Meeting our customers’ needs is at the core of METRO’s business strategy. We aim to provide consumers with products that meet their expectations and we work toward a more responsible supply chain. Our priorities are to ensure the quality and safety of food products, promote health and offer responsible products. Read the 2020 Corporate Responsibility Report (PDF).
Offering responsible products is one of the priorities of METRO's corporate responsibility (CR) approach. Since the publication of its first CR roadmap in 2010, several initiatives related to responsible procurement have been achieved. In 2017, METRO adopted a Responsible Procurement Framework and a Supplier Code of Conduct for responsible procurement.
The rigorous approach adopted by METRO to manage its practices is based on these two structuring documents, which are in addition to our other responsible procurement policies and programs.
The Framework and Supplier Code of Conduct were developed according to best practices and recognized standards. They are based on four key principles that build on METRO's product and service selection criteria, such as price, quality and availability:
The implementation of METRO’s responsible procurement program is governed by management principles and a range of operationalization tools.
METRO seeks to ensure the health and welfare of terrestrial and aquatic animals across the supply chain.
One of the four principles on which the Framework and Supplier Code of Conduct are based is respect for animal health and welfare. This principle aims to prevent all forms of abuse that negatively impact the health and welfare of animals and meet the physical and behavioural needs of animals.
METRO expects suppliers to refer to science-based standards recognized by industry, to respect animals and commit to implementing farming, transport, slaughtering and fishing conditions recognized as protecting animal health and welfare.
METRO has made commitments related to production conditions and the impacts of the food products sold in its retail network. Most of these commitments are dedicated to animal proteins.
For meat, poultry, egg, milk and dairy product suppliers:
To date, we have evaluated 45% of all our unprocessed meat and poultry suppliers. We refined our assessment methodology to better identify the suppliers in contact with farm animals. They are classified in four separate categories: producers, slaughterhouses, processors and distributors.
Close to 50% of our egg and milk suppliers, which represent almost the entirety of our overall offer, were evaluated. Nearly 100% meet our expectations with regard to the codes of practice and the use of antibiotics.
Regarding dairy products, nearly 40% of our suppliers, which represent over 90% of our overall offer, were evaluated, and over 80% meet our expectations with regard to the codes of practice and use of antibiotics.
Under current Canadian regulations, this commitment targets only beef. At this time, the market conditions do not make it possible for METRO to offer hormone-free products. Still, our efforts are ongoing.
This objective was achieved in 2017. The Irresistibles Organics fresh chicken line includes six products that account for nearly 50% of all Irresistibles chicken products.
All Irresistibles private brand chicken is currently purchased in Quebec and Ontario.
Again this year, we made more fair-trade and organic products available to our customers. We also launched the Life Smart Organics chocolate bars, which are also fair-trade certified.
100% of our salmon and 97% of our shrimp are BAP-certified. The remaining 3% of our shrimp are certified organic.
100% of the canned tuna sold under our private brands meets this commitment: the product is not from clearly endangered stocks and the supplier contributes to the conservation of the species and/or improvement of fishing practices and is able to document the traceability of the fishing vessel at all times.
As an active member of the Canadian retail industry, we work with our suppliers to promote responsible practices and find better alternatives when necessary. It is in this context that we made industry commitments through the Retail Council of Canada:
In 2013: Sourcing fresh pork products only from sows raised in alternative housing practices by the end of 2022.
In 2021: Through ongoing discussions with our suppliers, it became apparent that this commitment would not be achievable by the industry within the planned time frame of 2022. In Canada, pork producers remain committed to making the transition to group housing, and the process is ongoing. The Canadian Pork Council estimates that 60% of sows will be raised in groups by 2024 and 100% by 20291. METRO is closely monitoring this transition with its suppliers and remains committed to increasing our supply of fresh pork products from sows raised without gestation crates. We will report our progress annually in our corporate responsibility report.
In 2016: Voluntary commitment to the objective of purchasing cage-free eggs by the end of 2025.
In 2021: Through ongoing discussions with our suppliers, it became apparent that this commitment would not be achievable by the industry within the planned time frame of 2025. Canada's egg producers plan to completely eliminate the use of conventional cages, which restrict some of the hens' natural behaviours by 20362. METRO will continue to work with its suppliers to increase its supply of eggs from hens raised in cage-free system and enriched housing. Today, over 50% of the eggs under METRO’s Life Smart brand are cage-free and organic, including 100% of Life Smart brown eggs. METRO will continue to research about the best alternative to conventional cages for the welfare of laying hens to guide our purchasing practices. We will report our progress annually in our corporate responsibility report.
METRO publicly supports the plan of the Quebec and Ontario veal producer associations to transition farmers who use individual stalls to group housing. We have met our commitment and since December 2018, 100% of our fresh veal comes from suppliers who have transitioned to group housing.
Despite adjustments to the commitments made with the industry on pork and eggs, METRO remains firmly committed to achieving its animal welfare goals as part of its responsible procurement approach.