Sainsbury’s cuts five years from target to become Net Zero by 2035 in its own operations

Sainsbury’s has strengthened its commitment to tackle the climate crisis by accelerating its target to become Net Zero in its own operations by 2035, five years earlier than its original ambition and aligned to UN’s goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

The retailer has cut its carbon footprint by 47% in the last 17 years despite its space increasing by over 40%. In the last year, Sainsbury’s has reduced its absolute greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations by 25,580 tCO2e, year-on-year.

To help achieve its target Sainsbury’s will install 100% LED lighting across its supermarkets by the end of this year, reducing lighting energy consumption by 70% and store energy consumption by 20%. This follows an extensive financial investment of £320 million in the past ten years, funding more than 3,100 sustainable initiatives.

By the end of the year the supermarket will be using 100% renewable electricity across its entire estate and has committed to the long-term purchasing of renewable energy from new wind farms and solar projects to be built over the next two years, significantly reducing its reliance on fossil fuels.

The United Nations this year warned that global warming of 2 degrees will be exceeded during the 21st century unless emissions are rapidly reduced in the coming decades. Sainsbury’s has moved forward its goal for net zero in its own operations, recognising that we must all act now to protect the planet for generations to come.

The retailer has made significant progress in the last two years, reducing its greenhouse gas emissions in its own operations by 14%. However, to meet its ambition target Sainsbury’s acknowledges that it will need to collaborate with government, industry, suppliers and academia to share knowledge and find solutions.

As a retailer sourcing over 30,000 products from over 70 countries Sainsbury’s is also working collaboratively with its suppliers to set their own ambitious net zero commitments, with the goal of reducing Scope 3 emissions in its value chain by 30% by 2030. This includes reducing emissions from purchased goods and services sold, upstream transport and distribution and the direct use of sold products. This year Sainsbury’s has written to 400 of its top suppliers asking them to report and disclose against their carbon reduction targets.

To showcase the incredible work its food producers are already doing to tackle climate change, the retailer has launched ‘Sainsbury’s Global Farm’, an online resource connecting customers with different suppliers around the world. In partnership with LEAF, a global charity which develops and promotes sustainable farming, Sainsbury’s hopes to raise awareness of where food comes from, how it is produced and how the retailer is working with farmers to drive lasting positive change in the communities it serves and sources from. Customers will be able to meet the farmers behind some of their favourite food and discover how their farming practices are better for the planet.

Simon Roberts, CEO of Sainsbury’s, said:

“The clock is ticking. Climate targets matter – but action to deliver them matters more. The progress we’ve made has enabled us to accelerate our own targets and move faster to cut our emissions. We recognise that we not only have a responsibility to our colleagues and the communities we serve in the UK, but to those we source from globally, to reduce the impact our business has on the environment. The United Nations report made clear that we all need to step up our efforts and be ambitious in our pursuits to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

“We have a strong heritage in reducing our own emissions and are collaborating closely with our suppliers to ensure we’re driving positive change across our value chain too. Tackling the climate emergency requires collaborative and transformational thinking across industry and government, and a willingness to work together and share learnings globally, so that we can all take meaningful, immediate action. I’m really proud that Sainsbury’s continues to lead the charge and encourage others to change and evolve with us for the benefit of all.”

COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma said:

“With the COP26 climate summit starting in a few days, I am delighted that our Principal Partner, Sainsbury’s, will be going net zero by 2035. This is a great example of the climate leadership we need across all sectors as we work together to keep 1.5 degrees within reach.”

Business and Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng said:

“We are putting businesses at the very heart of our efforts to end the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050, with our landmark Net Zero Strategy setting out how going green and economic growth can go hand in hand.

“With the historic UN COP26 climate summit in Glasgow just days away, it is fantastic to see a heavyweight brand like Sainsbury’s showing leadership by accelerating their plans to reach net zero emissions by 2035. I hope this will encourage other businesses to show the same level of ambition.”

Sainsbury’s is calling on other retailers and businesses to join it on this journey and will endeavour to help customers make more sustainable product choices, helping everyone eat better for themselves and for the planet.

As part of its role as Principal Supermarket Partner at next month’s COP26, Sainsbury’s will work collaboratively with world leaders, climate experts and businesses at the centre of decision making to help drive lasting change.

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