Netto Marken-Discount has collaborated with WWF to create a framework for more sustainable water use by the German retailer.
According to WWF analysis, there are numerous agricultural areas in Germany with a moderate water risk, which will increase over the next few years and decades.
Water Management Tool
Together with WWF, Netto Marken-Discount established a water management tool for its own-brand range in the fruit and vegetable sector last year.
The aim of the tool is to make the water risks in the entire supply chain as transparent as possible and to reduce them systematically.
With over 13,000 suppliers successfully using the water risk tool, it is now mandatory for its suppliers of own brand fruit and vegetables to record water risks.
Suppliers must use the company water risk tool, a specially adapted version of the WWF Water Risk Filter, to work with the large discount chain.
Christina Stylianou, head of corporate communications at Netto Marken-Discount, said, "A holistic view of the supply chain is important. With the new supplier requirements for our own brands in the fruit and vegetable segment, we are sending a clear signal for the protection of freshwater resources and are working together with our suppliers to minimise water risks."
As part of the collaboration with WWF, Netto Marken-Discount will use the water management tool to distribute freshwater more equitably with other users of a river basin and to use it in a way that conserves resources.
Many possible risks, such as water shortages or decreases in water quality, are being addressed with the use of this new tool, the retailer added.
Juliane Vatter, expert on international water resources from WWF Germany, said, "Regardless of whether grapes, avocados or bananas - the water risks for regions growing popular fruit and vegetables in this country are increasing worldwide. This also directly affects the German food trade - because lack of water in the growing area leads to less choice and rising prices.
"We are pleased that Netto Marken-Discount assumes responsibility for water management and the more sustainable design of its supply chain and supports its suppliers in positioning themselves for the future."