Sainsbury’s addresses green skills to deliver carbon reduction

Sainsbury's carbon reduction

Sainsbury’s today credited new technologies and improved green skills for engineers with helping it reduce its carbon footprint. Sainsbury’s has achieved an absolute reduction of 6 per cent since 2007/8, despite growing its floor space by around 25 per cent over the last four years.

With the 2012 Carbon Disclosure Project Report published later today, Neil Sachdev, Property Director at Sainsbury's, explained:  "A lack of training for refrigeration engineers had prevented our switch to climate-friendly refrigeration systems because the technology is new and unfamiliar.  We saw this gap in skills and expertise as a real opportunity for us so we invested in industry recognised and hands-on training for around 200 of our service engineers.

"Many of them have now completed the training and this new injection of green skills will help to grow the market for CO2 refrigeration and help to support future job creation.  It's also great news for the environment because the new carbon dioxide technology has much less of an impact on climate change."

Sainsbury's has reduced its absolute carbon emissions by 3.5% over the past year through energy efficiency and carbon reduction programmes, and it is continuing to reduce its carbon footprint by converting its estate to natural refrigeration by 2030.  It was the first UKretailer to commit voluntarily to phasing out harmful HFC refrigerants and is on track to switch 250 stores to CO2 refrigerant by 2014.  Currently all new stores are fitted with CO2 as standard and almost 140 existing stores have been switched over with conversions ongoing.

Investment in new technologies is part of Sainsbury's target to reduce its operational carbon emissions by 30 per cent absolute by 2020, against a baseline of 2005/6.   This is part of a broader target of an absolute carbon reduction of 50 per cent by 2030, both of which are detailed in its industry-leading 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan.  This Plan is an essential cornerstone of its business strategy, setting out 20 ambitious targets to be achieved by 2020.

Other new technologies and initiatives that Sainsbury's has adopted to help it reduce its footprint include:

  • The installation of 69,500 solar panels on 169 stores to generate 16MW of power - enough for 4,100 homes
  • The roll out of 100MW of renewable energy by 2016 through innovative ground source heat pumps to provide energy efficient heating and hot water - six stores completed
  • The fitting of 46 biomass boilers since 2008 to heat stores and hot water, instead of using fossil fuel-based gas
  • Its energy efficiency Reset programme - now in its sixth year - has generated energy savings equivalent to running 110 supermarkets a year
  • Renewable energy direct Power Purchase Agreements offering a fixed price for 8-10 years - Sainsbury's currently sources over 4% of its power from such sources with plans to exceed 20% by 2020
  • Becoming theUK's biggest retailer user of anaerobic digestion as part of its zero food waste to landfill strategy, and investing in Tamar Energy to build 100MW of energy over the next five years through a network of 40 anaerobic digestion plants

Sainsbury's also works with over 2,500 farmers in its ten Farmer Development Groups to help them 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.

 Notes to editors 

Sainsbury's has adopted a number of new technologies and initiatives to help it reduce its carbon emissions including:

Solar panels

  • Sainsbury's has installed 69,500 new solar panels on 169 stores to generate 16 megawatts (MW) of power - enough for 4,100 homes.
  • This significant investment means collectively Sainsbury's supermarkets currently host the largest multi-roof solar array in theUKandEurope.

Ground Source Heat Pumps

  • Sainsbury's has committed to using renewable heat in its supermarkets by 2030 and is rolling out ground source heat pumps to up to 100 stores (six stores complete already), tapping renewable energy from deep underground to provide energy efficient heating and hot water.
  • This follows Sainsbury's successful world-first use of the geo-thermal technology, developed by Greenfield Energy, at its Crayford store enabling it to generate 30 per cent of its energy from an on-site renewable source.
  • The schemes aim to deliver up to 100MW of renewable energy sources in supermarkets by the end of 2016.

Biomass Boilers

  • Sainsbury's has installed 46 biomass boilers since 2008 to heat its stores and hot water instead of using fossil fuel-based gas.
  • It uses wood chips or pellets in the boilers - a renewable resource - and it only uses waste wood sourced from within theUK.

Power Purchase Agreements

  • Sainsbury's has also entered into direct Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) offering a fixed price for 8-10 years with onshore wind farms inScotland, and 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.

Anaerobic Digestion

  • Sainsbury's is theUK's biggest retailer user of anaerobic digestion (AD) and has achieved its target of zero food waste to landfill. 
  • Since late 2011 waste food from all stores that is not donated to charity (through food redistribution charities like FareShare) is backhauled to the depots and put to a positive use.  Food waste no fit for human consumption is used for animal feed and the remainder is used for anaerobic digestion to create electricity for the national grid.  The process also produces afertilizer as a by-product.
  • In April 2012 Sainsbury's announced that it was creating enough energy from AD to power 2,500 homes.
  • This complements Sainsbury's recent investment in Tamar Energy to build 100 MW of energy over the next five years through a network of 40 anaerobic digestion plants.  

CO2 Refrigeration

  • Sainsbury's plans to convert all of its estate to natural refrigeration by 2030 (reducing our carbon footprint by a third) and have targeted 250 stores to switch to CO2 refrigerant by 2014.
  • All new stores are fitted with CO2 as standard and almost 140 existing stores have been switched over with installations ongoing.
  • Refrigeration is the largest source of greenhouse gases in any supermarket through both the energy required to power them and the refrigerants themselves.  It began converting its estate in 2009, and since March 2010 all new stores have been fitted with CO2 as standard.
  • When it began converting to CO2 there was a shortage of expertise in the engineering community however, working with its refrigeration suppliers, it has re-trained almost 200 service engineers and thus grow the market for CO2 refrigeration.

Sainsbury's energy efficiency Reset programme

  • One of the key targets in Sainsbury's 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan is to reduce its operational carbon emissions by 30 per cent absolute by 2020, against a baseline of 2005/6.  Central to its strategy is the evaluation of new technologies to identify those that could deliver long-term carbon and energy savings for each store at a local level. 
  • Sainsbury's Reset programme is in its sixth year and has generated energy savings equivalent to running 110 supermarkets a year through over 14,000 energy initiatives across its estate.

 

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About the article

  • Posted on: 11 October 2012
  • Type of article: Press release

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