Sainsbury’s outlines science-based targets to slash emissions on the path to net-zero

Pictured: One of Sainsbury's' zero-emission electric 'Evie' vans

The supermarket giant announced last year that it wanted to become a net-zero business ten years ahead of the UK’s 2050 deadline and backed this ambition with a £1bn package. Today (4 January), Sainsbury’s announced new science-based, interim targets to underpin the delivery of this long-term goal.

The retailer will strive to cut its Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions as much as possible. Key emissions hot spots across these scopes include electricity, heat and refrigerants used at stores and depots, as well as fuel used for Sainsbury’s’ fleet. The business operates trucks for store deliveries, smaller vans for home deliveries and company cars.

Progress has already been made to reduce emissions in many of these areas. Sainsbury’s has fitted more than one million Aerofoils – devices which stop cold air from spilling out – to its fridges in stores. It has also installed LED lighting in stores, switched to battery-and-kinetic-powered pallet trucks and begun integrating fully electric home delivery vans into its fleet.

Overall, Sainsbury’s’ Scope 1 emissions and Scope 2 emissions respectively have decreased by 42% and 46% since 2004.

As is the case with many businesses, however, the bulk of Sainsbury’s’ emissions footprint is accounted for by Scope 3 (indirect) sources. It has, therefore, set a new ambition to reduce emissions from Scope 3 by 30% by 2030. This target covers emissions from purchased goods and services, upstream transport and distribution and the direct use of sold products. A focus area will be supporting suppliers to set their own science-based carbon reduction targets.

The Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has validated Sainsbury’s’ targets in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C.

“Setting bold science-based targets across our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions strengthens our long-standing commitment to protecting the environment and tackling climate change,” Sainsbury’s’ chief executive Simon Roberts said.

“We are making significant progress on our road to net-zero. However, we can’t get there on our own, to make a meaningful difference to climate change we need to collaborate with industry, work closely with our suppliers and engage our colleagues and customers.

“We have one opportunity to get this right, so it is really important that we continue to be ambitious and innovate.”

Sarah George

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