Annual Report 2023

Overview of the year

The year 2023 was marked by an international context of global instability, with the war between Russia and Ukraine continuing and a conflict breaking out between Israel and Hamas at the beginning of the last quarter of the year, as well as high levels of inflation and interest rates. These facts increase the uncertainty and the difficulties to an already challenging path companies are taking to ensure the fulfilment of ambitious sustainability targets, which are set, in most cases, on a voluntary basis. For instance, the fact that many countries have evaluated a return to energy sources like coal has made it harder – and more expensive – to access renewable energy. High interest rates over the past two years have also made it more difficult to maintain the investments needed to make businesses more sustainable, in addition to putting pressure on household budgets, already grappling with inflation, further increasing their price sensitivity.

Close-up of a person's hand while steering a boat (photo)

Despite this challenging environment, in 2023 we continued to invest in the sustainable growth of our businesses and, for the fourth year running, we are the world’s top-rated food retailer by CDP (Disclosure Insight Action) as a result of our top score (A) in the fight against climate change and for reaching the leadership level (A-) both in water management as a critical resource and in managing the commodities most associated with deforestation risk (palm oil, paper/timber, beef and soy).

Our carbon footprint continued its downward trajectory and, in 2023, we emitted 24% less CO2 in absolute terms than in 2017 (scopes 1 and 2), the base year for assessing the degree to which we have met the target for this indicator. We also achieved a 60% reduction per 1,000 euros in sales, largely surpassing the 40% goal we set ourselves. This result compares with an 88% growth in sales over the same period.

By the end of 2023, photovoltaic panels had been installed to produce energy for self-consumption at around 780 stores and distribution centres. Our two largest Companies also stood out in the Lean & Green initiative: Biedronka kept its star and Pingo Doce achieved four stars, the first Portuguese and the fourth European company to do so.

Our good practices have been recognised internationally and, in 2023, we were listed on more than 130 sustainability indices, including the Euronext Vigeo-Eiris Eurozone 120 and Europe 120 indices and the FTSE4Good Developed and FTSE4Good Europe indices.

Food safety and quality remained a relevant topic for the stakeholders we surveyed again, this time in a double materiality assessment (impact and financial), in line with EU requirements. In this regard, the weight of Private Brand products and perishables with sustainability certification increased and now accounts for 13.4% of these categories (8.4% in 2022). Over 90% of our food purchases were sourced from local suppliers. In Portugal, Pingo Doce was the first and only food retailer to eliminate flavour enhancers, after having eliminated artificial colouring from all Private Brand products in 2022. Pingo Doce was also the first retailer to sell antibiotic-free and certified animal welfare approved national chicken. In the three countries where we operate, the nutritional reformulation of our Private Brand food products allowed us to avoid the consumption of 130.2 tonnes of sugar, 62.8 tonnes of fat and 25.2 tonnes of salt.

Internally, we invested 312 million euros in recognition measures awarded to our employees, who also benefited from the 36.3 million euros channelled towards internal social responsibility programmes and the 7.9 million euros invested in well-being measures. In Portugal, and for the third year running, the Group’s holding company (which was awarded the seal of Excellence for the first time) and Recheio were again recognised as an Inclusive Employer Brand. Pingo Doce was awarded the coveted title for the first time.

Our banners also strengthened their work with the communities surrounding their stores and distribution centres. In 2023, the value of the direct support, offered both in cash and products, amounted to more than 87 million euros, an increase of around 6% compared to 2022.


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