Sustainable operations

To make sure we conduct our core business successfully and satisfy the needs of our customers, we need energy and natural resources today as well as tomorrow – so that we can transport and store products properly, and refrigerate fresh produce and also maintain our stores and back offices. By taking a responsible approach to our use of resources, we can directly influence the cost of our business activities, anticipate environmental regulations and make a contribution to the protection of the climate and resources.

The extent of global climate change is already noticeable today. It includes weather extremes like droughts, floods and storms, rising sea levels and mounting economic effects such as reduced harvests. Many of the current social tensions and conflicts are also associated with the consequences of climate change.

METRO GROUP’s climate protection target

We aim to cut the climate-relevant emissions resulting from our commercial operations. METRO GROUP has set its sights on reducing its specific greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent per square metre of selling space by 2030 compared to 2011. As early as in 2011, METRO GROUP set itself the goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. As an almost 20 per cent reduction had already been achieved by 2015 thanks to energy-saving and awareness-raising measures, a new, even more ambitious target was set. To reach our climate protection target, we have resolved to

  • consume 35 per cent less electricity compared to the reference year 2011,
  • reduce climate-damaging refrigerant emissions by 95 per cent by 2030 compared to the reference year 2011 by using natural refrigerants,
  • generate significant amounts of emission-free renewable energy ourselves, for instance by using photovoltaic systems in wholesale and department stores, and
  • introduce certified energy management systems according to ISO 50001 or energy audits according to EN 16247 at all locations in the EU.

Status of the climate protection target

From October 2015 to September 2016, METRO GROUP generated 250 kilograms of carbon equivalents per square metre of selling space. In the same period of the previous year, it was still 265 kilograms. We aim to have reduced this to 165 kilograms per square metre of selling space by 2030.

Greenhouse gas emissions in kg CO2 (CO2 equivalents) per m2 selling space


Status of climate protection target – METRO GROUP (Grafik)Status of climate protection target – METRO GROUP (Grafik)


Status of climate protection target – Germany (Grafik)Status of climate protection target – Germany (Grafik)

Western Europe
(excl. Germany)

Status of climate protection target – Western Europe (Grafik)Status of climate protection target – Western Europe (Grafik)

 Eastern Europe

Status of climate protection target – Eastern Europe (Grafik)Status of climate protection target – Eastern Europe (Grafik)


Status of climate protection target – Asia/Africa (Grafik)Status of climate protection target – Asia/Africa (Grafik)



Status – goal achievement


Status – measures


METRO GROUP is reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent, from 330 kg CO2e/m2 in 2011 to 165 kg CO2e/m2 in 2030.

Work in progress

Energy Saving Programme: investments to increase energy efficiency and renewable energies.
Energy Awareness Programme: strenghten awareness of responsible use of energy.
F-Gas Exit Programme: investments in the reduction of emissions from refrigeration systems.

Measure ongoing

More in-depth information on METRO GROUP’s carbon footprint is available in chapter Key performance indicators and goals.

Investments in energy efficiency and energy generation

To boost the energy efficiency of our stores, we use energy and make investments responsibly. We employ specific measures to reduce both our energy needs and our costs, while also raising energy awareness.

In financial year 2015/16, among other things we invested €24.3 million in METRO Cash & Carry’s energy saving programme, in particular to install LED and other efficient lighting systems and also closed refrigeration equipment in the wholesale stores. This is expected to save more than €6 million annually. Additionally, we commissioned a combined heat and power plant with a power output of 2 × 400 kilowatts in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

In September 2016, we were able to open the METRO green store in Dongguan, China, after major modernisation work on an existing wholesale store. The renovation of the wholesale store is to help cut its energy consumption in half. A large proportion of the energy for the green store is generated by solar arrays and small wind turbines with a peak output of 800 kilowatts. Additional steps were taken, including the use of more environmentally friendly refrigerants and advanced waste separation.

In September 2016, the METRO GROUP energy efficiency network “Handel im Wandel” (Retail in Transition) was recognised by the German federal government with a certificate for its active involvement and its pioneering role in climate and resource protection at the annual meeting of the Energy Efficiency Networks Initiative in Berlin.

Responsible resource management

As part of our corporate and climate protection strategy, we also pay attention to responsible resource management, for instance with respect to our logistics fleet, refrigerants and paper, and sustainable building management. This is based on the METRO GROUP environmental guidelines. With these, we have made a commitment to taking a responsible approach to the environment and to natural resources.

  • Wherever technically feasible, we switch to natural refrigerants for our stores’ cooling systems, as these are considerably less harmful to the climate.
  • Some of our buildings are certified according to standards for sustainable construction and building management. The green store in Dongguan, for instance, operates on the basis of the LEED Gold standard. A building at the company headquarters in Düsseldorf is BREEAM-certified.
  • At the company headquarters in Düsseldorf and at other locations, we use mainly recycled paper as office stationery.
  • We are systematically switching the logistics fleet of METRO LOGISTICS Germany GmbH (MGL) to lower-emission vehicles. By the end of financial year 2014/15, more than half the vehicles already met the Euro 6 standard. The remaining vehicles are scheduled to be replaced over the course of the next two financial years.

Environmentally friendly packaging

Other key issues concerning our sustainable operations are waste avoidance and the recycling and reuse of resources.

METRO GROUP pursues the goal of, on the one hand, reducing the environmental impact of the packaging of its own-brand products during the entire life cycle and, on the other, meeting the high quality and hygiene standards our customers expect. To this end, packaging guidelines were adopted in 2013, which are applicable to all the own-brand product packaging that METRO GROUP buys.

From September 2014 to 2018, we will check and – inasmuch as is possible – reduce the environmental impact of the packaging of 10,000 of our own-brand products.

Avoiding food waste and loss

Reducing food loss is of particular importance to our METRO Cash & Carry and Real sales lines. Every food item that is not consumed but rejected or discarded constitutes economic, social and ecological waste. For this reason, METRO GROUP has committed itself to a 50 per cent reduction in food loss at its stores by 2025 in accordance with The Consumer Goods Forum’s resolution on food waste.

An overview of all the key figures relating to the sustainable operations area of responsibility is available in chapter Key performance indicators.