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Forest protection measures in Peru and reforestation in Germany help the climate

REWE switches REWE Bio + vegan to climate neutral

With the launch of the new REWE Bio + vegan range, REWE shows that organic plant-based products can not only be good for animal welfare and nature, but for the climate as well. This is because vegan products often cause a smaller CO2 footprint in raw material production compared to animal products. REWE offsets the remaining CO2 emissions, which are also generated in the production of vegan products, on an annual basis: The compensation flows into a climate and forest protection project in Peru, certified according to the Verified Carbon Standard Climate, Community & Biodiversity (VCS CCBS). In addition, REWE plants around 32,600 trees near Cologne to mitigate the climate impact here as well.

Overall, REWE Group has set itself ambitious climate targets: By 2040, the Group aims to become climate neutral at the corporate level. With consistent reduction and avoidance measures, REWE Group additionally aims to reduce its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030 compared to 2019. This applies to all countries in which the trading and travel and tourism group is active in Europe.

"REWE is aware of its special responsibility towards people, animals and the environment. For us, sustainable action is not a trend, but an essential part of our business strategy - and has been for more than ten years. We are committed to expanding our leading role in sustainability. This includes making our product ranges more ecologically and socially responsible. The climate neutrality of REWE Bio + vegan is an important building block in this regard, on which we will also build for other private labels," says Peter Maly, Divisional Director of REWE Group.

The REWE Bio + vegan range includes more than 30 items - from cream cheese, mozzarella and yogurt alternatives to cereal milk and vegan remoulade sauce to tofu products. By switching to climate neutrality from September 2021, REWE will offset around 32,600 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) for starters. To this end, the food retailer is cooperating with ClimatePartner: its label guarantees the climate neutrality of the labeled product. This is because 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, hydrofluorocarbon and nitrogen trifluoride were also taken into account. The calculations cover the product life cycle from raw material through transport, production and delivery to disposal (cradle-to-gate plus end-of-life).

For regional climate protection, REWE plants one tree for every ton of CO2. As a result, an eight-hectare area in Overath in the Rheinisch-Bergisch district near Cologne is being reforested as a mixed forest. More than 32,600 oaks, Norway maples, wild cherries and other will be planted there. Native shrub species will be planted at the edges of the forest. The reforestation project will start in November 2021. Even though Germany is one of the most densely forested countries in the EU, trees here are also feeling the effects of climate change. Drought, heat, storms and pests are taking their toll on trees. Mixed forests are therefore considered more resistant. They tolerate heat and drought better and the risk of forest fires is lower.

In the climate protection project in Tambopata in Peru, 400 local families are working together to protect 300,000 hectares of biologically valuable primary rainforest in the Amazon region. The forest is their livelihood and at the same time the habitat of many animal and plant species. However, due to the increasing development of new roads, illegal deforestation is also on the rise. Through this project, the families obtain land rights and thus more sustainable sources of income, for example through the cultivation of Brazil nuts. Illegal logging thus becomes less attractive. The smallholders receive micro-credits, support with marketing and transport, and guidance on further processing methods, such as the production of soap and oil.

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