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.
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.