In defining strategic objectives and designing concrete measures in the area of sustainability, we do not rely solely on our internal viewpoint and our own experiences. Rather, we attach importance to taking on board the opinions and expertise of different stakeholder groups and external experts. Regular exchange with them has high strategic priority for us, as it contributes to creating a better basis for decision-making and to developing possible solutions for social and business challenges. Stakeholder dialogue is also helpful for identifying and expressing needs. By taking part in economic and sociopolitical discourse and working with our stakeholder groups, we are in a position to identify their requirements concerning our activities, address relevant issues, and continuously check the goals we are pursuing. We can achieve many of our sustainability targets only in cooperation with partners from politics, science, society and industry. After all, the impact of our actions is greater if many stakeholders tackle social challenges jointly and systematically. As such, regular exchange with our stakeholder groups also serves to reinforce trust in our company, while at the same time increasing the chances of our activities succeeding.
The measures that we implement in the field of sustainability are evaluated among other things by our stakeholder groups in the form of ratings. These assessments are an important source of motivation for us and also serve as a management tool as they indicate the progress we have made as well as room for improvement in our activities.
Stakeholder groups and dialogue formats
Not only external stakeholders such as customers, suppliers and business partners, NGOs, political representatives, investors, competitors and committees, but also internal stakeholder groups such as employees and the management of METRO GROUP place various demands on our company at the local and international levels. To get to know their opinions and expectations and understand them better, we employ various dialogue activities and formats. These include, for instance, our committee work in the international industry organisation The Consumer Goods Forum, our diverse association activities and our involvement in the Retailers’ Environmental Action Programme (REAP), a joint platform of 21 large European retail companies and the European Commission. The aim of REAP is for experience of and information on exemplary projects to be shared not only with the Commission, but also among the retail companies.
Additionally, we foster dialogue with our stakeholder groups through our membership in various initiatives. Among other things, METRO GROUP has made a commitment to compliance with their guidelines. These initiatives include:
- UN Global Compact
- Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI)
- Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI)
- Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)
- Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
- International Labour Organization (ILO)
METRO GROUP is also committed to dialogue with stakeholders in its own event formats: together with the German Retail Federation (HDE) and the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA), METRO GROUP has organised the Berlin Wednesday Society of the Retail Industry four times a year since 2010. The goal is to bring people from politics, business and society together for them to exchange different viewpoints and learn from one another. Its equivalent at the European level is the Brussels Wednesday Society, which the company launched in cooperation with the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE) and the association European Movement International (EMI).
We also cultivate dialogue on sustainability-related issues by discussing and answering enquiries from NGOs, rating agencies and investors. In addition, in 2016 we conducted our first online survey on the assessment of sustainability-related issues with our stakeholders.