Sainsbury's leads the way in cutting water use

By Paul Crewe on 25 April 2013

reclaiming water at our stores

Sainsbury’s has reduced its operational water consumption across its entire estate by 50 per cent relative, which is a saving of 393 Olympic sized swimming pools each year (approx. 982,500m3). The retailer reached its target, against a 05/06 baseline, at the end of March 2013 due to a number of measures including recycling, leak detection, and utilising rainwater throughout its operations.

Sainsbury’s has also become one of the first organisations to achieve the Carbon Trust Water Standard, and the first retailer to obtain independent certification showing it’s taking action to measure, manage and reduce water use year on year.   

Sainsbury’s Head of Sustainability, Engineering, Energy and Environment, Paul Crewe, said: "As you would expect, we take water consumption very seriously especially at this crucial time of increasing natural resource scarcity.  We are very proud of achieving our target of a 50 per cent relative reduction which means that each year we’re saving almost 400 Olympic sized swimming pools of water across our stores.  This challenging target is part of our 20x20 Sustainability Plan to help us reduce our impact on the environment and ensure the long-term sustainability of our business.

"We achieved our water reduction target in a number of ways such as eradicating underground leaks which has saved our stores hundreds of thousands of pounds.  We have also fitted things like pre-rinse spray taps and low-flush toilets in all our stores and invested in rainwater harvesting for all new stores as standard, as well as retrofitting these units in existing stores."

Over the past year Sainsbury's has focused on strategic investments, not only to deliver its target but to ensure it is maintained and, wherever possible, non-potable water is used. These include:

  • Focusing on identifying and eradicating underground water leaks by installing automatic meter loggers.  For example, a leak repaired at a store in Wigan saved 21 Olympic sized swimming pools worth of water each year (53,710m3 per annum). 
  • Investing in AMR (automatic meter reading) which has enabled swifter identification of leakage and reduced the liabilities encountered through Water Company estimated billing.
  • Investing in car wash water reclaim units at 66 of its stores saves nine Olympic sized swimming pools worth of water each year (22,674m3).  
  • Installing rainwater harvesting in all new stores as standard and retrofitting rainwater harvesting units in existing stores.  For example, a recent retrofit unit at a store in Swansea now supplies water for toilet flushing and has achieved an annual mains water consumption saving of 1,300m3.
  • Carrying out comprehensive audits to improve water efficiencies throughout its estate and fitting low flush toilets and pre-rinse spray taps in all its stores.

Water stewardship is one of Sainsbury's key environmental targets and it forms part of the company’s industry-leading 20x20 Sustainability Plan, which is the cornerstone of its business strategy.

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  • Posted on: 25 April 2013
  • Type of article: Press release

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