UK retailer Sainsbury’s has issued a pledge that its operations will become Net Zero in line with the goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C, the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement, and a decade ahead of the UK Government’s own target. The project will focus on reducing carbon emissions, food waste, plastic packaging, water usage and increasing recycling, biodiversity and healthy and sustainable eating Sainsbury’s will work collaboratively with suppliers and will ask suppliers for their own carbon reduction commitments.
According to a press release issued by the retailer, its current carbon footprint is one million tons, which is a 35% absolute reduction in the last 15 years despite its space increasing by 46% over the same time frame. For the last six years Sainsbury’s has been awarded an A rating for taking action on Climate Change by the CDP, the highest rating of any UK supermarket.
Sainsbury’s will use the £1 billion investment to implement a programme of changes, with a focus on reducing carbon emissions, food waste, plastic packaging and water usage and increasing recycling, biodiversity and healthy and sustainable eating. The investment will enable the business to fulfil Scope one and Scope two emissions, putting the business on course for Net Zero a decade ahead of the UK government’s deadlines.
The retailer will work with the Carbon Trust to assess emissions and set science-based targets for reduction, publicly 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. Sainsbury’s will work with suppliers to set their own ambitious Net Zero commitments, in line with the Paris Agreement goals.
Mike Coupe, now former CEO of Sainsbury’s, said: “Our commitment has always been to help customers live well for less, but we must recognise that living well now also means living sustainably. 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.”
Credit: Peter Nicholls, Reuters, The Times
Sainsbury’s CEO, Mike Coupe, has announced his resignation but will remain in his post until the end of May. His replacement will be current retail and operations director, Simon Roberts. Coupe has denied that his resignation is linked with the collapse of the £12 billion merger with Asda, emphasising that it was his own decision to leave.
Sainsbury’s proposed merger with Asda fell through last year when the CMA found that the deal could lead to higher prices for customers. Speaking to the BBC, Coupe said, “If you looked at our AGM last year, 99.5% of our shareholders voted for me to carry on what I’m doing. It’s absolutely my choice You see the amount of change that is going on in the world of retail, who knows what will happen in the next five to 10 years, but one way or another there will be a significant rationalisation of brands you have taken for granted for a generation.”
A survey in the UK has found that more than a quarter of shoppers say they are “not confident at all” that food labelled as organic has been produced under organic farming methods. As wickedleeks.riverford reports, while shoppers have more ethical considerations when shopping, there is a “deep suspicion” over the labelling of ethical products. The poll was carried out online with 1,000 shoppers by Lloyd’s Register. According to the results, 26.9% of respondents reported being “not confident at all” that the organic label was accurate, while 61% said they were “fairly confident” and 11.8 per cent said they were “very confident”. Similarly, 20% of UK consumers said they were “not confident at all” or “very suspicious” about claims that vegan products do not contain meat.
According to the Food Trends report, “There is a deep suspicion on the part of shoppers regarding ethical food products. In an industry built on trust, this signals that this trust is under threat. This will mean that certification bodies will need to increase their efforts to educate consumers on the role of certification and what the logo represents.”
The report also found the country in which the food is grown to be important for consumers, with 63% saying they check the source country of their food products. A third of respondents also reported being more concerned than they were a year ago about food safety concerns related to outbreaks of listeria or other food borne illnesses.
© Thomas Samson, AFP
UK retailer Marks & Spencer have extended their indoor farms to six other stores in London. In partnership with vertical farming specialist, Infarm, M&S has installed hydroponic indoor units that incorporate machine learning, Internet of Things technology, and eco-controlled systems to ensure the optimum amount of light, air and nutrients are used. Growing a selection of herbs, each unit can be controlled remotely via a cloud-based platform, which learns, adjusts and continually improves to ensure each plant grows better than the last one.
Infarm’s solutions offer environmental benefits, as each unit consumes 95% less water and 75% less fertiliser than soil-based agriculture. Each unit produces the equivalent size crop to 400 square metres of farmland, with absolutely no pesticide use. M&S has announced that it plans to continue rolling out in-store farms over the coming months.
Sales of fresh fruit and of vegetables have both grown 5% in the British grocery market, according to Kantar Worldpanel grocery share data for the 12 weeks to January 31.
The research firm said consumers had clearly sought a healthier start to the year and in doing so turned to fresh foods – particularly fruit and vegetables.
These New Year health kicks contributed to a strong performance across fresh foods, but the revenue growth from fruit and vegetables – which was shared across both traditional and discount retailers – was particularly significant as both categories are still experiencing like-for-like deflation. Similar growth occurred in nuts, fresh poultry and fish but the overall grocery market’s growth was slight, with a total increase of 0.2%, said head of Retail and Consumer Insight, Fraser McKevitt.
British grocery market share
- The Co-operative: for the first time since 2011 the Co-operative was the fastest growing non-discounter, increasing sales by 1.4%. The convenience-focused grocer grew its own-label sales by 7%, with sales up fastest in the fresh and chilled part of the store.
- Sainsbury’s: increased its sales for the sixth period in row, growing by 0.6% with a resulting market share increase of 0.1 percentage points to 16.8%.
- Tesco: showed signs of improvement – while revenues fell by 1.6% .These are the best numbers posted by the retailer since September of last year.
- Waitrose: its market share remained static at 5.2%, sales increased by 0.1%. This makes it the 91st consecutive period of growth for the retailer.
- Discount retailers: Aldi and Lidl: saw their growth accelerate – Lidl to 18.7% and Aldi to 13.7%. Their share of the market increased by 0.7 percentage points, with Lidl’s rising to 4.2% and Aldi’s to 5.6% – a dip from the 10.0% combined market share high they experienced at the end of 2015.
- Morrisons: the sales decline lessened to 2.2%, while market share fell by 0.3 percentage points to 10.8%.
- Asda: recent announcement of renewed price cuts has not yet had time to materially affect its latest 12 week figures, with sales falling by 3.8% and share falling back to 16.2%.
Read more at: Health kick contributes to grocery market growth from Kantar Worldpanel
“Not much festive chair for supermarkets collectively this month with growth falling to a feeble 0.1%.” That’s how Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, began discussing the company’s latest data on grocery share in the UK, covering the 12 weeks to December 6.
Furthermore, like-for-like prices had fallen by 1.9% in the previous month, he said.
But in among the gloom, Sainsbury’s was the stand-out performer. It boosted sales by 1.2%, growing across its convenience, supermarket and online businesses and increasing its market share to 16.7%.
Meanwhile it was a familiar story of falling sales and shrinking share for Tesco, Asda and Morrisons, but for Aldi and Lidl, one of double-digit growth and they “are surely looking forward to a record Christmas market share,” McKevitt said.
Listen to his analysis and read more here: http://www.kantarworldpanel.com/en/Press-Releases/Sainsburys-stands-out-in-the-run-up-to-Christmas