Seo, H.Act and trade sustainably?! Food retail activities for sustainable consumption in the food sector from an environmental perspective

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Hyewon Seo

Release date:
February 2020

German Federal Environmental Agency, texts | 28/2020

Some do advertize with Pandas, others declare acting responsibly or sustainability is a part of their DNA. Today, you hardly find a supermarket, that’s not using 'sustainability' as a keyword in its marketing campaign. But when you apply ecological standards – what exactly do these companies do, what do they contribute when it comes to sustainability in the nutrition sector? Answering this question is the driver of this report. To find answers, the author analysed and assessed the reports on sustainability and or other sources published until 31 May 2019 by Germany‘s nine most revenue generating companies in food retailing (ALDI Nord, ALDI SÜD, EDEKA, Kaufland, Lidl, Netto, PENNY, real, and REWE). They were benchmarked utilizing the 'ecological relevant aspects of nutrition' as defined in the National Program for Sustainable Consumption ('Nationales Programm für Nachhaltigen Konsum') by the German Government.

This report is aiming to a) provide a comprehensive overview of the multifaceted efforts of the biggest players in German food retailing b) assess the relevance of these activities, c) identify current achievements and shortcomings and d) provide guidance to food retailing when it comes to defining future sustainability goals and drafting roadmaps aiming to reach those goals. Last, but not least, this report is aiming to serve all stakeholders as foundation for the future debate on how to design a truly Sustainable Nutrition system.

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