Field of action operations

METRO Cash & Carry handles limited resources such as fossil fuels and other raw materials responsibly in its own operations. This gives the company leeway for investments to come up with attractive solutions for its customers and for new business areas, and it also helps to counter the consequences of climate change.

In the field of action operations, METRO Cash & Carry focuses on four key topics. The company

  • optimises its resource consumption,
  • improves its energy efficiency and conserves energy,
  • lowers its greenhouse gas emissions and
  • reduces its waste.

Experience in handling these issues can also be factored into solutions for METRO Cash & Carry customers in the future, for example when offering advice to independent entrepreneurs regarding energy-efficient store fittings. Consequently, the customer can also save money and environmental impacts can be mitigated.

Targets in the field of action operations

  • METRO Cash & Carry aims to reduce its specific greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 compared to 2011. In this effort, the company is focusing on emissions which occur due to the use of energy, refrigerants and paper, and emissions relating to in-house logistics and business travel.
  • METRO Cash & Carry aims to halve the food waste in its own operations by 2025. This is the target to which METRO GROUP has committed itself as part of The Consumer Goods Forum’s Food Waste Resolution.

Thanks to various activities, the company has already succeeded in lowering its greenhouse gas emissions per square metre of selling space by 20 per cent in financial year 2015/16 compared to 2011. Individual measures from the METRO Cash & Carry countries are presented below as examples.

Energy efficiency and energy conservation

The issues of energy conservation and energy efficiency, and thus also of the optimisation of resource consumption in combination with the goal of reducing carbon emissions, are relevant to all METRO Cash & Carry countries alike. The national subsidiaries must meet specific requirements and implement corresponding measures contributing to achieving the overall target. Thanks to the work of the operation directors within METRO Cash & Carry’s Energy Federation, successes and lessons learned can be shared.

In the course of ongoing energy saving and energy awareness programmes, global investments totalling nearly €25 million were made in the reporting period. The measures are implemented by energy managers in various projects in the wholesale stores and are designed to contribute annual savings of more than €6 million.

In addition, METRO Cash & Carry is implementing further measures relating to store modernisations and new builds. We distinguish between three efficiency levels:

  • The energy-efficient wholesale store in which efficient technologies for the fittings and systems result in energy savings, specifically with regard to lighting and closed refrigerators
  • The green store, which requires approximately 50 per cent less energy than the energy-efficient store
  • The carbon-neutral wholesale store, with operations that do not cause any carbon emissions

Examples: store modernisations and new builds

MCC wholesale store Dongguan (Grafik)

In September 2016, METRO Cash & Carry China reopened a wholesale store as a METRO green store in Dongguan following comprehensive modernisation. The aim of the modernisation work is to halve the store’s annual energy consumption. A large proportion of the energy for the wholesale store is generated by solar arrays and small wind turbines with a peak output of 800 kilowatts. Other measures such as heat recovery from refrigeration systems, the use of natural light via so-called solar tubes, the installation of automatic sliding doors, optimised ventilation and the carefully planned utilisation of rainwater improve energy efficiency and contribute to the conservation of valuable resources. In addition, a CO2 cascade system was installed at the Dongguan store to make refrigeration more efficient and more eco-friendly: by using refrigerants with lower global warming potential, the wholesale store is lowering its emissions of carbon equivalents (CO2e) caused by the discharge of refrigerants, while at the same time using less electricity for the refrigeration process.

The Casa dell’Horeca METRO Cash & Carry wholesale store in Baranzate, Italy, is a model of integrated energy management. Here, solar panels are used for the generation of electricity and hot water, the wholesale store’s green wooden façade helps to increase biodiversity and the sales reps drive electric cars.

There are also examples of decentralised energy generation at stores in the reporting period: in addition to an existing system, METRO Cash & Carry installed another eight photovoltaic systems in China for emission-free electricity generation, as well as a second photovoltaic system in Turkey. Together with E.ON, the company commissioned a natural gas-fired combined heat and power plant with output of 2 × 400 kilowatts for the generation of electricity and hot water in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, in September 2016. Another identical system is currently being built in Ivanovo, Russia.

Lowering greenhouse gas emissions by means of electromobility

The METRO Cash & Carry countries implement various measures with a view to reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions and additionally offering customers suitable solutions. For instance, METRO Cash & Carry France is exploring new avenues with a project designed to conserve resources and reduce carbon emissions: a pilot project in the area of electromobility has been under way since December 2015, and the company now uses eleven electric cars in its customer service department. Electrically powered delivery vehicles with refrigeration systems are also to be used from the end of 2016. The initial results of the pilot project show that METRO Cash & Carry France is saving 9.6 tonnes of carbon per annum by using electric vehicles. On the basis of the results of the pilot project, additional regions are to be included in the next step.

In Ukraine, METRO Cash & Carry provides electric car charging points for customer cars in partnership with the company Toka. Since the first facility was installed in Kiev in 2015, a further seven charging points have been set up.

Waste reduction

In order to achieve its goal of reducing food waste, METRO Cash & Carry pursues an integrated approach. The company works with partners all along the value chain, from the field and logistics to store processes and the consumer. The company aims to reduce food waste in its own operations by 50 per cent by 2025.

In its own operations

A measure taken by METRO International Supply demonstrates that food waste can be reduced by means of carefully planned processes and smart data use. The service company operates a network of regional warehouses in Italy and the Netherlands. By analysing write-off data, the company was able to determine its percentage of food waste and the associated disposal costs, and then identify potential ways in which to avoid both the waste and the costs. Non-saleable goods are now no longer destroyed, and are instead donated to local food banks in good time. In this way, METRO International Supply was able to reduce its disposal costs by 64 per cent and its food waste by nearly 90 per cent within one financial year.

To reduce food waste in its wholesale stores, METRO Cash & Carry carries out best-before date monitoring. The aim is to take best-before dates into account when stocking shelves and to make products available before they reach their best-before date. An example of this is the approach taken by METRO Cash & Carry Romania. In its incoming goods department, the company uses a system with which it can simulate and analyse merchandise orders, plan them more precisely and manage them more in line with demand. This process was also optimised because stock that is not entirely sold ends up being marked down. At outgoing goods, a price reduction system allows staff members to quickly and easily reduce the prices of products whose best-before date is approaching.

Solutions for the customer

METRO Cash & Carry also talks to its commercial customers specifically about this issue to achieve a reduction in food waste. The consumers are likewise taken into account in this effort. For example, together with various project partners, the company developed special boxes for restaurants and caterers in Italy, France and Germany, for uneaten food to be taken home in.

For example, METRO Cash & Carry France supports the Gourmet Bag initiative of the food authority DRAAF Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. A special label identifies participating restaurants and encourages guests to specifically ask for doggy bags. METRO Cash & Carry France has developed a comprehensive package for newcomers to the programme. In addition to background information and tips on how to avoid waste, it contains Gourmet Bag door stickers and reusable doggy bags.

In Italy, METRO Cash & Carry launched a similar project called Schiscetta Reverse during EXPO 2015 together with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food Bank Organisation. Schiscetta is the Milanese term for a container that people use to take food from home to work. The project of the same name uses the reverse process by encouraging consumers to have dishes they have not finished at restaurants wrapped up to take home.

In 2016, METRO Cash & Carry conducted a representative survey on food waste in Germany. The key finding of the study was that not wasting food is very important or important to 98 per cent of restaurateurs in Germany. Nearly two thirds of restaurateurs already offer their guests the option of taking their leftovers home. METRO Cash & Carry stays abreast of these changes and purposefully helps its customers to reduce food waste – not only with its leftovers box “Beste-Reste-Box”, which has been available in its wholesale stores since 2016. As an official partner of the United Against Waste association, the company also offers seminars that teach ideas about and approaches to the reduction of food waste. In addition, restaurants and canteens can employ a waste analysis tool to find out where in their organisation they can improve the utilisation of resources.

METRO Cash & Carry aims to sensitise its customers to responsible and sustainable consumption not only by disseminating specific information and with campaigns. The company also supports its customers with specific activities, including in the area of waste disposal. For example, customers in Paris can return plastic bottles and tins at their wholesale store using their METRO customer card. In the course of this project, which includes not only customers, but also producers and disposers, METRO Cash & Carry France accepted approximately 16,000 tins and 13,000 plastic bottles in financial year 2015/16.

In Ukraine, METRO Cash & Carry initiated a recycling project together with Carlsberg in October 2015: the wholesaler set up a return station in its car park where customers could return beer bottles. By August 2016, a total of 92,000 bottles had been collected for reuse and 384,000 bottles were sent for recycling.