Ecology takes the driving Seat

Transporting goods is a central task and major challenge for a retailer. In doing so, Migros uses rail transport wherever possible.

Migros uses rail transport for its goods wherever possible, in particular over long distances. It is SBB Cargo's biggest customer in Switzerland, with a freight volume exceeding one million tonnes. More than 400 rail cars are in action every day for Migros. All regional cooperatives of Migros, all major industrial plants as well as the distribution centres in Suhr, Neuendorf and Volketswil have their own rail connections. Container transports reach the distribution centres exclusively by rail, with the exception of the final few metres. Migros limits air transport to a minimum: less than 0.5 per cent of fruit and vegetables sold is flown in. The air freight proportion for flowers is some 30 per cent.

Green light for rail transport

Migros organises 75 per cent of journeys between the major national and regional distribution centres by rail. In relation to the total transport volume, i.e. including M-Industrie, the Migros enterprises distribute 50 per cent of their goods by rail. These figures do not include delivery to shops, where there is no alternative to lorries. Overall, Migros's freight cars covered a distance of some 10.6 million kilometres in 2010. Migros thereby increased its mileage by 2.7 per cent on the previous year. On the other hand, tonnage dropped by 1.3 per cent. The reason for this opposite development is that, on the one hand Migros moved more goods by rail in accordance with its principle. As such, Migros's Volketswil distribution centre switched to rail transport for its textiles to the Geneva and Vaud cooperatives. However, changes affected the procurement of drinks that weigh a lot, which favoured road transport. For instance, SNCF, the French national rail operator, ended the delivery of mineral water in early 2010, and no other import option by rail has yet been found.

Chart on rail transport kilometrage

CHART - Kilometerleistung Bahntransporte


Measures on the road

All Migros transport, the cooperatives' own vehicle fleet and Scana are subject to individual CO2 targets. Migros also takes green measures in respect of its own fleet of lorries, which covers a distance of some 30 million kilometres annually. It optimises its lorry utilisation, avoids empty trips and ensures an efficient route selection. The continued updating with greener vehicles of emissions categories Euro 4 and 5 has resulted in a reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions by 48% and fine particle emissions by 54% over the past five years. Drivers are also periodically trained in the energy-saving Eco-Drive driving style. The Zurich and Basel-Stadt cooperatives also keep a consumption check on every lorry and driver.

Charts on nitrogen oxide and particle emisssiosn of lorries

CHART - Stickoxid-Emissionen LKW
CHART - Feinstaub-Emissionen LKW

Chart on kilometreage of Euro category lorries

CHART - Kilometerleistung Lastwagen nach Eurokategorie


Over the past years, Migros has tested the use of biofuels in various pioneering projects. The experience has been mixed. The strain on the climate can be eased with alternative fuels. But it has been shown that a mixing ratio of some 10 per cent can currently not be exceeded for motor technology reasons. Migros also does not want its biofuels to compete with food production. But some biofuels have indeed turned out to be sustainable and are used by the retailer in accordance with a different approach. As such, Migros uses diesel from used cooking oil and 11 lorries of the Migros Cooperative Zurich have been fuelled by biogas from the company's own biowaste and food waste for many years.