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Sainsbury’s accelerates its emission reduction commitments advancing towards net zero

Sainsbury’s has shared its ambitious new targets for reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These have been verified by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), the… View Article


Sainsbury’s accelerates its emission reduction commitments advancing towards net zero

Sainsbury’s has shared its ambitious new targets for reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

These have been verified by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), the global body that sets and approves emission reduction targets.

In 2020, Sainsbury’s was among the first UK retailers to establish SBTi-validated targets. The retailer had initially committed to reducing its absolute scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% by 2030 but has now increased this commitment to a 68% reduction within the same timeframe*.

Sainsbury’s previous scope 3 emission reduction target of 30% by 2030 has been expanded into two distinct commitments. Its operational target, covering areas such as transport, energy use, and manufacturing sites, has been raised to 50.4%*, demonstrating the retailer’s commitment to addressing GHG emissions throughout its value chain. Additionally, following the SBTi’s new requirements, Sainsbury’s has established validated targets for reducing scope 3 GHG emissions from forests, land, and agriculture (FLAG), pledging a 36.4% reduction by 2030*.

Sainsbury’s new targets align with its goal of achieving net zero in its operations by 2035 and across its value chain by 2050, adhering to its commitment to the Paris Agreement’s objective of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

In collaboration with other signatories of the WWF Retailer Commitment for Nature, Sainsbury’s has urged its suppliers, particularly those accounting for a substantial portion of its scope 3 emissions, to establish approved science-based targets by the end of 2025.

The retailer continues to collaborate with WRAP and other signatories to identify major opportunities for collective action on emission reduction.

Ruth Cranston, Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Sainsbury’s, stated: “Having our updated targets validated by the SBTi marks a significant advancement. The impacts of climate change are increasingly evident, so it’s crucial that we take action now to reduce emissions and protect and restore nature, building a resilient future for everyone. Achieving net zero by 2050 will necessitate a transformation across our entire business, supply chains, and the ways we assist our customers in making more informed choices. Collaboration within the industry is essential to drive the change needed.”

Catherine David, Director of Behaviour Change and Business Programmes at WRAP, commented: “We commend Sainsbury’s for its collaborative efforts towards net zero and for setting clear, validated targets. Achieving the necessary scale and pace of GHG reductions requires transforming how we produce and consume food. Sainsbury’s leadership through its commitment to Courtauld 2030, which focuses on collaborative achievement of essential environmental targets in sustainable food production, is exemplary.”

Sainsbury’s has made significant strides in reducing its GHG emissions in its operations and is progressing in addressing its value chain emissions. Recently, Sainsbury’s received an A rating for its climate change commitments from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) for the tenth consecutive year, becoming the only UK supermarket to achieve this distinction. The retailer was also acknowledged by CDP as a 2023 Supplier Engagement Leader for its initiatives to engage suppliers in climate action.

Key measures Sainsbury’s has implemented to reduce its scope 1 and 2 emissions include:
• Phasing out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and natural gas in its stores by introducing more efficient refrigeration systems and utilizing excess heat for store heating.
• Switching to 100% LED lighting across its portfolio, which has cut lighting energy usage by an average of 70%.
• Adopting 100% renewable electricity across its properties and enhancing on-site energy generation at its stores.
• Opening its most energy-efficient supermarket in Hook, Hampshire, which consumes half the energy of a comparable Sainsbury’s store and uses 25% less electricity.

Efforts to reduce its scope 3 emissions include:
• Launching a new Taste the Difference Aberdeen Angus range in select stores, which boasts a 25% lower carbon footprint than the industry standard, creating the UK’s largest low-carbon beef range.
• Requiring suppliers to report their site-level emissions and reduction strategies through Manufacture 2030 and HIGG (sustainability and analytics platforms), aiding the identification of decarbonisation.

*Original targets established on a FY2019 base year.

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