5 December 2022

“A state of emergency is becoming the new normal”

Emilie Bourgoin, Head of Public Affairs at REWE Group, discusses the multiple crises of 2022 and the lessons we can learn from them.

Dear Reader,

2022 proved to be extremely challenging for our supply chains due to raw material scarcity and the resulting speculation on the world market, a lack of packaging materials (including glass which requires a great deal of energy to manufacture), shortages of AdBlue or pallets for transport, the necessary agricultural transition, record inflation and the resulting changes in consumer behaviour, and a severe shortage of skilled workers, not to mention electricity and gas shortages. It was a permanent stress test – for us, for our suppliers and producers as well as for consumers.

We have all been and remain deeply affected by the illegal war of aggression against Ukraine and the consequences for the local population. The inherent dangers of globalisation, which has otherwise brought positive effects, were also thrown into sharp relief, with sudden bottlenecks, inflation and price increases. War presents us with challenges that we have only read about in history books.

Dealing with ever-changing chain reactions in our supply chains suddenly became part of our daily business. Since 2020, one crisis year has followed the next. It is my belief that a state of emergency is unfortunately becoming the new normal, presenting a social, economic and political challenge for us all. Geopolitical and social instabilities require bold decisions and a cool head. We have to learn to keep our eyes firmly on the road ahead and manage any obstacles that come hurtling at us. Crises force us to act quickly, which is why I also believe that talking to one another is more important than ever.

Crises can also offer potential and opportunities, because when new successful relationships are formed, they are often particularly sustainable and long lasting.

Emilie Bourgoin, Group Director Public Affairs
Emilie Bourgoin, Group Director Public Affairs

This is especially the case when attempts are made to play one crisis off against others. There are, for example, a growing number of voices from associations that advocate the repeal or postponement of the European farm-to-fork strategy or the EU Supply Chain Act. I consider such reasoning to be disastrous. The agricultural transition and transformation is still necessary, perhaps more than ever.

In short, wherever you look, the world is becoming more complex. But with agility and adaptability, we can overcome the challenges, as we did so successfully in 2022, and face the new year with confidence, even though it may hold just as many challenges as its predecessor. It is crucial to never beg down from our values. Crises can also offer potential and opportunities, because when new successful relationships are formed, they are often particularly sustainable and long lasting. That is why I am confident that those who maintain transparency, openness and clarity towards their partners, be them customers, suppliers or employees, will emerge from the crisis stronger. Because, in times of crisis in particular, resilient relationships are built on trust.

À bientôt, Yours Emilie Bourgoin

Emilie Bourgoin
Group Director Public Affairs

About REWE Group

The cooperatively organized REWE Group is one of the leading trade and tourism groups in Germany and Europe. In 2021, the company generated a total external turnover of 76.5 billion euros. Founded in 1927, REWE Group operates with around 380,000 employees in 21 European countries.

The sales lines include REWE, REWE CENTER and BILLA as well as BILLA PLUS and ADEG supermarkets and consumer stores, the discounter PENNY, IKI, the drugstores BIPA and the toom Baumarkt DIY stores. The company also operates convenience stores REWE To Go and the e-commerce activities REWE Lieferservice and Zooroyal. The Lekkerland Group comprises the wholesale activities of the business group in the area of on-the-go consumption.Travel and tourism under the umbrella of DER Touristik Group includes the tour operators DERTOUR, ITS, Meiers Weltreisen, Kuoni, Helvetic Tours, ITS Coop Travel, Billa Reisen, Koning Aap, Exim Tours and Fischer as well as more than 2,300 travel agencies (e.g. DERTOUR, DERPART, Kuoni, Exim, Fischer and cooperation partners), the hotel brands Sentido, Aldiana, Calimera, Cooee, and the online travel portal Prijsvrij Vakanties.