Metro adopts a packaging and printed materials management policy

Last week, Canadian grocer METRO announced the adoption of its Packaging and Printed Materials Management Policy covering its corporate, food and pharmacy activities. Building on the range of initiatives undertaken over the years, METRO is releasing a framework to guide its teams and suppliers in the efficient management of its packaging and printed materials, including reduction and optimization. This program will enable METRO to implement practices to reduce the use of resources, limit product losses and reduce waste generation while contributing to the global movement to tackle single-use plastics.

Rooted in two established concepts, life cycle approach and circular economy, the Policy is based on the following four principles:

  • Reduce the use of packaging and printed materials
  • Implement optimal design
  • Select ecoresponsible materials
  • Facilitate recovery and recycling

“This new policy is the result of rigorous teamwork and is part of our approach to continuously improve our practices. We know that there is growing interest in packaging—and plastic in particular—among many groups, including our customers. We are confident that the measures we are putting forward will responsibly and effectively address these challenges,” said Eric La Flèche, President and Chief Executive Officer, METRO.

Commitments and actions
In addition to implementing the policy’s principles, METRO is committed to taking action in priority areas owing to their environmental impacts and volumes:

  • Reduce the number of single-use plastic shopping bags by 50% in METRO’s food and pharmacy banners by the end of the fiscal year 2023;
  • Reduce overpackaging and single-use plastics in our food stores’ fresh sections;
  • Reduce the total weight of the paper used in the flyers for METRO’s food and pharmacy banners by 10% by the end of the fiscal year 2022;
  • For our private brand food packaging, by the end of the fiscal year 2025:
  • Eliminate single-use plastic water bottles used by our employees in METRO’s administrative offices and distribution centers by the end of the fiscal year 2019.

To see the Packaging and Printed Materials Management Policy and the full list of commitments, visit

In selecting and designing more environmentally friendly private brand packaging and innovating in its business processes, METRO will never compromise on the packaging properties that ensure product preservation, quality and safety.

The important collaboration of customers

METRO’s network of food stores and pharmacies is among the largest in Canada and serves millions of customers week after week. The scope of our activities places us in a unique position to receive feedback from customers and raise their awareness of packaging-related issues.

“Our approach to managing packaging and printed materials has always rested on best practices and the collaboration between our teams and suppliers. With this new policy, we remain committed to ongoing improvement and innovation and are reaching out to our customers to join us in this major program,” declared Marie-Claude Bacon, Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.