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Guidelines for Sustainable Business Practices


Set of fundamental values and recommendation for action for contract partners

The release of the "Guidelines for sustainable Business Practices" intensifies the activities of the REWE Group in the field of environmental sustainability. The 27-page publication released on january 24th, 2011, documents the values the company stands for and describes how the REWE Group business relationships should be characterised with respect to environment and society.

The objective is to work with the contract suppliers to expand the REWE Group corporate principle of "We are aware of our responsibility and act sustainably" to cover the entire length of the supply chain. The Guidelines, which will also be made available on the Internet, are addressed to employees, customers, political institutions and the interested public as well as the contract partners of the REWE Group.

The Guidelines are divided into three main sections: "Responsable action", "Labour and Social Standards" and "Environmental and Animal Protection". Sixteen chapters concretise various topics such as the general prohibition of corruption, fairness in competition, prohibition of forced and child labour, prohibition of discrimination or health protection on the job, protection of climate, resources and animals, a commitment to protection of species and biodiversity and responsibility for consumer interests.

Guideline for Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil Products

Palm (kernel) oil is one of the most important raw materials used to satisfy human demand for vegetable oils and fats. This highly valued oil is founded in sweet biscuits, cakes, convenience products and mueslis.

Worldwide production of vegetable fats in 2012 amounted to about 161 million tons, and approximately 60 million tons of this amount was palm (kernel) oil. At that time, consumption of palm (kernel) oil in Germany amounted to about 1.3 million tons. In comparison: the import demand for China is figured at about 6.6 million tons and India about 7.8 million tons. [1] Enormous areas of tropical forests are being cleared away to satisfy the rising demand for oil palms.

REWE Group pursues a strategy of sustainability because it believes it has a responsibility to future generations. Compliance with this principle has prompted REWE Group to take steps which will heighten awareness of its employees, suppliers and customers for the issue of “more sustainable oil palm cultivation”.

The implementation of the “Guideline for Palm Oil and Palm Oil Products” is intended as a serious contribution towards this goal. This guideline is applicable to all of the conventional private label products of REWE Group which include palm oil and palm kernel oil in their ingredients.

[1] Source: OVID Verband der ölsaatenverarbeitenden Industrie in Deutschland (2013)

Download Guideline for Palmoil and Palm Kernel Oil Products

Guideline for Soy in Animal Feed

REWE Groups aims to reduce the environmental impacts of soy production for animal feed. The trade and tourism group strives to raise awareness among its suppliers and upstream suppliers with regard to the sustainable feeding of protein to livestock. With its "Guideline for Soy in Animal Feed", REWE Group furthers its goal of rendering the feeding of protein for milk and dairy products as well as for eggs and meat products more sustainable and responsible.

6.8 million tonnes of soy are imported to Germany every year, the majority is used as a complementary protein source in domestic livestock feeding and comes from South America. The global rise in demand has resulted in an intense expansion of soy cultivation in recent years which negatively influences diverse eco-systems and small-scale farming. Additionally, large-scale monoculture cultivation contributes to biodiversity loss. This agricultural practice also causes problems related to cultivation techniques which in turn result in an increased use of synthetic pesticides, for example.

Gradual Conversion to Protein Sources from Europe
REWE Group demands and promotes the successive substitution of soy meal imported from South America with domestic and European protein sources. This should, first of all, contribute to limit the negative effects of changes in land use in South America. An additional benefit of prioritising domestic sources of protein for feed (e.g. leguminous plants) is that the increased cultivation of domestic protein plants enriches European agriculture through crop rotation and thereby also helps to cut the use of climate-damaging nitrogen fertilisers.

GMO-free Livestock Feed
The cultivation of transgenic varieties of soy has been permitted in America since the 1990s. These varieties can be kept weed-free with chemical glyphosate applications at low costs. However, consumers prefer GMO-free food, i.e. food which is produced without genetically modified organisms. Therefore, REWE Group has defined freedom from genetic engineering as one of its demands.

Download Guideline for Soy in Animal Feed

Guideline for Cocoa

There is a broad range of private label brands produced using various amounts of cocoa for REWE Group. REWE Group, in its role as a trade company, firmly believes it has a responsibility with respect to future generations and consequently, among other activities, advocates more sustainable cultivation of cocoa. Compliance with this principle has prompted REWE Group to take steps which will heighten awareness of its employees, suppliers and customers for the issue of “more sustainable cocoa cultivation”. The aim of these actions is to increase the proportion of cocoa from sustainable cultivation in the private label brands of REWE Group. The objective is to ensure that all of the unprocessed cocoa used for the production of private label products comes from a more sustainable producer structure with full awareness of our responsibility.

The corresponding guideline is applicable to all of the REWE Group private label products which include cocoa in their ingredients.

Download Guideline for Cocoa

Guideline for Natural Stone Products

REWE Group primarily offers natural stone products via its sales line toom Baumarkt. The majority of these products are either intended for application in outdoor areas, such as gardens, or for interior fittings for bathrooms and kitchens. Typical natural stone products include floor and wall panels, kerbstones, paving stones, steps, stone palisades, tiles, windowsills, kitchen worktops and decorative accessories made of granite, lime and sandstone.

In its “Guideline for Sustainable Business Practices”, REWE Group acknowledges its social and environmental corporate responsibility. REWE Group thereby aims to actively participate in solving social and ecological problems arising from the production and processing of natural stone products. To this end, REWE Group requires its suppliers throughout the supply chain – from wholesale to stone processing through to the quarries – to comply with the minimum standards summarised in the guideline for Natural Stone Products. This guideline, which was drawn up in cooperation with external experts and NGOs, includes comprehensive supplier requirements regarding social responsibility, occupational safety and environmental protection, specifications for product traceability and for independent controls. Furthermore, REWE Group is dedicated to making suppliers, employees and customers aware of the significance of a more sustainable natural stone production and offering them guidance and recommendations for action in the form of the guideline for Natural Stone Products.

The area of application of this guideline includes quarries and stoneworking businesses in non-OECD countries, as these are the major suppliers of the natural stone products procured by REWE Group and the need for action is most urgent there. In addition, it includes wholesale and toom Baumarkt.

Download Guideline for Natural Stone Products