“A successful model for sustainability“

EDEKA and WWF have been cooperating on environmental protection for a decade. What began with sustainable fisheries is now a strategic partnership in several areas.

To make products and supply chains more environmentally friendly, EDEKA and WWF started a cooperation arrangement ten years ago, initially in the field of sustainable fisheries. Today, the two sides both describe this partnership for sustainability, which has evolved since then, as a “successful model for more environmental protection in food retailing”.

Markus Mosa, CEO of EDEKA AG, comments: “The entire company is tuned to sustainability. Our worldwide supply chains are scrutinised and our customers are made environmental ambassadors on a daily basis”. Eberhard Brandes, Managing Director of WWF Germany, adds: “For WWF, this cooperation has a strong impact that extends far beyond EDEKA. “We want to use the leverage effect to turn other markets around.” This has already been achieved with sustainable fish. In the meantime this has become standard in German trade, and the share of certified fisheries has increased sevenfold over the past ten years.

A convincing balance

Here are a few examples of what has changed for the better at Edeka alone since the start of the sustainability partnership:

  • As much as 95 percent of the private label packaging made of paper/cardboard has already been converted to recycled or FSC-certified material. This also applies to 2.3 billion EDEKA beverage and milk cartons since 2013. The aim is to convert all private label packaging from paper/cardboard to recycled or FSC-certified material, although technical feasibility also plays a role.
  • Since 2008, around 80,000 tonnes of plastic have been saved on the private label PET water bottles alone through material reduction wherever this was technically possible.
  • In 2016, EDEKA introduced the first ever freezer carrier bag made from recycled material and since then has saved over 700 tonnes of new plastic on these bags, which had previously been made from new plastic
  • Over the past three years, the number of roll bags used has been reduced by around 95 million. This was made possible by offering reusable nets for carrying purchases in the fruit and vegetable departments and by informing customers on site.
  • In 2017 alone, the company saved 75,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, calculated on the basis of carbon dioxide certificates, by using reusable fruit and vegetable crates.
  • So far, 80% of the private-label seafood programme has been converted to sustainable sources. EDEKA wants to have reached 100% in this area by 2022. However, since the state of fish stocks and breeding, among other things, is constantly changing, this conversion must be understood as a process that takes time.

Joint projects

The partners also want to promote environmental protection through joint projects. For example, a project is currently underway to avoid the use of packaging at fresh food counters. The returnable can system was developed from various other systems already in use at EDEKA stores and was first used at a pilot store in Büsum. The new system is said to be simple, practical and helpful in avoiding disposable plastic or paper packaging at fresh food counters. The EDEKA Group also works with other concepts, such as trays, introduced by independent EDEKA merchants.

Since February 2019, EDEKA and WWF have been communicating the progress made within the framework of the partnership with the information campaign “10 years – 100 good news”. It runs throughout the year and is intended to “mobilise more customers for environmental protection”.

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