1 May 2023

Guideline on more sustainable textiles

Reading time: 4 min.

The production processes in the textile sector mainly take place in developing and emerging countries. This opens up opportunities for many people there to improve their income and living conditions, while at the same time creating a multitude of social and ecological challenges as well as those of social integrity. The REWE Group aims at addressing these challenges with a comprehensive strategy and ambitious goals.


More than 60 million people worldwide – 80 per cent of them women – work in the textile and clothing industry, most of them in developing and emerging countries. In these countries, child and forced labour, discrimination or sexual violence as well as long working hours are issues that can occur within all stages of the supply chain. Wages are often below the living wage level, and protests against this situation can result in dismissals. In 2016, 1.9 million people worldwide died in the textile, clothing, leather and shoe industry due to a lack of safety measures or poor health protection. Ten per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide can be attributed to the textile industry, which also has a negative impact on water as a resource due to a high consumption and chemicals in waste water. With regard to fur and leather processing, the husbandry and slaughter conditions of the animals are often critical. The REWE Group wants to make an active contribution to reducing and finding a solution to these challenges.

Our goals

Overall, the REWE Group is striving for certification in accordance with Green Button 2.0. Our objectives address the human rights and social challenges as well as the ecological issues:

  • We aim to transparently list the production sites of our private labels in the textile supply chains at manufacturing level on an annual basis and audit them as part of our Social Improvement Program. Furthermore, the REWE Group wants to work towards living wages in dialogue with other companies and stakeholders. An analysis of purchasing practices will be carried out to identify any negative effects.

  • In order to preserve resources and protect the environment, the REWE Group aims at purchasing textiles exclusively from production sites at manufacturing level that have been checked for ecological risks (self-assessment or certification) on an annual basis. It is envisaged to increase the share of textile products made from more sustainable cotton to 100 per cent by the end of 2025.

Our measures

In order to make our textile supply chains more sustainable, the REWE Group has implemented numerous measures: Among other things, our business partners are contractually obliged to comply with the minimum requirements of internationally and nationally applicable laws and the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of the International Labour Organization. This is verified by means of recognised social audits such as the amfori BSCI. In addition, selected production sites of strategic suppliers take part in an on-site training programme lasting several months, during which improvements are implemented. Production sites in Bangladesh inspected by the Accord agreement are required to carry out renovation and improvement measures and conduct fire safety training. Harmful textile processing methods such as sandblasting must be abandoned and any form of corruption, bribery or extortion is prohibited. Furthermore, the products must be free of harmful substances according to Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX®. PRO-PLANET suppliers may only process sustainable cotton according to the GOTS or CmiA standard, suppliers of products with the Green Button label must prove compliance with the requirements by means of credible seals. Applicable wastewater tests must be submitted as part of the REWE Group Detox Program. Materials such as real fur, snakeskin or methods such as live plucking shall be precluded.