Sainsbury’s has committed to investing £1 billion over the next 20 years towards becoming a net zero business across its own operations by 2040, aligned to the highest ambitions of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and a decade ahead of the UK Government’s own target.
The retailer’s current carbon footprint is one million tonnes, which is a 35% absolute reduction in the last 15 years despite its space increasing by 46% over the same time frame.
For the last six years Sainsbury’s has been awarded an A rating for taking action on Climate Change by the CDP, the highest rating of any UK supermarket.
Sainsbury’s will use the £1 billion investment to implement a programme of changes, with a focus on reducing carbon emissions, food waste, plastic packaging and water usage and increasing recycling, biodiversity and healthy and sustainable eating.
The investment will enable the business to fulfil Scope one and Scope two emissions, putting the business on course for Net Zero a decade ahead of the UK government’s deadlines.
The retailer will work with the Carbon Trust to assess emissions and set science-based targets for reduction, publicly reporting on progress every six months. The targets will align the business with the goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C, the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement.
Sainsbury’s will work with suppliers to set their own ambitious Net Zero commitments, in line with the Paris Agreement goals.
Mike Coupe, CEO of Sainsbury’s, said: “Our commitment has always been to help customers live well for less, but we must recognise that living well now also means living sustainably.
“We have a duty to the communities we serve to continue to reduce the impact our business has on the environment and we are committing to reduce our own carbon emissions and become Net Zero by 2040, ten years ahead of the government’s own targets, because 2050 isn’t soon enough.
“We have a strong heritage of reducing our carbon emissions – we have reduced them by 35% over the past fifteen years despite the footprint of our business increasing by over 40%. We invested £260 million in over 3,000 initiatives over the last decade, including the start of our LED lighting programme and refrigeration. Over the next 20 years we will invest a further £1 billion in programmes that will transform the way we do business and put environmental impact at the forefront of every decision we make.
“We recognise that we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to make the changes needed to help the planet exist sustainably. We have over 27 million customers each week and almost 180,000 colleagues and we hope that we can collaborate across industries and sectors to help create momentum and drive meaningful change. Only when the trajectory for global warming slows to a maximum of 1.5 degrees will we all know that we can truly live well for less now and in the future.”