply chain can take part, wherever they are in the world. METRO is considered exemplary in the battle against illegal fishing thanks to its use of modern traceability systems.

Sustainability Tree

How sustainable is METRO acting and in which areas does it want to further expand its commitment to the environment in the coming years? How large was the company's CO2 footprint in the past fiscal year and how much energy was already generated from renewable energies? Here we provide you with all information on our goals and key figures.