Ladies and Gentlemen,
Like everywhere, the year of 2020 at REWE Group was overshadowed by the corona pandemic. It was perhaps the most trying year we have endured since the end of World War II in terms of the planning and management of our national and international activities. For this reason, we have let our employees have the first word in our Annual Report 2020 – from all areas of our company both inside and outside Germany. They provide a detailed description of the challenges they faced during this very different time and the ways that they overcame them. In particular, the description by our REWE retailer Heinz Schmitz in Gangelt, where the pandemic began in Germany, vividly explains how confidence and courage, solidarity and decisive action can be applied to jointly weather a crisis.
Our ability in business year 2020
- to achieve our business goals as a cooperative group,
- to energetically move our strategic projects forward
- and, as the REWE Combine, to invest 1.9 billion euros inside and outside Germany
is due solely to the tremendous work and the unbelievable commitment of more than 380,000 employees of REWE Group in Germany and Europe. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them very much once again for everything they accomplished last year.
From the very start, my credo was: to not panic and to press ahead with our strategic projects and our work on long-term goals in spite of the challenges and difficulties we faced. I admit that it frequently felt as if we were driving through an endless bank of fog. But nothing would have been worse, or more dangerous, than to have simply pulled off the road and waited for the skies to clear. By continuing to move forward, we learned during the corona pandemic that we set the right strategic priorities many years ago.
- the digitalisation of our company and the investments made in the future of our online business,
- the continuous modernisation of our business models,
- the ongoing high investments in such areas as our stores and logistics operation
- and the systematic training and advanced training programmes for our staff
helped us tremendously last year to take on the challenges we continue to face. We acted with determination and laid the best-possible foundation for the successful future of our cooperative group. The magazine section of this Annual Report will introduce you to a number of specific projects being conducted by all areas of our company.
Lionel Souque, CEO of the REWE Group“We are overcoming the corona crisis with confidence and courage, solidarity and decisive action.”
One topic that was very important to me personally last year and will remain so in future was our work on sustainability. Our commitment to sustainability, something that we have been doing for 15 years now, is largely responsible for the trust that consumers have developed in us. Such trust is extremely important, particularly in these times of crisis.
We certainly are not perfect. Which company could say that it is? But we began working on sustainability a long time ago:
- With thousands of more sustainable products, the “PRO PLANET” label and a large range of organic products in virtually every area of our product range.
- With our determination to avoid plastic and packaging waste.
- With our initiatives to promote more healthy diets – most recently with the introduction of the NutriScore and the REWE ErnährWert.
- With state-of-the-art green buildings for our supermarkets.
- With our reductions in CO2 and other climate gases.
During the pandemic in particular, we came to understand more than ever before just how important these issues are to our customers. I believe that this growing desire for sustainability, good health and environmental protection is irreversible. We have included a link to our comprehensive reporting on sustainability in this digital Annual Report 2020, “Eventful times. Determined action”. I would be very pleased if this information also awakened your interest in this important issue.
I hope that you find our Annual Report both interesting and insightful.
CEO of the REWE Group