METRO GROUP joins UN Global Compact

3 January 2011

  • Retail Group professes to observe the principles of the United Nations network for corporate social responsibility
  • Goal: continuous improvement in the implementation of the UN Global Compact principles – annual "Communication on Progress"
  • Compliance programme of METRO GROUP makes an important contribution - new anti-corruption guidelines

METRO GROUP has joined the world's largest network for corporate social responsibility – the UN Global Compact. Besides sharing practices across the world and across all industries the retailing group also intends to benefit from an improved handling of risks and opportunities in the field of sustainable business management.

By joining the Global Compact, METRO GROUP commits itself to integrate the initiative's ten principles into its daily work, business strategy and corporate culture. These principles represent a catalogue of universally accepted values in the areas of human rights, work standards, environmental protection and the fight against corruption. "With its longstanding commitment to a responsible and ethically correct business activity, METRO GROUP has been complying with many requirements of the UN Global Compact for a long time already", stressed Dr Michael Inacker, Vice Chairman of the Sustainability Board and Head of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs of METRO GROUP. "By joining this initiative we now commit ourselves to continuously improving our compliance with the principles of the UN Global Compact. This move also signals that sustainability is not just a marketing topic, but forms an integral part of our corporate strategy. For many investors looking for sustainable investments a membership in the UN Global Compact – besides a clear alignment of the company with ecological and social principles – represents an important criterion for investing".

Two years ago, METRO GROUP integrated its sustainability strategy even more closely into its business operations. An important steering instrument in this respect is the Sustainability Board which defines harmonised group standards in the ecological and social field together with the company's sales divisions (Metro wholesale, Real, Media-Saturn and Galeria Kaufhof). At the same time, the Group targets the continuous improvement of its sustainability profile which recently also resulted in a better positioning of METRO GROUP in one of the most important international indices, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

In addition, the group-wide Compliance Programme of METRO GROUP makes an important contribution towards meeting the requirements of the UN Global Compact. The issues that are particularly important for the UN Global Compact, such as anti-corruption, combating discrimination or observing fair work conditions, form an integral part of the business principles of METRO GROUP. "With the clear assignment of responsibilities for a consistent risk control as well as the information of all employees concerned, the Compliance Programme contributes to ensuring that the voluntary commitments of METRO GROUP such as its membership in the Global Compact are observed and controllable", explains Dr Dirk Christoph Schautes, Head of Compliance at METRO GROUP.

With a set of new anti-corruption guidelines that will take effect group-wide starting from April 2011, METRO GROUP created another important precondition for implementing the requirements of the UN Global Compact in this field even more professionally in future. It will provide even more detailed regulations for dealing with business partners which also include an integrity check of business partners starting from a specific sales volume. In addition, it will define specific regulations for dealing with public officials, which also include clearly outlined internal processes. With the rollout of the anti-corruption guidelines the business principles of METRO GROUP will be concretized further and an important contribution to the required transparency of the business transactions will be made.

In future, METRO GROUP must communicate the progress made in the implementation of the ten principles in an annual "Communication on Progress". This report will become an integral part of the company's Sustainability Report. Since 2002, METRO GROUP has been publishing a sustainability report every two years, last in November 2010.

METRO GROUP is one of the largest and most international retailing companies. In 2009 the Group reached sales of around € 66 billion. The company has a headcount of some 290,000 employees and operates more than 2,100 stores in 33 countries. The Group's performance is based on the strength of its sales brands which operate independently in their respective market segment: Metro/Makro Cash & Carry – the international leader in self-service wholesale, Real hypermarkets, Media Markt and Saturn – European market leader in consumer electronics retailing, and Galeria Kaufhof department stores.