The international wholesale and food specialist METRO AG has been a partner of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) since 2016. METRO not only organises donation drives in countries including Germany, Italy, Pakistan and Ukraine, but METRO AG as well as METRONOM and METRO SYSTEMS Romania – METRO AG’s tech units – support WFP’s mission in volunteer consultation projects. Now the partnership with WFP has been extended and a new donation scheme was launched at the METRO headquarters. METRO works with WFP to fight global hunger, because there are still more than 820 million people worldwide without enough to eat. In conjunction with such organisations as for example food banks in 21 countries, Too Good To Go and SIRPLUS, METRO also works to fight food waste. Both of these objectives support the 2nd Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of the United Nations: Creating a world without hunger by 2030.
The global partnership between WFP and METRO that began in 2016 and which has now been extended by three years is rooted in a local partnership that began in 2012 between WFP Italia, a non-profit organisation in Italy that supports the World Food Programme, and METRO Italy. The partnership between METRO and WFP rests on three pillars:
- Giving customers opportunities to make donations to WFP
- Involving employees in donation drives
- Sharing expertise to build capacity
METRO’s country organisations are responsible for determining the precise form of the collaboration. METRO Italy, for example, focuses on promotional days on which customers can donate directly to WFP simply by purchasing selected products. METRO Pakistan, on the other hand, offers its employees the opportunity to round off their salaries and donate the differential amount monthly to WFP. Together with METRO AG's tech units, a Corporate Volunteering Programme has already been launched in which METRONOM and METRO SYSTEMS Romania employees support WFP employees with their expertise. In 2017, the tech units began developing a prototype for a digital point-of-sale solution for WFP. With further development, the solution can help WFP improve its service to communities in need and support small partner stores to run their business. In these stores, people who do not have access to supermarkets due to their life situation, e.g. refugees in camps, can receive food supplies.
The Corporate Volunteering Program is to be further expanded over the next three years, offering even more employees the opportunity to support the WFP with expert knowledge on the way to a world without hunger.
‘We have been able to do a lot of good over the past three years through our partnership with WFP, and we are delighted that we can continue our collaboration. For us, this partnership is an excellent example of just how much can be achieved when people work together; and it demonstrates how important it is for more prosperous societies to take responsibility for helping those who must deal with serious challenges on a daily basis,’ says Philippe Palazzi, Chief Operating Officer of METRO AG and Member of the Management Board responsible for sustainability.
‘The partnership between WFP and METRO has shown us how business and UN agencies can team up to pursue vital global goals," said Tim Hunter, Director of Private Partnerships at WFP. ‘With its global market reach and deep retail insights, METRO can help us work toward achieving a world with zero hunger. We are excited to renew our partnership with METRO.’
Employees at the METRO Campus in Düsseldorf can also support WFP’s School Feeding Programme: three words are all it takes. When employees reach the till to pay for their lunch meals in the company restaurants, all they have to say is ‘Share my meal’ to ensure that a €0.25 donation is made to WFP – enough to provide a schoolchild in a vulnerable community with a healthy lunch.
As simple as this may sound, it has far-reaching positive effects for children, families and entire communities. In developing countries, free and healthy school meals are powerful incentives for parents to send their children to school on a regular basis. And because school meals are often sourced from local farmers, they can improve the economic condition of the wider community. This means that WFP’s School Feeding Programme supports several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The donation scheme for METRO’s company restaurants was developed in a joint workshop that METRO conducted with CEMS students. CEMS is a global alliance of academic and commercial institutes dedicated to training and preparing future generations of international business leaders. METRO and CEMS have been partners for many years. The donation buttons have been active since 4 September 2019.
With its WFP partnership, METRO is working to support SDG 2, focused on creating a world without hunger by 2030. Yet METRO is also approaching this problem from another angle by taking strong action to combat food loss and waste – because food waste represents a global paradox: even today, over 820 million people are going hungry, while the latest figures show that Germany alone is responsible for 12 million tonnes of food waste every year. Worldwide, more than 1.3 billion tonnes of edible food end up in the trash. In 2015, METRO adopted the ‘Resolution on Food Waste’ of the Consumer Goods Forum with the goal of halving food waste in its own operations by 2025. To this end, METRO is focusing on an efficient ordering and stocking system and on various partnerships along the entire value chain to tackle food loss and waste. The wholesale expert is cooperating with food banks in 21 countries. In many regions of Germany, its partnerships with local food banks were established over 20 years ago. METRO announced the extension of its partnership with the Tafel Deutschland food bank organisation only in October. In addition, the food specialist partners with innovative organisations like SIRPLUS, Too Good To Go, Whole Surplus and KITRO, to name just a few examples.
METRO is a leading international wholesale company with food and non-food assortments that specialises on serving the needs of hotels, restaurants and caterers (HoReCa) as well as independent traders. Around the world, METRO has some 16 million customers who can choose whether to shop in one of the large-format stores, order online and collect their purchases at the store or have them delivered. METRO in addition also supports the competitiveness of entrepreneurs and own businesses with digital solutions and thereby contributes to cultural diversity in retail and hospitality. Sustainability is a key pillar of METRO’s business. METRO has been the European sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. The company operates in 34 countries and employs more than 100,000 people worldwide. In financial year 2018/19, METRO generated sales of €27.1 billion. In October 2019, METRO AG signed an agreement to sell a majority stake in METRO China.