At this point, it is also important to stress that the main function of packaging is to preserve the product. This is especially important in food distribution, where product safety is of utmost importance. Food safety and hygienic regulations must be the priority when designing packaging for food products. It is, thus, necessary to avoid conflict and mismatches between different policy objectives. Moreover, packaging also serves to reduce the amount of food waste by significantly improving the shelf-life of food. Indeed, one of the essential features of METRO is the quality and freshness of the products we offer. This means, we must ensure that the product packaging is designed and selected in such a way that the food we sell meets the highest quality and safety requirements - from the producer through the transport to the market and to our customer's kitchen.
Consequently, we are also working together with suppliers towards the optimisation of the packaging of our own-brand products. Up to the end of 2018, 11 METRO countries are reviewing more than 10,000 own-brand products for optimisation and savings potential based on the 3R concept: 'reduce, renew, recycle'. PVC, PVDC and EPS are to be replaced by more environmentally friendly plastics. High-quality, recyclable materials and biodegradable packaging will be used instead. Packaging materials have been reduced by more than 400 tonnes since 2014. And already today, 100% of the SIG and Tetra Pak drinks packaging sold by METRO Germany has FSC (Forest Stewardship Council®) certification.
For us, acting sustainably means to not only look for quick wins but, rather, to systematically work towards positive change.
Heiko Hutmacher, Member of the Management Board of METRO AG responsible for sustainability
Partnerships for the goals
“For us, acting sustainably means to not only look for quick wins but, rather, to systematically work towards positive change”, says Heiko Hutmacher, Member of the Management Board of METRO AG responsible for Sustainability. The company pursues a comprehensive sustainability strategy. “Important elements in this regard are an extensive range of alternatives to conventional plastic products and purposefully promoting closed-loop material cycles”, continues Hutmacher.
Indeed, all the actors within the supply chain are aware that complex challenges such as reducing plastic waste can only be overcome as a joint effort. This is why METRO engages in dialogue with the packaging industry, lawmakers, waste disposal companies and NGOs in order to identify new solutions. Against this backdrop, METRO hosted a round table event under the heading “Unser Ausweg aus dem Einweg” (“Our way out of the one-way”) to discuss about the challenges, opportunities and potential solutions with various stakeholders from the fields of recycling, disposable products, hospitality as well as from EU politics and representatives of METRO Germany on 20 September 2018.