2016 materiality analysis

To recognise issues that might constitute opportunities or risks for our business early on, to prioritise our spheres of action and to focus our activities accordingly, we performed a materiality analysis including an extensive stakeholder survey for the first time in 2016.

The central topics for METRO GROUP were selected in a process that consisted of several steps. The first step was the generation of a comprehensive list of issues that are relevant to our company or our stakeholder groups. Key sources for this included:

  • The guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
  • The requirements of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and of oekom research
  • Market research studies
  • The Sustainable Development Goals
  • Existing strategies, commitments and policies of METRO GROUP and its sales lines
  • Competitors’ materiality analyses

In the second step, the more than 200 topics were summarised in a list of 46 issues, making sure that each aspect from the complete list appeared in the content of the condensed list. In the third step, the issues on the shortlist were then assessed in three respects: firstly, an internal analysis was performed to see how frequently the topics were mentioned in the internally and externally available documents of relevant organisations, initiatives and stakeholders. Additionally, between 4 May and 31 August 2016, we conducted an online survey of stakeholders on the METRO GROUP website. More than 370 stakeholders participated in this survey and identified and ranked the issues that were relevant to them. Ten senior managers from various METRO GROUP divisions and sales lines were also surveyed for an in-house ranking of issues. The interview partners included managers from the Strategy, Purchasing, Communication, Compliance, Target Group Management, Finance, Human Resources, Corporate Public Policy, Business Innovation and Investor Relations divisions.

Lastly, the results of the assessments and surveys were compiled in a materiality matrix that classifies all the sustainability issues. This matrix combines and prioritises all three steps. Issues are considered to be material if they have a positive or negative effect on the business success of METRO GROUP – for instance an impact on sales, investments, costs or the reputation of our company – and/or if they are of importance to our stakeholders (for example regarding purchasing or investment decisions).

Materiality matrix (Grafik)Materiality matrix (Grafik)

Issues that were considered to be of top priority were compliance with human rights and fair working conditions in the value chain, traceability and product information, training and employment, sustainable product ranges, optimisation of product packaging, social responsibility at the local level, overfishing of and species diversity in the oceans, compliance with anti-corruption legislation and the combating of corruption, and economic sustainability. These issues can be allocated to the areas of responsibility and the sustainability approach of METRO GROUP as follows:

Area of responsibility

Material issues

Commitment to the employees

  • Human rights/working conditions in the value chain
  • Training and employment

Sustainable procurement and assortment

  • Human rights/working conditions in the value chain
  • Traceability and product information
  • Optimisation of product packaging
  • Overfishing of and species diversity in the oceans

Sustainable consumption

  • Sustainable product ranges
  • Optimisation of product packaging

Social engagement

  • Social responsibility at the local level

Sustainability approach and responsible corporate governance

  • Compliance with anti-corruption legislation and the combating of corruption
  • Economic sustainability

The materiality analysis did not yield any issues that were highly relevant to our sustainable operations area of responsibility. One reason for this might be that, just like high product quality, measures in this area are now considered a given by external stakeholder groups. However, since we consider these issues to be important, we have decided to continue to report on our goals, measures and progress with respect to the protection of resources and the climate.

This is also how we will proceed with other issues and aspects which have been identified as less material in the materiality analysis, but which we consider to be worth reporting on because of our sustainability approach, the updating of goals or individual interests.

METRO GROUP will continue to conduct stakeholder surveys as the basis of the materiality analysis. We will also continue the exchange with our stakeholder groups at the level of the sales lines and are available for dialogue via the options provided on our website and via our e-mail address CR@metro.de.