UK – Sainsbury’s has committed to investing £1 billion (US$1.31bn) over the next twenty years towards becoming a Net Zero business across its own operations by 2040.

The investment, which is aligned to the Paris Climate Change Agreement, will be used in the implementation of a programme of changes, with a focus on reducing carbon emissions, food waste, plastic packaging and water usage.

Sainsbury’s will also focus on increasing recycling, biodiversity and healthy and sustainable eating. 

Sainsbury’s plans to will work with the Carbon Trust to assess emissions and set science-based targets for reduction, and do a public 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 while enabling the retailer to fulfil Scope one and Scope two emissions.

Sainsbury’s targets to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions within its own operations to Net Zero, increasing the use of renewable energy by increasing the percentage of its fleet using alternative zero and low carbon fuels to 20% by 2025.

By the end of 2022 Sainsbury’s said that all its stores will be 100% lit by LED while at the same time committing to invest continually in making its fridges as efficient as possible through the use of innovative technology and increasing the use of natural refrigerants.

Sainsbury’s said that it will halve plastic packaging by 2025. By the end of 2020, dark coloured, hard to recycle plastic and polystyrene packaging from own brand ranges will be replaced with recyclable alternatives.

Where possible plastic film on fruit and vegetables will be replaced or removed. For Spring Summer 2020 Sainsbury’s Home Cookshop transit packaging will be removed and replaced by paper, removing 662 tonnes of plastic.

Sainsbury’s has also committed to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030 through its innovative packaging and clearer labelling systems, consumer education and food donation programmes.

The retailer also plans to develop and deliver healthy and sustainable diets for all while nudging customers to a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle

Mike Coupe, CEO of Sainsbury’s, said: ““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.”

The investment will enable the retailer to become carbon neutral 10 years ahead of the UK’s government target for a net-zero economy.