Sustainability

30 December 2021

Guideline on juices

Reading time: 4 min.

Fruit juice is the third most popular drink in Germany, after water and soft drinks. Much of the fruit that is made into juice comes from tropical and subtropical regions. There, as well as in Europe, conventional fruit cultivation and processing methods often pose numerous ecological and social problems, and the REWE Group wants to actively shape more sustainable development in this area.

Background

Conventional fruit cultivation – for example, oranges in Brazil or pineapples in Costa Rica – frequently involves monoculture plantations, damaging the environment and biodiversity through deforestation, the extensive use of pesticides, and fertilizers. In Europe, apple cultivation is one of the most chemical-intensive agricultural sectors. On the large-scale plantations in tropical and subtropical areas, working conditions are often precarious and may involve human rights violations, including child and enforced labour, non-living wages, inhumane working hours, discrimination, or poor workplace health and safety conditions. Cases of exploitation can also occur in Europe as well, such as in southern Spain or in Italy, for example, where many fruit pickers from Africa or eastern Europe receive insufficient wages, frequently have to work extra hours, and often lack protective equipment.

Our Goals

To improve social, ecological and economic conditions in juice production, the REWE Group has set itself the following goals: By the end of 2025, 50% of all private-label fruit juices and fruit juice drinks at REWE and PENNY in Germany (excluding special offers as well as seasonal and regional goods) will be certified organic or carry Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, Naturland, SAI, FSA Bronze / Silver / Gold, or GlobalG.A.P. certification. The REWE Group set itself the goal of ensuring that all its direct orange juice and orange juice made from concentrate is certified organic or carries the Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance certification; this goal has already been reached ahead of its original target date of 2025. In addition, pineapple juice has only been available at REWE and PENNY as a certified product since the end of 2018.

Our Measures

The REWE Group supports its goals with a variety of measures. For example, it cooperates with organizations like Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Naturland to tackle ecological and social issues in risk countries so that resources can be used efficiently and supply chains made more transparent. The REWE Group also demands that all business partners in its private-label supply chains adhere to minimum national and international requirements and affirm their commitment to its guidelines for sustainable business practices. Its Supplier Code of Conduct is also a contractual component of this cooperation and obligates its private-label suppliers to exercise the care and diligence expected of a conscientious company, to respect human rights, and to ensure good working conditions. With this in mind, the REWE Group is supporting local projects, for example training local farmers in sustainable agriculture in the Brazilian citrus belt, or a biodiversity project seeking to provide more food sources and nesting opportunities for insects and birds in Poland’s largest apple growing region. Furthermore, the REWE Group participates in multi-stakeholder initiatives, such as the European Fruit CSR Platform or the Partnership for Sustainable Orange Juice, to advocate social and ecological improvements in the supply chains of the fruit juice industry.

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