Can data power sustainability?

Veronika Pountcheva, Global Director Corporate Responsibility, METRO AG

Would you consider € 26.7 billion per year enough to support the business case of a strategic decision? A figure that makes it clear that the path being taken is the right one – even if it may prove stony? €26.7 billion positive net effect is the bottom line of our first-ever sustainability accounting at METRO Wholesale, meaning that for every euro of impact on environment and society, we create €3 value on social, ecological and economic level.

At METRO, we have been working intensively in the field of sustainability for more than two decades. The challenges are becoming increasingly complex and we have asked ourselves: Are we making the right decisions? Are we just taking or are we also giving back?

As a wholesale and food specialist, our core business is trading with resources. We consider it our obligation, but also our opportunity, to treat these resources responsibly – as well as the people who work with us and for us along our supply chains. We are and will remain a people's business. Therefore, in 2018, we conducted our first objective sustainability accounting for the financial year 2016/2017. The results in a nutshell:

  • METRO Wholesale generates a positive net effect of € 26.7 billion per year along the entire value chain
  • For every euro of impact on environment and society, we create €3 value on social, ecological and economic level.
  • Because we deal with resources, the impact of all of our actions on the environment is significantly greater than that on society.

Facts and figures are the fuel of our time. Neither informed consumers nor financial markets simply believe in words today. So, what does the balance sheet of our sustainability work tell us?

We can now quantify the economic, ecological and social impacts of our business activities along the entire value chain in monetary terms.

This enables us to directly compare the significance of the effects – positive and negative – and to demonstrate interactions. Don’t get us wrong: We do not simply offset negative effects with positive effects, but instead the results show us where we need to take action to mitigate negative and strengthen positive impacts. In short, the current data shows us in black and white that we are on the right track – it substantiates our sustainability strategy.

Moreover, the facts enable us to further foster our partnerships and to win suppliers and business partners for more sustainable ways forward. What we have ultimately learned from the balance sheet is proof that our actions at METRO not only serve our purpose, but also empower people, secure the planet and unfold prosperity.

Further information can be found on Sustainability at METRO AG at the following:


About the Author

As Global Director Corporate Responsibility and Senior Vice President of METRO AG, Sofia-born Veronika Pountcheva heads the sustainability strategy and development of the international wholesale and food specialist. Veronika has more than 20 years of experience in wholesale, being managing director of various METRO companies. As, amongst others, an active member and Co-Chair of the Sustainability Steering Committee of the Consumer Goods Forum as well as the board of amfori BSCI, she supports the development of strong partnerships along the entire wholesale value chain.


Metro AG is a global partner in advancing a joint sustainability agenda, and addressing priority themes including water stewardship and improving access to clean drinking water, and creating a path towards a “World Without Waste”.