Climate-neutral by 2040: METRO on the green wave

METRO aims to be climate-neutral in its own global operations by 2040 – a pledge the company committed to in July 2021. Many of the measures designed to achieve this target are being implemented in the wholesale stores. Photovoltaic systems, for example, have proven valuable, as have cooling systems using natural refrigerants as well as simple yet effective measures like automatic doors separating specially cooled areas.

Metro Climate target

What is it about?

  • METRO invests in sustainability
  • Germany's largest photovoltaic system
  • Less power and CO2 thanks to LED lamps
  • Fighting global warming with green refrigeration
  • Change little, save lots of water
  • Getting there sustainably with an e-fleet

‘For us, the responsibility that we as a company have for the environment is important, but so are the economic benefits that come with energy efficiency – because both not only make us more sustainable but also cut costs long-term,’ says Olaf Schulze, Vice President Energy Management. St. Pölten, Austria, boasts the first METRO zero emission storea wholesale store whose operation is entirely climate-neutral. METRO Ukraine is certified to the ISO 14001 standard for sustainability management. METRO is not just building wholesale stores to the latest standards; it is also stepping up its investments in upgrading and revamping existing locations. ‘After all, sustainability also encompasses working with what you have and optimising it in such a way that it contributes to a better, climate-friendly future ,’ says Schulze, who drives an electric car on principle. Thus far, METRO has already achieved to cut it's specific greenhouse emissions by 42,4% since the basline year 2011. Take a look inside the wholesale stores – and outside, too, at their roofs and parking areas:

Germany's largest rooftop photovoltaic system

The roof of a METRO wholesale store is perfect for operating a photovoltaic system. That is why 75 stores in 12 METRO countries feature them. These systems generate a total of 55,962 kWp (as per 30.09.2023), which is the equivalent of the energy consumption of 16,000 4-person households.

And the METRO logistics centre in Marl has also been drawing solar power since September 2023: from a photovoltaic system that, with an area of around 100,000 square metres, is currently the largest rooftop solar installation in Germany. Depending on the sun's output, the photovoltaic system generates enough solar power to cover the logistics centre's entire electricity needs. This reduces CO2 emissions per kilowatt hour by 382g. As a result, METRO saves a total of around 1,100 tonnes of CO2 annually.

Less power and CO2 thanks to LED lamps

By switching to energy-saving LEDs, METRO has now reduced its total electricity consumption worldwide by 25%. That saves over 200,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, or about 2 billion kilometres’ worth of car emissions – the trend is clearly upwards. Current projects are being implemented in Germany, Hungary, Croatia and METRO Turkey.



Fighting global warming with green refrigeration

234 METRO wholesale stores in 20 METRO countries use cooling systems with natural refrigerants instead of the halogenated hydrofluorocarbons known as HCFCs and HFCs that are so devastating to the environment, destroy the ozone layer and promote global warming. 1 kg of HFCs has the same effect on our climate as 3,922 kg of CO2. An extra benefit of the new, eco-friendly cooling systems: not only do they cut down on maintenance – and on electricity by over 20% – but their steady temperatures also have a positive effect on food quality.

Change little, save lots of water

Whether it’s contact-free taps, the use of rainwater or wash bays for transport boxes that harness the waste heat from the cooling system to heat the water – even tiny changes can make a big difference. Every METRO country does what it can to be more careful and sparing in its use of the resource of drinking water. Since 2016/17, these efforts saved 800,000,000 litres of water – or about 4.4 million full bathtubs’ worth. By 2030, we want to save a further 10% compared to 2021 as the base year, Schulze said.

Getting there sustainably with an e-fleet

With more than 1.000 charging stations in 19 METRO countries available to customers and employees, METRO is helping to drive the transition to e-mobility. The target was 2030, but we beat it, Schulze said. Customers who drive electric vehicles know they can recharge at METRO, in some cases for free or at competitive – i.e. low – rates. And the company's own fleet is also being increasingly electrified - more than 35 electric delivery vans up to 17 tonnes, an electric heavy-duty truck in METRO Austria and 862 electric company cars are already in use, and demand continues to rise.

Awarded an A Score for Climate Change by CDP

The global environmental non-profit organisation CDP commended METRO in December 2020 for leadership in corporate sustainability. METRO scored high marks for tackling climate change, honoured especially for its actions designed to cut CO2 emissions, mitigate climate risks and develop the low-carbon economy. By joining the A list, METRO is one of a small number of high-performing companies out of 5,800+ that were scored. METRO also received B scores for water security and forests; B scores for palm oil, paper/wood and soy; and C for cattle.

Sustainability at METRO

METRO SUSTAINABLE expresses our approach to sustainability and is the framework and at the same time the driver for all our activities aimed at increasing sustainability in our own business and at our partners and customers. Operationally, we implement this as part of our ESG strategy via our 3 strategic sustainability priorities.
👉 Corporate Responsibility Report 2021/22.

Further articles