According to this target, the company intends to reduce water consumption in its own business operations by 10% per square meter of net operating space by 2030 compared to the base year 2021, thus making an active contribution to the global community's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 "Produce and consume sustainably". At the same time, the aim is also to reduce the company's own operating costs. The new target replaces the previous goal of a 5% reduction in water consumption by 2025 compared to fiscal year 2016/17, which METRO has already significantly exceeded in the current fiscal year 2021/22 with a reduction of 19%.
The objective is part of METRO's strategy for the protection of the resource water (METRO Water Policy and METRO Water Action Plan), which bundles measures and initiatives for water reduction within the supply chain as well as in the company's own business operations. At the same time, it contributes to METRO's global climate protection strategy, which is based on energy efficiency, resource conservation and waste avoidance and thus aims to promote a low-CO2 food industry in order to secure the basis of its own business in the long term.
According to internal evaluations, the savings potential lies primarily in efficiency measures such as passive water-saving systems for faucets and toilet flushes, the use of rainwater and water recycling, the repair of leaks and damage to water pipes, and the sensitization of the workforce in dealing with water as a resource. These measures are to be pursued consistently. Since major levers for reducing water consumption also lie in the supply chain, METRO also uses the "CDP Supply Chain Program" to identify and address potential opportunities and risks at its own suppliers at an early stage.
Ivonne Bollow, SVP Public Policy & Corporate Responsibility METRO AG: "Water scarcity is one of the biggest global challenges today. Global water demand is continuously increasing, while available water resources are steadily declining due to climate change – with drastic consequences for the world's food supply and nutrition. Last summer gave us a foretaste of the urgency of this issue. Responsible management of water resources is therefore closely linked to a holistic climate protection strategy, as the recent UN Climate Week and the upcoming World Food Day once again make clear. As a globally active food wholesaler, water and climate protection are therefore a high priority for METRO and we have set ourselves ambitious goals that we will consistently pursue."
METRO has defined a group-wide climate protection target in 2021, according to which the company wants to be completely climate-neutral in its own business operations by 2040 and is spending a total of more than €1 billion on corresponding investments for this purpose. Among other things, METRO is planning extensive measures to increase energy efficiency, phase out fossil fuels, expand renewable energies and switch to natural refrigerants in cooling. As a result, METRO has already been able to reduce its energy consumption by 39% worldwide, calculated per square meter of net operating space, compared to the baseline year 2011, which is decisive for its carbon footprint (as of September 2021, cf. Climate Action - METRO Corporate Responsibility Progress Report 2020/21).
METRO has also extended its climate target to the supply chain and is the first German wholesale company to set a recognized science-based target. METRO is committed to reducing Scope 1 and Scope 2 CO2 emissions by 60% per square meter of sales and delivery area by 2030 compared to 2011. These targets are in line with the savings needed to keep global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 compared to pre-industrial levels. METRO is also committed to reducing absolute Scope 3 CO2 emissions from its upstream supply chain by 15% by 2030 compared to 2018. Since 2020, the company has therefore been using the CDP Supply Chain Program since 2020 to measure CO2 emissions along its own supply chain and work with suppliers to identify opportunities to reduce Scope 3 emissions.
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 some 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 for many years, including FTSE4Good, MSCI, CDP and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. METRO operates in more than 30 countries and employs over 95,000 people worldwide. In financial year 2020/21, METRO generated sales of €24.8 billion. More information can be found at MPULSE.de, our online magazine.