Sainsbury’s has won both the Energy and Carbon categories in the Guardian’s Sustainable Business Awards, with judges recognising the retailer’s innovative and world-leading work.
The Energy Award was presented to the retailer for its work on the Hythe store in Kent, which is the world's first smart grid ready supermarket. When there is higher demand for power the system activates an onsite biofuel generator, which is fuelled by waste cooking oil from Sainsbury's stores. The system also automatically manages heating, ventilation and lighting in line with the store's demands, which further significantly reduces energy use.
The Carbon Award recognises the retailer's leading work with farming suppliers to reduce their own environmental impact. Sainsbury's has developed a carbon footprinting tool which has the potential to reduce a farm's annual energy costs and carbon emissions by 10 per cent.
Neil Sachdev, Property Director at Sainsbury's, said: "These are complementary, key awards for us, and it's a great recognition for the work we are doing. This shows that you can significantly reduce carbon emissions and electricity costs, while creating an outstanding retail environment for both customers and my colleagues working in the stores.
"At Sainsbury's we're keenly aware of our responsibilities as a leading retailer. Every day our people are working to reduce our impact on the environment and embed sustainability throughout our business. At the same time we're helping our suppliers to do the same through reduced costs and carbon emissions."
The Guardian judging panel said: "They are doing a lot of work and it's incorporated in the core of the business. Tackling farming is difficult. Sainsbury's is doing an innovative thing and they are very genuine in what they do."
In May, the retailer also received the national accolade of Sustainable Business of the Year award at the SustainabilityLive! event in Birmingham.
Over the last four years Sainsbury's has grown the floor space of its supermarkets by around 25 per cent, while reducing its energy use by over nine per cent. Its energy efficiency programme is in its sixth year and has generated energy savings equivalent to running 110 supermarkets a year through over 14,000 energy initiatives.
Sainsbury's published its 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan in October 2011. This industry-leading plan is built into Sainsbury's business strategy and sets out 20 targets to be achieved by 2020. As part of its sustainability plan, Sainsbury's will reduce its operational carbon emissions by 30 per cent absolute and 65 per cent relative, compared with 2005, and make an absolute carbon reduction of 50 per cent by 2030.
Sainsbury's is committed to looking at ways to further reduce its carbon footprint:
- Sainsbury's has installed 7 MW of solar power across 115 supermarkets, which is the largest multi-roof installation of solar panels in UK history.
- In a world first it installed award-winning geothermal technology, which is enabling its Crayford store to supply 30 per cent of its energy from on-site renewable sources. This is being rolled out to 12 stores by September. It has installed than of 35 biomass boilers since 2008, which use wood chips or pellets - a renewable resource - to heat the store rather than fossil fuel-based gas.
- As well as using a variety of renewable energy technologies onsite, Sainsbury's has also entered into direct Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) offering a fixed price for 8-10 years with onshore wind farms in Scotland, biomass generators and Anaerobic Digestion sites. Sainsbury's currently sources over 4% of its power from such renewable sources with plans to exceed 20% by 2020.
- Sainsbury's is the largest UK user of anaerobic digestion. Since late 2011 waste food from all stores that is not fit for human consumption has been backhauled to the depots and put to a positive use, with all the waste bread sent for animal feed with the remainder waste being sent to Anaerobic Digestion to create electricity for the national grid. Sainsbury's donates surplus food that is for human consumption to charities such as FareShare and other local organisations, to ensure that it is not wasted.
- Sainsbury's is also an industry leader in the sale of British produce. As part of the 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan we will double the amount of British food we sell.