METRO GROUP’s carbon footprint

Why are climate change and climate protection important to METRO GROUP?

Climate change presents METRO GROUP with both risks and opportunities. Physical risks may affect our business directly or indirectly. For example, changes in the volume or frequency of precipitation may have an impact on the price and availability of agricultural products. Also, our store operations may be jeopardised by extreme weather such as torrential downpours with flooding or storms.

Regulatory risks may affect our business directly or indirectly. For example, the levies imposed by Germany’s Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) have an impact on our procurement of electricity.

One way in which we counter these risks is with procurement and supply chain management that creates the necessary structures to ensure the availability of goods at all times. Among other things, we are investing in technical measures to conserve energy, in energy management systems in accordance with ISO 50001, in switching to refrigerants which are less harmful to the environment and in programmes that will change the behaviour of every single employee.

However, we not only see risks in climate change, but also opportunities. Sustainability will continue to grow in importance on a global scale, and the expectations in this respect on the side of customers, employees, investors, politics and society will increase. Continuing to systematically implement our sustainability strategy will enhance the appeal of METRO GROUP and its sales lines and own brands for these stakeholder groups.

While achieving our climate protection target does indeed require investments, these will lead to savings in the medium to long term thanks to lower costs, in particular for energy, resulting in both financial and environmental benefits and improvements.

Through our participation in the CDP climate change survey since 2006, we have provided information to the public about our climate protection strategy, the risks and opportunities resulting from climate change and the ways in which we manage our emissions. Based on this, we were once again named Sector Leader, Consumer Staples, and Index Leader, MDAX, in 2016.

Carbon footprint and climate protection target

In 2015, the global community agreed in Paris to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius at most. Achieving this target will require a considerable reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions. METRO GROUP is playing its part here by reducing its specific greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent per square metre of selling space by 2030 compared to 2011.

This climate protection target relates to emissions that are central to our activities as a retail company and, most importantly, that we can influence directly. These are emissions from

  • the consumption of fuel oil, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, electricity, district heating and cooling, and paper,
  • refrigerant losses for commercial refrigeration and air-conditioning,
  • the fuel consumption of company cars and emergency power generators,
  • upstream chain emissions and network losses for all direct and indirect energy sources and
  • business travel.

METRO GROUP has been recording and publishing its greenhouse gas emissions since 2008, taking into account all the main greenhouse gas emissions that we cause directly and indirectly in the course of our business activities. This detailed documentation forms the basis for our goal of minimising our impact on the climate. The emissions that are actively managed with a view to achieving the climate protection target make up almost 40 per cent of the total emissions. Our carbon footprint reporting also covers the following additional emission sources:

  • Fuel consumption of the company’s fleet of trucks
  • All external logistics
  • Goods and services procured for our own use (not including paper, as this is included in the climate protection target)
  • Assets
  • Waste
  • Employee commuting
  • Leased assets

Methodology and reporting scope

Our reporting is based on the Corporate Standard and the Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. The emissions of all the sales lines, service companies and back offices are taken into account. With the aid of the group-wide Carbon Intelligence System introduced in 2011, we record consumption data for the aforementioned emission sources at virtually all stores, department stores, back offices and warehouses. Where the documentation of primary data is very cumbersome or impossible, we model these emission sources. For example, we derive the emissions of procured goods and services, assets and leased assets from the key performance indicators for METRO GROUP’s economic value added using an economic input-output model that draws on the economic flows of goods and services.

We report on the overall effect of all greenhouse gas emissions in the form of carbon equivalents in order to gauge the impact of other greenhouse gases in addition to carbon emissions.

Since 2011, our carbon footprint has been subject to a business audit by KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft.

Developments in greenhouse gas emissions

From October 2015 to September 2016, METRO GROUP was responsible for a total of 6.8 million tonnes of carbon equivalents (prior-year period: 7.5 million tonnes). We have therefore reduced our emissions by more than 2.8 million tonnes compared with the reference year 2011. The carbon footprint shows a breakdown of all the documented emissions by direct emissions (in accordance with Scope 1), indirect emissions (Scope 2) and other indirect emissions (Scope 3).

Carbon footprint

Greenhouse gas emissions in tonnes of carbon (carbon equivalents)


Reference year 2011




Scope 1 – direct greenhouse gas emissions





Scope 2 – indirect greenhouse gas emissions





Scope 3 – other indirect greenhouse gas emissions





Total greenhouse gas emissions





The emissions actively managed in relation to the climate protection target total 250 kilograms of carbon equivalents per square metre of selling space (prior-year period: 265 kilograms). Compared with the reference year 2011, we have therefore already reduced emissions by 24 per cent.

Status of the climate protection target

Greenhouse gas emissions in kilograms of carbon (carbon equivalents) per square metre of 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)

The significant decline in emissions compared with the reference year 2011 can essentially be attributed to three factors:

  • Measures to reduce emissions, in particular those with respect to energy consumption and refrigerant losses (drop of 15 per cent)
  • General technical and scientific developments as reflected by the adjustment of the emission factors used to calculate carbon equivalents (drop of just under 6 per cent)
  • Changes in the store portfolio due to the sale of old and purchase of new locations. In Eastern Europe and Asia, for instance, particularly emission-intensive locations were sold. On the other hand, locations in Germany and Western Europe with emissions per square metre of selling space below the group average were sold (drop of approximately 3 per cent).