Sainsbury’s to examine the carbon reduction records of its refrigeration suppliers


Sainsbury’s will ask its refrigeration suppliers to disclose their own carbon reduction commitments and come up with more efficient equipment after outlining ambitious plans to become a ‘Net Zero’ business.

The supermarket chain has pledged to invest £1 billion over 20 years towards becoming a Net Zero business across its own operations by 2040. The target is aligned to the highest ambitions of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and a decade ahead of the UK government’s own target.

Sainsbury’s current carbon footprint is one million tonnes, which is a 35% absolute reduction in the last 15 years despite its space increasing by 46% over the same time frame.

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It will use the funds to implement a programme of changes, with a focus on reducing carbon emissions, food waste, plastic packaging and water usage and increasing recycling, biodiversity and healthy and sustainable eating.

Refrigeration providers will be among those that it seeks to work with “collaboratively” to meet its goals but suppliers can expect to face greater scrutiny over their own carbon footprints moving forward.

Mike Coupe, CEO of Sainsbury’s, said: “We have a strong heritage of reducing our carbon emissions – we have reduced them by 35% over the past 15 years despite the footprint of our business increasing by over 40%.

“We invested £260m in over 3,000 initiatives over the last decade, including the start of our LED lighting programme and refrigeration. Over the next 20 years we will invest a further £1 billion in programmes that will transform the way we do business and put environmental impact at the forefront of every decision we make.”

1,400 Sainsbury’s stores have already been fitted with aerofoil technology, keeping fridges cool and aisles warmer and saving 15% of the energy used by the fridge. 17,547 tonnes of CO2 were saved through colleague behavioural change projects.

The retailer plans to increase its use of renewable energy, while reducing overall energy usage.

Fridges will be made as efficient as possible through the use of innovative technology and increasing the use of natural refrigerants – as well as increasing the percentage of its fleet using alternative zero and low carbon fuels to 20% by 2025. By the end of 2022, all Sainsbury’s stores will be 100% lit by LED

As well as the focus on efficient refrigeration, Sainsbury’s will work to minimise the use of water in its own operations, driving towards achieving ‘water neutral’ status by 2040.

170 stores currently have rainwater harvesting facilities and these are fitted as standard in new stores. It intends to review every aspect of water use in its business, including exploring the possibility of recycling water from areas such as ice on fish counters.

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Andrew Seymour

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