Projects and measures

As a company with a sustainable outlook, we do not only aim to contribute to society through our core business, but also to meet our responsibility as a corporate citizen. We achieve this in all sales lines by supporting local projects, getting involved in corporate volunteering projects, helping people in need and contributing to disaster alleviation efforts.

International care & share initiative

Since 2008, METRO Cash & Carry has been organising its voluntary work and social engagement projects under the umbrella of the international Care & Share initiative. To begin with, many projects focused on food donations and working together with the Tafel food bank organisations. In 2014, our sales line revamped Care & Share with a view to coordinating the charity work undertaken in the individual countries and locations more effectively. In its new form, the initiative also includes further activities relating to environmental or social engagement. In this way, METRO Cash & Carry is reinforcing existing initiatives and putting its weight behind new ideas in all the countries in which the sales line is present. Three main criteria apply to all Care & Share projects: they must be voluntary, they should involve employees directly wherever possible and they should aim to give something back to society. This allows us to use our retailing expertise in a social context for a good cause.

Combating paper waste

Providing customers with information on products and offers is extremely important in the retail sector. This means that large numbers of printed brochures are still produced, using resources such as paper and water. The “Trees instead of leaflets” project implemented by MAKRO Cash & Carry Czech Republic and METRO Cash & Carry Slovakia aims to address this very issue. The aim of this Care & Share initiative, which was launched in 2009, is to reduce paper use within the company on a long-term basis and to make a contribution to protecting the environment – all with a relatively simple idea. For each customer who subscribes to the digital version of the advertising brochure – and therefore does without the printed version – the company makes a donation of approximately €1. This money is used by volunteers to plant trees in the region in conjunction with the Partnership Foundation and the Ekopolis Foundation. Customers can vote on the company’s website to determine the exact location of the trees. Since 2009, METRO Cash & Carry has collected over €50,000 with this campaign and planted some 880 trees and 150 bushes.

Protecting fish stocks

Fish is an important product group for METRO Cash & Carry. Every year, our sales line sells over 180,000 tonnes of fish and fish products. Because of this, it is essential for us to take a sustainable and responsible approach to fish stocks. The Care & Share initiative also includes projects for protecting and preserving specific types of fish. In the Czech Republic, MAKRO Cash & Carry is supporting efforts to reintroduce salmon into Czech rivers, having joined a national CR repopulation initiative in October 2013. Fishing, pollution and hydraulic engineering have altered the fish’s natural habitat to such an extent in recent decades that salmon had disappeared completely from Czech waters since the 1950s. In the course of a joint campaign, MAKRO Cash & Carry employees helped to release around 200 salmon fry in the Kamenice, a tributary of the River Elbe, in the Bohemian Switzerland National Park.

In Turkey, METRO Cash & Carry has been working with Turkish marine research institute TÜDAV for over two years on the sustainability project “Where are the Bonito?”. The aim of the initiative is to record the migration routes of this endangered species of tuna and to learn how to ensure sustainable fishing. To this end, some 2,500 microchipped fish were released on the coast of the Black Sea, in the Bosporus, in the Aegean Sea and in the Mediterranean in 2013. Every fisherman who returned the chip – together with information about where and when they caught the fish – received a free gift from METRO Cash & Carry. The first findings are now available and provide an insight into the bonitos’ migration routes. The information – focusing particularly on how stocks of this type of tuna are being affected by environmental pollution, climate change and overfishing – is to be presented to the public following the three-year project.

Active involvement in food banks

One of METRO GROUP’s most successful and longest-standing charity activities is its involvement in food bank initiatives both in Germany and elsewhere. For 19 years, we have been working together with the Düsseldorfer Tafel food bank and, for over ten years, we have also been backing the national food bank organisation Deutsche Tafel as its main financial sponsor and through food donations. In addition, our employees regularly help those in need at local food banks and in our stores as volunteers. At a European level, we coordinate our activities with the European Federation of Food Banks (FEBA), which we joined in 2013. Internationally, we also work with various local organisations to provide assistance where it is needed. We assume social responsibility by donating money and food for people in need. At the same time, this ensures that food products which are in perfect condition but can no longer be sold are put to good use.

METRO Cash & Carry supports this initiative in virtually all countries in which the company is active. In 2014, our sales line took the pioneering step of introducing the food bank project at all six wholesale stores in Shanghai. METRO Cash & Carry China now regularly donates food to the Shanghai Charity Foundation (SCF), which distributes it among people in need, such as the children of migrant workers or elderly people in nursing and retirement homes. Since the project began in September 2013, the pilot store in Putuo alone has donated food worth €45,000.

Hands-on sustainability

Our Real sales line is also actively involved in avoiding food waste. This was one of the many issues covered in the project “Handeln aus Verantwortung – Azubis zeigen wie!” (Acting responsibly – trainees show the way!). Implemented throughout Germany, this initiative for junior staff members aimed to illustrate aspects of sustainability and to raise awareness of this topic among customers and employees. To this end, retail assistants, BA students and trainees at a total of 31 Real hypermarkets carried out a wide range of sustainability campaigns. Among other things, this project involved holding special campaign days about reducing food waste. Real was presented with the “Ecocare” sustainability award in September 2013 for its efforts in this regard.

Voluntary work in the community

Our employees do not only demonstrate their awareness of social responsibility by taking part in campaigns and initiatives at our stores and company head offices. As well as this, they help local people as part of corporate volunteering projects. For instance, in April 2014, 13 trainee managers at Real renovated a crèche near Parchim in the German state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.

METRO Cash & Carry presented the “METRO Community Stars” award for the first time in its anniversary year, 2014. Independent businesspeople were invited to visit the award website and submit their own story about their social and environmental engagement. These stories were evaluated by readers, with winners chosen afterwards by a panel of judges in each country. With this award, METRO Cash & Carry pays tribute to exemplary entrepreneurs as well as motivating other businesspeople to tackle social or environmental issues. All in all, some 1,400 submissions were made in the 17 participating countries outlining entrepreneurs’ engagement activities. There was a great response to the unusual stories, with more than a million readers taking part in the online poll.

Local fund-raising and assistance

In addition to these voluntary activities and projects, we also help to alleviate crises and social emergencies by means of donations and immediate aid. For example, employees at our Real sales line have for years organised regular local events such as cake sales, raffles and barbecues to raise money for charities and social projects. The company acknowledges these efforts by doubling the money raised. In 2013, over €800,000 was generated at Real by events of this nature.

For more than six years, Galeria Kaufhof and Real have been joining forces with charities that work with children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. In all Real hypermarkets and in the German outlets and headquarters of Galeria Kaufhof, charity trees are set up every year in the run-up to Christmas – hanging from the branches are notes indicating the gift that each child would like. Customers take the notes from the tree, buy the articles in question and hand them in at a central collection point. Real and Galeria Kaufhof organise the initiative and step in if any gift requests are still left on the tree. In this way, our sales lines and customers help to make some 30,000 children’s wishes come true each year.

The charity tree idea was adapted by Galeria Kaufhof department stores in Frankfurt and Offenbach for two campaigns in the back-to-school period. With the slogan “Ein Teil mehr” (One more item), the Frankfurt store encouraged its customers to buy an extra item of school equipment to be donated to a child in need. These small gifts were distributed afterwards by the Frankfurter Tafel food bank organisation. At the Galeria Kaufhof department store in Offenbach, customers were invited to fulfil the wishes of children from the Theresien-Kinderheim children’s home who were starting school.

We also contribute to emergency and crisis aid to help alleviate the effects of disasters. In June 2014, for example, METRO GROUP donated €50,000 to feed the fire brigade and teams of helpers in Düsseldorf who were involved in cleaning up after the hurricane in North Rhine-Westphalia.

During the flood disaster in the Balkans in May 2014, METRO Cash & Carry in Serbia donated some €100,000 to the Red Cross and sent vans with food and drinking water to the affected areas.

METRO Cash & Carry also provided humanitarian assistance in August 2014 following the earthquake in south-west China. The wholesale store in Kunming Beichen provided more than 40,000 parcels of food and water and arranged for these to be delivered to the centre for disaster management.