Sainsbury’s has credited new technologies and improved green skills for engineers with helping it reduce its carbon footprint.
The supermarket has achieved an absolute reduction of 6% since 2007/8, despite growing its floor space by around 25% over the last four years.
With the 2012 Carbon Disclosure Project Report published this week, Neil Sachdev, property director at Sainsbury’s, said: “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 UK retailer 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% absolute by 2020, against a baseline of 2005/6. This is part of a broader target of an absolute carbon reduction of 50% 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.