Refrigeration accounts for approximately a third of our direct carbon footprint and even more than that when the necessary energy consumption is factored in. However, we will always need effective fridges to ensure that our products are kept fresh from field to fork, which also helps reduce unnecessary food waste.
In 2009, we were the UK's first retailer to make a firm commitment to phase out harmful refrigeration gases from our stores, pledging to switch all our fridges to new CO2 technology by 2030. We have already earmarked 135 stores to use this technology by 2014 and it will now be installed in all our new stores. By 2030, this will help us cut our carbon footprint by more than a third. This is because the harmful gases we are replacing contribute far more to climate change than CO2 - 3,000 times more, in fact. Fridges also use a lot of energy and the new versions are more energy efficient. Our leadership announcement was recognised by Greenpeace UK:
"Sainsbury's announcement of a timetabled phase-out of these dangerous chemicals is a signal that their removal is economically feasible as well as environmentally necessary. The leadership the company is showing on F-gases stands in stark contrast to our political leaders' timid reluctance to be the first mover on anything - they must learn from this."
Doug Parr, Chief Scientist, Greenpeace UK