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Guidelines for Sustainable Business Practices

Set of fundamental values and recommendation for action for contract partners

Guidelines on Fairness, Cocoa Products and more eco-friendly Packaging are laying on a table
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 Coffee

In its guideline for Coffee REWE Group outlines its aims and activities contributing to the improvement of social, ecological and economic conditions in coffee-growing countries. REWE Group has set itself the goal of sourcing 100 per cent certified coffee for its REWE and PENNY private labels by the end of 2020.

Guideline for the Prevention of Child Labour

In its guideline on the prevention of child labour REWE Group commits to address child labor and defines requirements  for their business partners. The requirements aim  to prevent child labor in their supply chain and define a concrete remediation process, if cases of child labor are discovered.

Guideline on Cocoa Products​​​​​​​

In its Guideline for Cocoa Products the REWE Group undertakes to gradually convert all private label products that include cocoa in their ingredients to the Fairtrade Cocoa Program. Already today, 99 percent of cocoa in all private label products of REWE Group is certified sustainable. REWE Group is also a founding member of the “German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa”.

Guideline on Orange Juice

In its Guideline for Orange Juice REWE Group has set itself the goal to only sell certified orange juice from cooled and uncooled direct and concentrated juice in its markets by 2025. Furthermore REWE Group actively promotes the livelihood of small-scale orange growers in Brazil in cooperation with Fairtrade.

Guideline on Packaging

The REWE Group released its first Guideline for More Eco-Friendly Packaging. In it, the Group undertakes to optimise all private label sales and service packaging at REWE, PENNY and toom Baumarkt DIY with regard to their eco-friendliness by the end of 2030.

Guideline on Fairness

The present Guideline on Fairness outlines the management of action “Fairness within the supply chains of the private label products”. For REWE Group, fairness means respecting and strengthening human rights and improving working conditions as well as promoting fair trade.

Guideline for more sustainable Textiles

The REWE group published its first set of Guideline for more sustainable Textiles in September 2018. These guidelines require our suppliers to meet social and environmental standards and to abstain from using materials which endanger animal welfare. The guidelines’ measures and requirements concern textiles used in the REWE Group’s private label apparel, housewares and footwear brands and are already in effect at REWE, PENNY and toom Baumarkt.

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

Information on our Detox Program

With our Detox Program, we are dedicated to implement transparency in the textile supply chain, promote the use of non-hazardous chemicals in textiles production and significantly reduce the release of hazardous substances into the water.

REWE Group Detox Program

Through training events and information material, we support our suppliers to more easily detect and monitor the chemicals used and subsequently substitute the hazardous chemicals. Continuous water and product tests ensure that the implemented measures are effective. An introduction to our Detox Program you can find in our information brochure. In our annual status reports you can find an overview of our Detox related activities and projects: Status Report 2015 Status Report 2016 Status Report 2017 Status Report 2018 Chemical usage and its consequences Why are chemicals used during textile production and what are the consequences? The use of harmful substances and chemicals in the production of textiles is attracting more attention from consumers. Although these chemicals cannot be detected in the final product, they often have a damaging impact on the environment in producing countries. At different points in the textile production chain, the use of chemicals is necessary. Chemicals are used to bleach raw cotton and in dyeing or printing processes. To make materials water resistant or more durable, they are treated with chemicals. Today, hazardous chemicals are often used in these processes. They are harmful to the workers who are exposed to these chemicals and often not provided with personal protective equipment. Chemicals leak into rivers and groundwater through mostly untreated wastewater. The consequences for the environment and also for the quality of the drinking water are dire. Supplier support during the substitution process Our suppliers and the wet process factories are our most important partners on the path toward the safer production of textiles. We developed a number of information documents to support our suppliers in the process of substitution, which you can find here.

Guidance Material for Suppliers and Factories

Our suppliers and the wet process factories are our most important partners on the path toward the safer production of textiles. We developed a number of information documents to support our suppliers in the process of substitution, which you can find here.

Supplier Tool Kit In order to explain our Detox Program to our suppliers we have developed a manual. The Detox Supplier Tool Kit includes a general overview of the Detox Program, describes the process to become a Detox compliant supplier and clarifies all corresponding requirements for our suppliers. Waste Water and Sludge Test Guidance Waste water and sludge testing play an important role for the continuous monitoring. That is why waste water and sludge tests have to be updated regularly. Information on how to read and interpret the results of water and sludge test can be found in our information brochure REWE Group Detox Program Waste Water and Sludge Testing Case Studies on substitution of hazardous chemicals REWE Group has set up pilot projects with wet process factories from different suppliers and with various service providers to learn more about ways to phase out unwanted substances from the textile supply chain. The case studies on pilot project can be found here Case Study: Pilot project with a garment manufacturer in Bangladesh 
Case Study: PFC substitution with a washing mill in Bangladesh
Case Study: STeP certification by OEKO-TEX
Case Study: Optimizing bleaching processes to achieve higher efficiency and Detox conformity
Case Study: Improving chemical management to ensure Detox compliance in a Chinese dyeing mill Chemical Fact Sheets To give our supply chain partners additional insights and background information on the different chemical groups, we are developing chemical fact sheets for each chemical group. The fact sheets will provide information on potential risks and their environmental impacts. They also offer advice on how to find compliant and safer substances. Factsheet Hazardous Substances
Factsheet APEO
Factsheet PFC
Factsheet Flame Retardants
Factsheet Chlorophenols
Factsheet SCCPs
Factsheet Heavy Metals and Metalloids
Factsheet Phthalates
Factsheet Organotin Compounds
Factsheet Amines
Factsheet Chlorinated Solvents and VOC
Factsheet Chlorobenzenes   Discharge Data Reports Our Discharge Data Reports are supposed to make our status quo more transparent, show what kinds of chemicals have been found in the production facilities of our products and document the progress we make with regard to the elimination of hazardous chemicals. Discharge Data Report 2016
Discharge Data Report 2015 MRSL (Manufature Resticted Substance List) In line with our Detox commitment, we are continously updating our MRSL and the process of phasing out non-compliant substances from the textile production processes. The respective method for the MRSL update is described here. Our MRSL can be found here.

Closed Loop

The REWE Group supports responsible handling of resources and sustainable consumption. For us, that means keeping an eye on the complete life cycle of our textiles and supporting closed loop systems. A description of our closed loop approach and an overview on the realized and planned measures can be found here.


It is important for us that our customers know where our products are made. Thus, we decided to publish a list of production facilities, which you can find here. The list contains the main production facilities, in which REWE Group own-brand apparel, home textiles and shoes are produced. The list will be updated regularly.