Energy and resource management

Every day, METRO Cash & Carry provides millions of professional customers across the world with high-quality food products and consumer goods. This also causes need for energy and other resources like water, wood or metals. As these resources are limited and worth looking after, efficient business practices are a central pillar of our commitment to sustainability. We aim to consistently improve our energy and resource management. As the international leader in wholesale trade and the most international sales line of METRO, we have a special responsibility to contribute to the company’s climate target.

We carry out a wide range of energy saving and efficiency measures to reduce energy demand and contribute to climate protection.

Energy Awareness Programme

To enable employees to contribute to energy reduction within the company, METRO Cash & Carry has initiated the Energy Awareness Programme (EAP). Here, employees are invited to take action themselves.

In this way, the company wants to raise awareness and demonstrate that everyone can contribute to protecting the environment, while saving money at the same time.

Identification of climate-damaging factors

We use state-of-the-art measurement technology to evaluate our stores' usage of electricity, gas and heating oil, outlining actual consumption. These data demonstrate efficiency potentials and form the basis for concrete energy saving measures. Approximately 600 stores around the world are involved in the evaluation – that is about 90 percent of our METRO Cash & Carry locations. Building on this, we can optimise our stores’ energy consumption, implement innovative concepts and efficiently use technology that harnesses renewable energies.

Employee in Front of Plant Control Station

Optimisation of energy efficiency

Heating and store air conditioning as well as cooling and refrigeration of products account for a large proportion of our energy and electric power demand. We strive to reduce the demand and at the same time optimise our stores’ energy efficiency by using technological innovations. These include for example:

  • Sliding doors: Sliding doors on deep freezers enable us to reduce our electric power consumption.
  • Freezer rooms: At many locations we have already installed walk-in freezer rooms by taking into account an energy-efficient alternative to separate refrigerated display cases. The rooms are separated from the sales area by glass walls while an air-conditioner maintains a constant temperature of zero degrees Celsius inside. This solution helps our stores to save up to 20 percent of electric power consumption for refrigeration.
  • Exploitation of waste heat: Our store in Munich-Brunnthal, Germany, uses waste heat from its air-conditioning system to cover its heating and hot water needs. Further heating demand is met by means of long-distance heating, which comes from a biomass-fired heating plant. Regarding fuel, the power plant relies exclusively on wood chippings made from forestry scrap wood.
  • Micro gas turbine: The micro gas turbine on the store in Schwelm, Germany, is the central heating and power generator and enables the cash and carry store to be almost self-sufficient. The special characteristic of the plant technology is the interaction between heating, cooling and electricity supply. As a result, the store is virtually independent from the supply infrastructure of power stations.

Since 2011, possible energy efficiency measures have been examined for all new buildings and for alterations to existing properties.

Use of renewable energies

In the long term, we also aim to lessen our dependency on finite resources such as oil and gas. For this reason, we are actively extending our use of renewable energies at several locations. Examples of this are:

Solar Panels on the Roof

An essential part of our commitment is to save energy and increase energy efficiency. Furthermore, we need to lower our consumption of other non-renewable resources like water, wood and metal along the entire value chain. We therefore promote resource conservation at product level by developing optimised manufacturing standards and pursuing sustainable procurement strategies. We also aim to reduce the volume of used resources by implementing efficient, cyclical process structures as well as by reusing and recycling materials.

In Germany, for example, we have established an efficient waste management process. Our stores collect cardboard, paper, cardboard boxes, foils and wood in containers that are regularly transported to recycling centres. More than 98 percent of all waste materials are reused.

Packaging Policy

Our resource management also includes packaging. By 2018, we will have taken a critical look at how 10,000 own-brand products are packaged. Our aim is to reduce the environmental footprint of our packaging throughout its entire life cycle. It is also important to us that products and packaging materials are disposed of in an environmentally friendly fashion. At the end of their useful lives, we look at how raw materials can be reclaimed or disposed of with the minimum environmental impact.

METRO Cash & Carry continually strives for own brand packaging solutions that leverage the 3R’s principles:

  • REDUCE - To reduce the weight, the thickness, the dimension or the complexity of the packaging
  • RECYCLE - To use recycled or recyclable material
  • RENEW - To use renewable material