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31 July 2017

Partnership for Sustainable Textiles: REWE Group signs off action plan

70 per cent of textiles already made from sustainable cotton

In joining the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles in 2015, the REWE Group committed to sustainable improvements in ecological, social and economic conditions in international textile supply chains. Part of this commitment was the creation of an action plan which has the additional aim of improving working conditions at textile suppliers. Today (31 July), the Cologne-based Group announced the contextual details of the action plan. As Torsten Stau, Managing Director Non Food at REWE Group, explains: “The action plan we have just passed includes, on the one hand, our existing activities to promote more sustainable textiles, which we also intend to uphold going forward, and on the other, new agreed objectives. In total, the action plan comprises 100 objectives. In this respect, I am delighted to be already disclosing our action plan in anticipation of the final publication next year. Through this disclosure, we are demonstrating both our commitment to the Partnership and our willingness to provide transparency about our objectives.” The REWE Group has already succeeded in increasing the proportion of textiles manufactured from more sustainable cotton from 56 percent (in 2015) to 70 percent (in 2017). “This represents a significant achievement. However, we intend to continue to increase this percentage even further in the future,” Stau adds. The continuance of existing activities also requires commitment. For example, the Group is auditing all of its production sites for own-brand textiles in the relevant countries to ensure their compliance with applicable social standards. The REWE Group is also monitoring waste water quality at the factories as part of its ‘Detox’ programme. In addition to these inspections, the REWE Group is also providing training programmes to support the suppliers with implementing the requirements. In the context of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, for example, one objective included in the new action plan is to initiate training courses in 2017 with selected factories in China and Bangladesh to improve chemicals management. A training programme is also being developed in relation to social standards. The subject of ‘environmental management’ has also been added. For the year 2017, the REWE Group intends to identify a suitable provider for an environmental management programme to subsequently start a pilot project. Within the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, the REWE Group is also taking part in the chemicals and environmental management expert panel to formulate common standards and in a task force for joint training measures for local factories. The cooperatively organised REWE Group is one of the leading trade and tourism groups in Germany and Europe. In 2016, the company generated a total external turnover of around 54 billion euros. Founded in 1927, the REWE Group operates 15,000 stores with 330,000 employees in 19 European countries. In 2016, around 240,000 employees generated a turnover totalling 39 billion euros in approximately 10,000 stores in Germany. Sales lines include REWE, REWE CENTER, REWE CITY and BILLA supermarkets and consumer stores, the discounter PENNY as well as the toom and B1 Discount Baumarkt DIY stores. There are also the organic supermarkets (TEMMA), innovative convenience stores (REWE To Go), the gastronomic concept "Oh Angie!” and e-commerce activities such as the REWE delivery service, Zooroyal, Weinfreunde and Kölner Weinkeller. Travel and tourism under the umbrella of DER Touristik Group includes the tour operators ITS, Jahn Reisen and Travelix as well as Dertour, Meier's Weltreisen, ADAC Reisen, Kuoni, Helvetic Tours, Apollo and Exim Tours, and the business travel division FCM Travel Solutions and more than 2,400 travel agencies (e.g. DER Reisebüro, DERPART), the hotel chains ITI Hotels, Club Calimera, COOEE and PrimaSol Hotels and the direct tour operator