Press Releases

    For information only - not an official document

    2 September 2011

    Re-issued as received

    UNIDO and Metro Group Extend their Alliance for Sustainable Food Supplies

    DÜSSELDORF/VIENNA, 2 September 2011 - METRO Group and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) will ramp up their joint commitment to more efficient supply chains and better food supplies.

    A new cooperation agreement on this was signed in Düsseldorf today by UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, and the Chairman of the Management Board and CEO of METRO AG, Eckhard Cordes.

    Following the successful completion of a joint pilot project in Egypt, and two recently initiated pilot projects in India and Russia, UNIDO and Metro Group also plan to increase the scope of the training and upgrading programmes for producers and suppliers in China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Turkey, and Viet Nam. In addition, aspects such as social, environmental and ethical standards are to be integrated into the joint initiatives.

    "Local producers and suppliers are very important partners for us, especially in emerging and developing countries. We source a large share of our merchandise from them. But in order to reduce post-harvest losses and improve the quality of the merchandise better transportation conditions are needed," said Cordes.

    "Our joint training programmes and projects with UNIDO contribute to the growing prosperity of local farmers and small companies. At the same time, we ensure access to high-quality merchandise for our customers," he added.

    Yumkella said that: "Insufficient trade and supply capacities, rising food prices and the lack of food safety and quality prevent the achievement of two main development targets: combating poverty and securing sufficient food for all."

    "By developing the supply capacity of local producers together with an internationally experienced retail company like METRO Group and jointly organizing the necessary training, we can makes sure that clusters of local suppliers are able to establish long-lasting business linkages and gain access to national and international markets," added Yumkella.

    As a result of the joint UNIDO-Metro Group pilot project in Egypt, post-harvest losses were reduced by up to 40 per cent and the quality and safety of the food products was substantially improved. At the same time, the higher product quality also helped raise the incomes of the local farmers and small and medium enterprises that found a new market opportunity.

    During the past two years, experts from METRO Group and UNIDO have trained and assessed suppliers and small farmers on quality, food safety, hygienic conditions and productivity. The internationally recognised quality standards of the Global Food Safety Initiative were used as a basis for upgrading suppliers through the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Global Market Protocol.

    The cooperation between UNIDO and METRO Group, which is not exclusive and open to other partners, will upscale from the food to the non-food sector and expand the scope of the programme to sustainability issues including strengthening buyers for sustainable sourcing using UNIDO's Responsible Entrepreneur Achievement Programme, or REAP.

    REAP is a corporate social responsibility-based management and reporting tool that supports small and medium enterprises  in aligning economic, social and environmental aspects of business.

    The new agreement will also focus on promoting local economic development and inclusiveness of small producers by developing clusters of local suppliers to the benefit of local communities..

    Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), welcomed the new agreement saying:

    "Modern development cooperation promotes self-help and helps people lift themselves out of poverty using their own resources. This concept works so much the better if all social forces, the economy, governments and private citizens act in concert and assume responsibility within an effective public-private partnership framework to jointly achieve development goals".

    The opportunities and limitations of sustainability projects, as well as new public-private partnerships were the focus of a discussion that included Cordes, Yumkella, film-maker Valentin Thurn and Prof. Jürgen Wilhelm, Management Board member of the German Development Service Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

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    For more information, please contact:

    Mikhail Evstafyev
    UNIDO Advocacy and Communication Coordinator
    Telephone: (+43-1) 26026-5021
    Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-7329
    Email: M.Evstafyev[at]