METRO incorporates tradition and modernity, expertise and ideas into innovations and alliances for sustainable food production. It is only through the interaction and collaboration of producers, suppliers, retailers and customers that we can find answers to today’s and tomorrow's questions and challenges. As champion for independent business we want to share this knowledge because the success of our customers is our business. Read more on our quarterly progress under Commitments.

METRO is dedicated to offer its customers a sustainable assortment to meet our customers’ expectations and helping them to differentiate with a range of organic, regional, responsible products.

We systematically define the requirements for sustainable supply chain and procurement management. We develop and implement guidelines. By doing so, we act with the future in mind, strengthen our procurement channels and ensure that our product range becomes more and more sustainable.

At METRO, we aim to deliver sustainable food solutions with superior added economic value for independent businesses. We embrace our environmental and social responsibility in order to ensure the long-term viability of METRO. When it comes to sustainable wholesale and food sourcing, METRO follows a clear vision: "We will become sustainable in everything we do."

In the following you will find our policies and positions regarding sustainable raw material sourcing of METRO.

METRO has drawn up a purchasing policy focusing on its own brands. The aim is to source products sustainably, in terms of economic, environmental and social impacts.

METRO has drawn up a purchasing policy focusing on its own brands. The aim is to source products sustainably, in terms of economic, environmental and social impacts.

METRO is known for its exceptional competence in fresh food ranges. Our customers expect us to ensure a high standard of animal health and animal welfare conditions in our supply chain. And at the same time, they expect transparency with regards to products of animal origin. By means of our Animal Health & Welfare Procurement Policy we act to meet those customer demands.
Animal welfare is an important issue for conscious consumers, an increasing number of people is interested in how livestock is raised and want to be assured that animals are handled with due care. This also includes farming conditions and welfare aspects of laying hens. With our Cage Free Egg Procurement Policy, we want to support improved animal husbandry for laying hens.

METRO’s customers have come to expect certain standards of us. In order to satisfy these expectations, we committed to a sustainable fish- and seafood policy in 2012 with an update in 2020 and since then strive to increase the share of fish and seafood from certified sources. With this METRO promotes high standards in seafood as well as the long-term protection of fish stocks, offering our customers products sourced responsibly. With its update in 2020 METRO also provides a newly established METRO Fish and Seafood Action Plan for initiatives on sustainable fish and seafood. The Action Plan puts the policy into implementation with actions.

METRO is providing its customers with meat products that comply with the highest quality and safety standards and that have been produced socially and environmentally well. We are aware of the various sustainability topics around meat and we are committed to continue to work in our supply chains on more sustainable meat. That is why we introduced the METRO Meat Procurement Policy, to create a more sustainable meat offer, starting with our own brand meat products. We will bring together topics regarding meat and sustainability, and we explain our activities and commitments around these topics.

With regards to sustainable palm oil our METRO Palm Oil Procurement Policy aims at 100% sustainable palm oil on RSPO level Segregated or Identity Preserved until 2023 in METRO’s own brand products.

Our METRO paper and wood procurement policy has the target to ensure that all own-brand products made from wood or wood fibre in accordance with the scope originate from legal and responsibly managed forests.

Soy as a product, a product ingredient or a component of animal feed is an important commodity for us, with our Soy Procurement Policy we ensure sustainable soy sourcing and work together with our supply chain on challenges like deforestation and social issues.

Genetically Modified Organisms

In the last years, the topic of genetically modified organisms (GMO) has become increasingly important as the food assortment impacted by GMO has been enlarged tremendously. On a world scale, consumers as well as experts assess the use of modern biotechnology in food items in completely different ways. METRO knows these differences and respects the particular perspectives of the different countries and their consumers. We have defined in our METRO Policy on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), a set of objectives related to GMO that we follow as a company, and on which we will report from 2022 onwards.

Biodiversity

The diversity of species and their habitats is worth preserving, especially as animals and plants provide certain services that are essential for the production of food. For this reason, METRO supports the goals of the International Convention on Biological Diversity and contributes to the protection of biodiversity.

European Supply Chain Initiative

METRO is a member of the European Supply Chain Initiative. The aim is to promote fair business practices along the supply chain and to implement best practices.

Fisheries and aquaculture play a significant role in feeding our planet. Never before have responsible and sustainable fishing been so important for ensuring the well-being of people and the environment. Increasing demand for protein is putting pressure on fish stocks, while aquaculture, if poorly managed, can have a negative impact on the environment.

As one of Europe’s leading fish wholesalers, METRO takes responsibility at various stages of the value chain and acts in various ways:

  • METRO seeks to expand the sustainability of its assortment of wild caught and aquaculture fish & seafood by requiring certification of products and establishing strong partnerships. METRO wants to contribute to further improving the conditions within its fish & seafood value chain and aims to provide more transparency within the own fish & seafood supply chain. Customers recognise this by the labels of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), GlobalG.A.P. and/or Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP).
  • METRO fosters direct contact with small-scale fishermen and supports them in applying sustainable fishing practices. Our International Trading Office in Concarneau, a seaport town in Brittany, which is also responsible for purchasing fresh fish directly, cooperates closely with fishermen on small fishing boats (‘petits bateaux’). Petits bateaux must not be more than 24 metres long and are often used by small family-run fishing operations. The team at the Concarneau Trading Office (CTO) selects the best local fish early each morning at 15 fish auctions. The most important buying criterion besides excellent quality is whether the fishing method is sustainable: the fish has to have been caught from small fishing boats.
  • METRO is an active partner of the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) and is committed to the Global Benchmark Tool based on the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) as well as to the development of further initiatives, driving forward to more sustainable seafood.
  • METRO is one of the founders of the Global Tuna Alliance (GTA) and active partner from the beginning. GTA is an independent group of retailers and supply-chain companies, working to ensure that tuna ultimately meets the highest standards of environmental performance and social responsibility.
  • The Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST) was launched as a seafood industry forum dedicated to drafting the first global standard for seafood traceability, which was launched in March 2020. METRO is one of the initiators and supported the community approach for seafood traceability from the beginning on. The GDST includes the active participation of different seafood industry stakeholders along the entire supply chain.

One of the drivers of climate change is deforestation – the loss of natural forest and vegetation as a result of conversion to agricultural or other non-forest land use for instance. Additionally, deforestation is often linked to other ecological and social issues like biodiversity loss and a breach of social standards of local people, if the original inhabitants of the forests are forced to leave their homes.

Deforestation is an important topic for the food sector as it is mainly driven by the production of soy, palm oil, meat as well as paper and wood. METRO Wholesale trades products that are made of or contain these commodities. As a wholesaler and as a part of the supply chain of products we source, we want to transform the way how these critical commodities are sourced, and we want to take action to end deforestation. This also contributes to the sustainability of our customers’ business as we enable our customers to make more sustainable choices when they buy with us.

We acknowledge the global frameworks of the Sustainable Development Goals and the United Nations Global Compact, and our approach towards deforestation-free supply chains builds on collaboration in the spirit of Sustainable Development Goal 17. We have set commitments individually in dedicated sourcing policies on soy, palm oil, paper & wood and on meat, but we believe that because of the complexity and interdependency of supply chains, only common, collaborative initiatives can lead to sustainable effects and that only then our lever is equally effective. This is why we collaborate with other actors along the supply chains of commodities like soy, palm oil, meat, paper and wood, as well as with other wholesalers and retailers, and representatives of governments and NGOs.

Important elements of our collaborative initiatives are our memberships, actions and commitments around zero deforestation within the Consumer Goods Forum and its Coalition of Action, the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) of the World Economic Forum, the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) and the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) as well as our Statement of Support for the Cerrado Manifesto and certification systems such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC ©) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). By means of these networks, best practices can be shared, and greater transparency of supply chains is supported by introducing new technologies supporting this. Another factor is the backing of a wider spread of good practices via benchmarks, for instance by aligning the requirements of several third-party certification standards.

A learning from our ongoing activities and the experiences of the Consumer Goods Forum is, that action is needed on different levels within supply chains and with various actions at the same time: working with farmers, producers, traders and manufacturers to enable them to meet the requirements are important steps to reach deforestation free supply chains, and so are certification schemes. But we also need to constantly look at the specific area where those actors operate and at the environmental, social, economic and governmental circumstances of that area, otherwise actions will not bring the wished for long-term success.

In order to check if what we do is meeting the expectations of the market we openly disclose our activities, for example in the CDP Forest questionnaire and within the Consumer Goods Forum Forest Positive Coalition, in addition we learn from the assessment of independent third parties.

What we do regarding the most relevant commodities:

Soy

Following our Metro Soy Sourcing Policy (2019), we work on zero deforestation within our supply chains by 2025 latest. For this, we engage with our suppliers, focusing on own brand (private label) suppliers. We define with them the level of certified zero deforestation soy in their supply chains (both direct soy as ingredient in products and indirect soy as part of animal feed) and work on ways to raise the level of certified zero deforestation soy.

As part of our Sustainable Soy Procurement Policy, METRO has also joined forces with other companies in The Consumer Goods Forum Forest Positive Coalition of Action - Soy Working Group and is currently leading this group. The Soy Working Group produced a Roadmap with tangible actions to reach zero deforestation. For this, we engage with our suppliers and the soy traders, directly, but also in collaboration with NGO’s. For an update on the work of the Soy Working Group, we refer to the Consumer Goods Forum website.

Together with several other manufacturers and retailers, we currently work on more transparency in the soy supply chain within the Soy Transparency Coalition, facilitated by experts 3Keel.

Palm Oil

Following our METRO Palm Oil Procurement Policy, we work towards sustainable palm oil in products in our supply chain. For METRO Germany for instance, all palm oil in our own brand food products is 100% RSPO certified ‘segregated’, meaning zero deforestation. Together with our Dutch supplier of frozen French fries, Farm Frites, we also reached 100% RSPO certified segregated palm oil.

As a member of the Consumer Goods Forum Forest Positive Palm Oil Working Group, we collaborate with 16 other companies on bringing more sustainable palm oil in our supply chains, for which we have conducted a Roadmap with tangible actions and output, more information on the Consumer Goods Forum website.
Together with several other manufacturers and retailers, we currently work on more transparency in the palm oil supply chain within the Palm Oil Transparency Coalition (POTC), facilitated by experts 3Keel.

We publicly report on the progress made against our palm oil commitment in the annual ACOP report of the RSPO, showing the overall palm oil volumes and the share of certification. More information on the website of the RSPO.

Paper & Wood

Since paper and wood product are also drivers of deforestation, already back in 2012, Metro committed to more sustainable products from paper and wood. In our Paper and Wood Procurement Policy, we aim to ensure that 100% of our own-brand products made from wood or wood fibre originate from legal and responsibly managed forests by the end of 2020, ensuring that the material is harvested in compliance with applicable legislation in force in the country of harvest, that the forest has been managed in compliance with the principles of sustainable forest management, which balance social, economic and ecological needs, and that traditional and civil rights of indigenous people, local communities and workers who benefit from the forest management and production are respected and protected. Further, ecosystems, biodiversity and ecological processes are maintained or restored, especially with regard to forests of high conservation value, and a proper management plan and a corresponding monitoring process are implemented and documented.

Products made from virgin fibre have to be certified in accordance with a third-party forest certification scheme: Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) or an equivalent standard according to the available benchmark of certification schemes.

Meat

A main topic in our Meat Procurement Policy is deforestation, connected to soy in animal feed. With our engagement with our suppliers, as well as within some of the above-mentioned collaborations on zero deforestation that we are in, we will focus on achieving zero deforestation within our meat supply chains.

METRO takes a transparent approach to its procurement of products and its usage of resources. We ensure this by maintaining direct relationships with our business partners. We have also developed a cross-industry, international traceability solution together with cooperation partners using GS1 Standards. METRO’s traceability solution PROTRACE provides customers and stakeholders with lot-based traceability information and more based on different data sources.

Transparent supply chain for fish and meat first

METRO is dedicated to taking a sustainable approach to sensitive product groups and started with fish and meat. This means, for instance, that customers can call up detailed data on numerous meat products, such as their origins, processing, quality and sustainability or find out where and how the fish they are buying was caught – quickly and easily using a smartphone app. Precondition is that the products are labelled with a unique product identifier and that the right information and data are uploaded by the suppliers regularly. This innovative solution is special because everyone from the producer to the vendor is involved. Feeding the data into the system is flexible depending on the volume and digitalization level of the supply chain partners.

Today PROTRACE provides beyond traceability also interesting insights into the production process and background information about the product itself. Traceability for fruit and vegetable is in the piloting phase. This traceability solution follows a generic approach and can be applied to all kind of articles. This means it will be possible to add other product groups and databases in the future. All market players throughout the supply chain can take part, wherever they are in the world. METRO is considered exemplary in the battle against illegal fishing thanks to its use of modern traceability systems PROTRACE.