The international wholesale company based in Düsseldorf was only narrowly beaten to the top spot in the DJSI World global benchmark ranking by the Thai food retail company CP ALL, as revealed in the results of this year’s sustainability ranking which were published at the close of the market in the USA on 13 September. As such, METRO has further bolstered its reputation as one of the most sustainable food retail companies in the world.
The renowned Dow Jones Sustainability Indices DJSI World, DJSI Europe and DJSI North America were introduced in 1999 as the world’s first sustainability benchmark indices. The index family jointly developed by S&P Dow Jones Indices and RobecoSAM accepts around 4,500 listed companies for the annual RobecoSAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA), based on their market capitalisation calculated using free float methodology. The best-in-class benchmark serves investors as an indicator of which listed companies perform the best in terms of the environment, social affairs and economics.
Now in its 20th year, RobecoSAM’s Corporate Sustainability Assessment, which serves as the basis for the DJSI benchmark ranking, recorded its highest number of sustainability assessments in 2019, with growth of 17%. In the category of Food & Staples Retailing alone, in which METRO AG was assessed, 15% more companies took RobecoSAM up on their invitation to have their sustainability assessed than in the previous year. This demonstrates the importance of the topic of sustainability within the economy, not least as a competitive factor.
In spite of the increase in the number of competitors and the introduction of new question categories, METRO succeeded in improving its score by 6 points. The benchmark index is broken down into the 3 overarching areas of economics, the environment and social affairs. In terms of economics, METRO made an impression in particular in the areas of customer relationship management, with its health and nutrition strategy and also in terms of data protection and cybersecurity, 2 issues which were addressed by the index for the first time in 2019. As regards the environment, the wholesale company scored full marks in the areas of climate strategy, packaging management and water risks in the supply chain. In the social dimension, as in previous years, METRO performed well among other things in the areas of talent attraction and retention.
The set of questions used for DJSI sustainability assessment is continually being adapted. Issues incorporated for the first time this year included questions regarding the proportion of sustainably certified products within the product range as a whole, for example regarding palm oil, soya, coffee and cocoa.
‘As a wholesale and food specialist, the responsible use of all resources is at the heart of what we do day in, day out. We promote ourselves to our current and future customers, business partners, investors and employees every day with our economic approach as well as with our strong environmental and social orientation,’ says Heiko Hutmacher, the member of the Management Board of METRO AG responsible for sustainability, commenting on the wholesale company’s recognition within the DJSI. ‘We are delighted that our work in the area of sustainability has been recognised by the benchmark index once again in 2019, as this confirms to us that we are not only working on success right now, but are also always committed to long-term sustainability goals.’
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 24 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 freelancers 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 sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the last four years. The company operates in 36 countries and employs more than 150,000 people worldwide. In financial year 2017/18, METRO generated sales of €36.5 billion. In September 2018 METRO AG initiated the divestment process for the food retail chain Real with its 34,000 employees.