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Sainsburys Environmental Strategy

Sainsbury’s states that two of its key driving business principals are respect for the environment and sourcing with integrity.

Respect for the environment
Renewable sources: 10% of Sainsbury’s energy is derived from renewable sources. By 2008, it is aiming to meet a new carbon reduction target, which will see reduced energy use both in store and in its offices. With the majority of its energy consumption in store accounted for by refrigeration, Sainsbury’s is looking at ways of reducing its usage, including CO2 refrigeration system. Other projects to understand and improve the energy performance of equipment include improving store freezer cabinet efficiency, heating and ventilation upgrades and increasing the automation of store lighting to reduce night-time lighting misuse.

In September 2007, it is opened its first environmentally friendly distribution depot. Located in Northampton, the centre uses a variety of environmentally friendly features and technologies designed to significantly reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions at the site. These include: wall-mounted photovoltaic panels that generate electricity; solar walls that produce heat from sunlight; an on-site power plant that reuses the heat produced by air conditioning; an on-site recycling facility; energy efficient lighting systems; and air-tight construction that minimises energy loss through the external fabric of the building.

In December 2008, Sainsbury’s signed an agreement with a wind farm project in South Lanarkshire. Under the agreement, the farm, due to be completed by summer 2009, will provide enough power for four stores, saving around 65,000 tonnes of carbon from fossil power stations and providing up to 1% of the retailer’s energy needs.

Environmental Store Concepts

In August 2008, Sainsbury’s unveiled its flagship environmental store at Dartmouth in Devon at a cost of around GBP10 million. The new store features a series of environmentally friendly measures such as solar powered fans, wind turbines to power the checkouts and toilets that can be flushed using rainwater. By using renewable energy, the amount of electricity consumed from the national grid has been reduced by 50%. A spokesperson for the retailer said they used 200 trees to build the frame of the store but will be re-planting 400. Carbon emissions from this store are reported to be 40% less than a conventional outlet. Sainsbury’s plans to incorporate some of the sustainable features at this store to other outlets and is aiming to open a minimum of two green supermarkets every year.

In 2010, Sainsbury’s completed a ‘carbon-negative’ store extension. The Durham outlet which opened on March 29, added 50% more space but requires 10% less energy. The reduction has been made due to a number of technologies such as onsite renewable power generation and new, ground-breaking refrigeration technology. Carbon generated in building the extension will be neutralised after just two years.

Sainsbury’s plans to invite design consultants to help it roll-out its green store concept.

In June 2009, Sainsbury’s opened a new energy saving store in Gloucester that uses kinetic energy generated by customer vehicles in the car park to power its checkouts. The system uses ‘kinetic road plates,’ which generate around 30KW of green energy each hour. If successful the scheme could be rolled out to other Sainsbury’s stores. Other energy saving measures introduced at the store include rainwater harvesting to flush the toilets and solar thermal panels to heat the stores hot water. During the store’s construction 90% of the waste building material was reused or recycled.

In October 2008, Sainsbury’s selected an LED lighting solution for freezer cabinets supplied by Phillips. The LED lighting is reported to save around 75% of energy compared to conventional lighting and the lit effect has now been improved by 150%. So far the lighting solution has been installed across 350 stores, amounting to some 15,000 pieces of the Affinium LED freezer lighting modules. According to Phillips, Sainsbury’s is the first retailer to install the LED lighting.