As an international wholesaler, METRO has been committed to reducing food waste to a minimum for many years, both in its own business operations and through external cooperations. The avoidance of food waste is thus a central component of the company's sustainability strategy. METRO has made a global commitment to reduce food waste generated in its own operations by 50 percent by 2025. The central pillar for the implementation of this goal is the partnership with the food banks in the METRO countries. The German Tafel organisation celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. In addition, the wholesaler has been a new partner in the Futury innovation and sustainability network since August 2023 to explore new ways to optimise procurement.
"For METRO, trading in food is not only an economic asset, but also a social responsibility - the sustainable handling of food is a top priority for us. We have been actively working with food bank organisations for more than two decades. This helps us to avoid food waste and at the same time support people in need," says Ivonne Julitta Bollow, Senior Vice President Corporate Responsibility & Public Policy. "But we are also entering into new collaborations to bring about sustainable change through acting in partnership. Since August of this year, METRO has been a partner in Futury's 'The Mission Food' programme, where it is working specifically on how food loss and waste can be reduced at the very beginning of our value chain using artificial intelligence."
Tafeln Germany: 30 years of commitment against food waste
The food banks in Germany are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. With 970 food banks, over 2,000 distribution points and around 60,000 committed, 95 percent volunteer helpers, they make an important contribution to reducing food waste. METRO cooperates with the food banks in 19 countries and the national organisations work closely with the local food banks. "METRO Germany has been donating surplus food to the local food banks across the country for 27 years: in the financial year 2021/22, these donations corresponded to around 18.7 million meals. All METRO locations in Germany work closely with the respective local Tafel organisations", says Jeanette Hütten, Head of Corporate Communications and Sustainability at METRO Germany. The group also relies on cooperation at the international level and is a partner of the European Federation of Food Banks (Fédération Eu-ropéenne des Banques Alimentaires, FEBA). FEBA is the umbrella organisation of all European food banks and develops partnerships between companies and non-governmental organisations, supports them with training programmes and promotes the establishment of food banks where they are most needed.
In addition, METRO has also been cooperating internationally with TooGoodToGo since 2018 to combat food waste. The organisation cooperates with METRO wholesale stores in 3 countries. The app of the same name offers surplus food at reduced prices. Users can then pay directly via the app and pick up their food on site in the specified time window. In this way, surplus food is sold instead of being thrown away.
METRO new partner at Futury
Since August 2023, the wholesaler has also been a partner in "The Mission Food", which was developed by Futury GmbH. The international innovation and sustainability network brings start-ups together with experienced partners to jointly develop solutions and business models for a sustainable future.
One of METRO's focus areas and a central component of its sustainability strategy is the continuous optimisation of merchandise management so that it is even better geared to actual customer needs. As part of this network, METRO is working with the start-up Freshflow, which uses artificial intelligence to optimise the procurement processes for ultrafresh products. This innovative partnership shows how METRO is continuously looking for new solutions to effectively reduce food waste.
METRO is a leading international food wholesaler which specialises in serving the needs of hotels, restaurants, and caterers (HoReCa) as well as independent merchants (Traders). Around the world, METRO has approx. 17 million customers who benefit from the wholesale company’s unique multichannel mix: customers can purchase their goods in one of the large stores in their area as well as by delivery (Food Service Distribution, FSD) – all digitally supported and connected. In parallel, METRO MARKETS is being developed as an international online marketplace for the needs of professional customers which has been growing and expanding continuously since 2019. Acting sustainably is one of the company principles of METRO which has been listed in various sustainability indices and rankings, including MSCI, Sustainalytics and CDP. METRO operates in more than 30 countries and employs over 93,000 people worldwide. In financial year 2021/22, METRO generated sales of €29.8 billion. More information can be found at MPULSE.de, our online magazine.
Futury is a startup and innovation platform with a focus on sustainability, innovation and entrepreneurship. Futury inspires and connects young founders, early-stage startups and experienced companies to innovate together. From a strong network, Futury offers innovation and accelerator program to develop new solutions and ready-made business models for a more sustainable future. Since its founding in 2015, Futury has developed a strong network of companies, startups, research institutes, institutions, universities and initiatives and successfully brought sustainable solutions to market. In our sustainability initiative THE MISSION, which Futury launched together with Schwarz Group, Bain & Company, and Handelsblatt MediaGroup, concrete solutions for a more sustainable future are developed across four industries: Construction, Food, Packaging, and Cyber Security. At the heart of this is a three-month accelerator program in which startups and companies cooperate closely in the further development of solutions.