Aldi on track to be carbon-neutral by 2019
Discount supermarket chain Aldi has today (August 9) announced it is on track to achieve carbon neutrality in its operations in the UK and Ireland by the end of next year, following a string of multi-million-pound investments in renewable energy arrays and energy efficiency measures.
The company, which was this year named the UK’s fastest-growing supermarket, revealed that it is on track to hit net-zero emissions within the next 16 months, after installing 388 solar panel systems at its stores and distribution centres since 2012.
Within that same timeframe, Aldi also secured a deal to purchase 100% renewable energy for its UK and Ireland facilities and made a £20m investment in upgrading its fridges and freezers to more energy-efficient models. Moreover, all of Aldi's stores, distribution centres and offices across the UK and Ireland are now powered by 100% renewable energy.
These moves have collectively enabled Aldi to hit its 2020 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions generated per m2 of sales floor in the UK and Ireland by 30%, three years early.
Following this progress, Aldi’s corporate responsibility managing director, Fritz Walleczek, said the company will now begin purchasing carbon credits through offsetting firm ClimatePartner in a drive to offset its remaining emissions by the end of next year.
“Becoming carbon-neutral is a key part of our corporate responsibility commitments,” Walleczek said. “We are continually reviewing our operations to reduce emissions and be kinder to the environment, while also future-proofing our growing store portfolio for many years to come.”
The carbon-offsetting scheme will see Aldi contribute to global carbon-cutting initiatives, including programmes protecting forests in Peru, improving water sanitation in India and supporting the roll-out of clean cooking stoves in China.
Aldi South Group, which operates across Germany, Austria, the UK, Ireland, the US, and Australia, has made several moves to reduce carbon in recent months. The Group recently announced that it would align its future sustainability strategy with the "well below two degrees" target set through the Paris Agreement. Aldi's current sustainability strategy targets a range of 2020 emissions reductions goals against a 2012 baseline.
Emissions intensity study
Aldi's carbon-neutrality announcement comes in the same week that a new study has been released which estimates the carbon footprints of Britain's 10 largest supermarkets.
The study, carried out by carbon footprint analyst Engaged Tracking, estimated Sainsbury’s to be the nation's "greenest" supermarket, with an emissions intensity 12 times lower than that of Iceland – which was cited as the "worst polluting supermarket" on the list.
Incidentally, Aldi was ranked 8th out of the 10 supermarkets listed in the study, which estimated each supermarkets’ emissions based on industry benchmarks. An Aldi spokesperson told edie: "We do not believe the report is a credible reflection of our position on energy consumption and usage."
Future-proofing business at Responsible Retail 2018
Solving key challenges – including modern slavery, supply chain involvement and the circular economy – will be some of the key themes of edie's third annual Responsible Retail conference, taking place on 20 September 2018 at 99 City Road, London.
The full-day event has been designed for the retailers, sustainability professionals and key stakeholders that are looking for the information, insight and inspiration required to seize the sustainability opportunity.