2009-2011: three years of our journey to sustainability
Energy conservation has been a high priority for us for decades. Three years ago we broadened our strategy to include all of our direct impacts on climate change. As a global food retailer, we acknowledge that our climate change impact goes well beyond our energy consumption emissions. We measured our first Group-wide carbon footprint in 2008. It revealed 65% of our carbon impact is from energy use. A significant portion – nearly 30% – is from refrigerant emissions. As a result, reducing this has been added to our energy efficiency-related goals.
Our primary focus has been operational emissions. We have set a Group goal to reduce our carbon equivalent emissions (CO2e) by 20% per square meter of sales area by 2020. This is against a 2008 baseline. So far we have reduced our emissions by 4% compared to 2008. We are also starting to work with suppliers to cut their emissions. Helping them develop lower-carbon methods of transportation is one example.
On energy efficiency, we have accelerated our approach since 2008 and are now investing substantially in energy efficiency projects that have a good return. By adopting common metrics, we are already able to see financial benefits. Highlights include installing LED lighting, putting doors on refrigerated cases and replacing conventional power sources with solar panels. Continued improvement in reducing our energy consumption is crucial to maintaining a leading position in our markets.
We are also committed to the complex and long-term project of reducing refrigerant emissions. Our actions to switch from ozone-depleting to ozone-friendly refrigerants are increasing our emissions. It will take years to reverse the trend. However, we are working hard to address refrigerant leaks and continue to test innovative applications of natural refrigerants.
An important part of our climate change work has been assessing the associated business risks through our Enterprise Risk Management. More extreme weather threatens both the supply and demand of products. The increased costs from legislation, taxation on fossil fuels, and rising prices need to be factored into our supply chain and business modeling.
Risks and opportunities
The risks and opportunities for climate change outlined in our 2010 report continue to be relevant to our business this year.
- More extreme weather leading to uncertain supply and demand of products
- Increased costs from legislation, taxation on fossil fuels and rising prices
- Reputational risk of being seen as a laggard
- Securing supply
- Reducing energy costs through efficiencies and
- Driving the growing energy efficiency and low carbon markets in our sector
What are we doing about climate change?
We work with Environmental Resources Management (ERM) to measure the GHG emissions from our global operations. This data is assured by external consultancy Ernst & Young. We submitted our second report to the Carbon Disclosure Project in 2011 for 2010 data.
Group 20% reduction in CO2 equivalent emissions per m2 of sales area (against 2008 baseline year—2020)
CO2 equivalent emissions per m² sales, tonnes CO₂e/m²
From 2010 to 2011 our Group-wide energy consumption per square meter decreased 3.3% to 786 kWh/m². Putting doors on refrigerated cases has been very effective. We continued to increase the number of doors installed on refrigerated cases in 2011. At Food Lion this saved about 11 million kWh and USD 1 060 000. The results have been shared across Delhaize America. Investments in initiatives like retrofitting LED lights in frozen food displays and doors on medium-temperature display cases, continue to take place across most of our banners.
Our operating companies are testing various initiatives for monitoring energy consumption:
At Delhaize America, Sweetbay adapted a Food Lion initiative to apply a “high utility checklist,” verifying that equipment throughout our stores is operating at optimal setting. 30 stores underwent audits this year, they will be continued year on year to ensure continued peak performance.
At Mega Image, a pilot project in one store is integrating control systems for managing emissions from refrigeration, HVAC, and lighting. These results will be reviewed in 2012.
By remodeling existing stores and building more efficient new ones we continue to push innovations in green buildings.
In 2011 Food Lion added two LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) stores bringing its total to three.
Sweetbay received its first-ever Energy Star certifications for 53 of its 105 stores. Achieving this certification for over 50% of their stores is a remarkable accomplishment.
Switch refrigerants from ozone-depleting substances to ozone-friendly HFCs or other refrigerants throughout the Group, while minimizing global warming potential— ongoing
We continue to use more ozone-friendly refrigerants. In 2011, 49% of total refrigerants used were ozone-friendly, compared to 42% in 2010. Our operating companies are making great progress toward achieving this goal.
In 2011, the percentage of Alfa Beta stores with only ozone-friendly refrigerants grew to 99% from 73% in 2010. Switching from ozone-depleting refrigerants to ozone-friendly refrigerants has been made part of the store renovation process.
Most ozone-friendly refrigerants have higher global warming potential than the chemicals they are replacing. This dilemma puts pressure on our GHG emissions, which is reflected in the last few years’ data. We are working to reverse this data trend though. In 2011 Hannaford implemented a system to indicate refrigerant leaks early. Delhaize Belgium has combined classical ozone-friendly refrigerants with CO2. Two distribution centers in Delhaize America were converted to ammonia-based refrigeration.
Since 2009 we have seen a significant increase in energy generated by on-site solar panels. In 2011 alone we generated and used 2 656 MWh of solar energy. This is an increase of 162% from 2010. Much of this increase is from Delhaize Belgium, which continued its expansion of solar panel installations.
At Alfa Beta’s Greenstore, three types of renewable energy sources have been used: solar, wind and geothermal. While it has good experience installing solar photovoltaic systems from other stores, the wind and geothermal are more experimental. The geothermal system, used to cover part of the air conditioning load, will be evaluated over a three year period.
In 2011 we managed to cut Group-wide transport kilometers to our company-operated stores by 2% compared to 2010. This was achieved even as sales grew. By optimizing the fill rate of trucks and limiting the number of empty trips they make (through backhauling), Delhaize Belgium decreased travel from our trucks and third-party trucks to company-operated stores by 178 112km.
Focusing on logistics has also led to more sustainable transportation alternatives, such as by boat (Port wine from Portugal) and train (Cava wine from Spain). Since 2009 we have decreased the amount of fuel used by our own trucks across the Group during product distribution to company operated stores by 7.8%. Delhaize America has contributed to this decrease by upgrading portions of their tractor fleet each year to improve efficiency and emissions.
What do our stakeholders think about it?
Our company has a long-standing commitment to protect the environment by continually identifying new ways to enhance our energy efficiency and reducing our refrigeration impact. To reinforce our commitment to being a socially responsible corporate citizen, we support refrigerant emission reductions through the Environmental Protection Agency's GreenChill partnership, investigate new environmentally friendly technologies and strive to continually increase the number of stores that are Energy Star Certified.
Energy and Maintenance Manager, Delhaize America