Germany's REWE has announced that its REWE Bio + vegan range is transitioning to climate neutrality, in a move which the company believes demonstrates that quality organic plant-based products are good for animal welfare, nature, and the climate.
The CO2 footprint of vegan products are often lower in raw material production stage compared to animal products.
REWE has offset the remaining emissions on an annual basis, which arise during the manufacturing of the vegan range.
The compensation flows into a climate and forest protection project in Peru, that is certified according to the Verified Carbon Standard Climate, Community & Biodiversity.
In addition, the German chain is planting around 32,600 trees near Cologne in order to reduce the impact on the climate.
REWE Bio + vegan range
The REWE Bio + vegan range includes more than 30 items, ranging from cream cheese, mozzarella, and yoghurt alternatives to grain milk and vegan tartar sauce and tofu SKUs.
With the transition to climate neutrality from September 2021, the chain will offset around 32,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2).
The retailer, which also operates Penny, is cooperating with ClimatePartner, whose certification label guarantees that the products are climate-neutral.
ClimatePartner calculates the CO2 footprint of REWE Bio + vegan products based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard (GHG Protocol).
In addition to CO2, the climate-damaging gases methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride, fluorocarbons, and nitrogen trifluoride are also taken into account during evaluation.
In 2018, the retailer's REWE Bio range of products achieved higher quality sustainability standards than most products associated with EU organic labelling.
Overall, the REWE aims to become climate neutral at company level by 2040.
With consistent measures for reduction and avoidance, the retailer also wants to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 compared to a 2019 base level. This applies to all countries in which the retail and tourism group is active in Europe.
“REWE is aware of its special responsibility towards people, animals and the environment. Sustainable action is not a trend for us, but an essential part of our business strategy - and has been for more than ten years. We strive to expand our leading role in sustainability.
"This also includes making the product ranges more environmentally and socially responsible. The climate neutrality of REWE Bio + vegan is an important building block for this, on which we will also build for other own brands," says Peter Maly, divisional board member, REWE Group.
For regional climate protection, REWE plants one tree for every tonne of CO2 produced by the group.
An example of this initiative is an eight-hectare area currently being reforested as a mixed forest in Overath in the Rheinisch-Bergisches Kreis near Cologne.
Over 32,600 oaks, maples, service berries, service trees, and wild cherry trees are planted there. Native shrub species are planted on the edges of the forest. The reforestation project will start in November 2021.