Creating awareness, awakening interest
For the concept of sustainability to take root in society, we need well-informed consumers. And it is easy to understand why: They will be the only individuals who will explore the issue and integrate it into their shopping decisions. This is why REWE Group works to raise the awareness levels of children and adults about sustainable consumption and balanced diets. The company reaches large numbers of customers in the campaigns it conducts in its stores, sharpening their focus on more sustainable lifestyles. REWE Group draws on a wide range of formats in this process – from participatory events and informative action weeks to fund-raising drives through the sale of selected products.
PENNY Trainees Fight Food Waste
On average, every German throws out 82 kilograms of food each year – that amounts to every eighth purchased product. The reason for this behaviour frequently relates to ignorance about the proper way to store food. PENNY has committed itself to informing consumers about this issue and reducing the amount of food that is tossed aside. During Sustainability Weeks 2014, trainees served as "food waste ambassadors" and provided customers with extensive amounts of information on the issue at approximately 600 PENNY stores. They answered a variety of questions about food storage and provided customers with tips they could use to avoid food waste. Customers then had an opportunity to put their newly acquired knowledge to the test in interactive games. PENNY employees also produced a brochure on their own called "Restlos genießen" (Enjoyment Minus Leftovers). The publication contained tips and tricks that help consumers avoid wasting food and learn how to whip up new dishes from leftovers. PENNY actually launched its fight against food waste during the Sustainability Weeks 2013. During a campaign sponsored by German Consumer Protection Minister Ilse Aigner called "Zu gut für die Tonne" (Too Good for the Bin), the Deutsche LandFrauen-Verband, an organisation that represents women who live in rural areas of Germany, provided in-depth information to consumers in a number of PENNY stores about food storage and leftover preparation.
Alliance for Consumer Education
Thanks to its wide number of customer contacts, REWE Group can inform many people about more sustainable lifestyles. The key is to promote this attitude among children and adolescents. As a result, an understanding of more sustainable lifestyles can be developed at an early stage. For this reason, the consumer group Deutsche Stiftung Verbraucherschutz created the "Alliance for Consumer Education" in 2013. In cooperation with representatives from the political, business and academic communities and REWE Group, this alliance is working to increase consumer education among children and adolescents as well as to integrate this knowledge into their everyday lives at school. This is carried out through a dialogue with political decision-makers and important members of the education community, a fund for consumer education and information provided to the public regarding consumer and everyday skills.
In addition, REWE Group plays an active role in an independent board of consumer advisers, the Sachverständigenrat für Verbraucherfragen, that was created in 2014. The board appointed by the current Consumer Protection Minister, Heiko Maas, advises the German government about a wide range of consumer-policy issues and provides business and real-world expertise. As a representative of the business community, Dr. Daniela Büchel, Head of Corporate Responsibility at REWE Group, was appointed to the nine-member board of experts, which started work at the beginning of 2015.
Action Weeks for Endangered Species
To raise customers' awareness levels about biodiversity and endangered species, all sales lines of REWE Group organised informative events in 2013 and 2014 as part of the annual Sustainability Weeks. In toom Baumarkt DIY stores, customers could learn about the new far-reaching product range of nesting boxes, insect hotels and feeding stations. In addition, they learned what they can do themselves to protect endangered species. In 2014, children had an opportunity to design their own nesting boxes during a Germany-wide "nesting box painting campaign" and to take them home along with information written with children in mind. In addition, toom Baumarkt DIY stores provided one euro to the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) for every nesting aid sold to protect and maintain the highly endangered lesser spotted eagle in Germany.
Approaches to More Sustainable Tourism
The travel company DER Touristik is informing its customers about more sustainable tourism. With the brochures "BewahrenDER" (The Conservationist) and "WunDERbare Vielfalt" (The Wonders of Diversity), the company informed adults and children alike about the interplay of biodiversity and tourism as well as about the ways that animals, plants and the natural diversity of species in holiday regions could be maintained. Updated versions of both brochures were released at the beginning of 2015. They are available in travel agencies and on the home page of DER Touristik. The brochures can also be obtained from the Environment and Sustainability Department.
To demonstrate to its employees just how closely biodiversity is linked to their everyday business activities, DER Touristik conducted a training course for purchasers in the car travel area. Thanks to this course, employees can now systematically address the topic of biodiversity during purchasing discussions. When hotels are included, these employees can also observe how these aspects are addressed there.