Sainsbury's brings forward net zero target after campaign

The supermarket now aims to reach the milestone by 2035.

10/27/2021 8:25:00 PM

The supermarket now aims to reach the milestone by 2035.

The supermarket now aims to reach the milestone by 2035.

SharesSainsbury’s moves net zero target closer in victory for\’s Time to Shelve campaign (Picture: Getty/’s is bringing forward its net zero climate target – days after being told it is ‘Time to Shelve’ damaging environmental practices by

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The country’s second biggest supermarket chain says it is ramping up efforts to reduce its emissions and is now aiming to get to net zero by 2035 – five years earlier than previously planned.The move, which brings the company in line with the landmark Paris agreement, won praise from the President of the upcoming COP26 conference in Glasgow.

But it is unclear how much one of the summit’s main sponsors will be ‘offsetting’ its emissions, by doing things like planting trees to make up for emitting carbon through other activities.Net Zero means that any greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere are being offset by other initiatives to store or remove carbon. So a plan to be Net Zero by 2035 means the two will be balanced by that date.

It’s Time to Shelve campaign, which called on supermarkets to be more environmentally friendly, as part of our Just1Change series in the run-up to COP.Sainsbury’s says it will be using 100% renewable electricity across its estate by the end of the year, significantly reducing its reliance on fossil fuels.

Net Zero means any greenhouse gases emitted are balanced with what is removed from the atmosphere (Picture: AFP)The company has cut its carbon footprint by 47% in the last 17, years despite growing its floor space by more than 40%.And in the last year, it has reduced its absolute greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations by 25,580 tonnes of CO2 year-on-year.

Yet a plan to be carbon neutral in just under 13 years remains ambitious and many similar targets are said by experts to be reliant on technology which does not yet exist.In ourTime to Shelve campaign, Sainsbury’s won praise for a number of initiatives

, but was mainly given ‘making progress’ scores in our checklist – and had far fewer green ticks than many of its competitors.Greenpeace told the supermarket to do more about eliminating plastic packaging from fruit and vegetables and to make packaging more reusable and refillable.

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How the supermarkets compared (Picture: Getty/ environmental group also called on the company to do more with its supply chain, particularly on suppliers with links to deforestation – after Sainsbury’s declined our request to commit to cutting ties with toxic suppliers.

Anna Jones, head of food and forests at Greenpeace UK, told us previously: ‘Sainsburys does at least cite the need to cut supply chain emissions in the next 10 years, but it’s still not enough. And they still source from forest destroyers.’But the chain did win praise from the food and environment NGO Feedback, which said its new campaign to encourage more sustainable diets was ‘an important step in the right direction’.

Now Sainsbury’s says it is ‘working collaboratively’ with its suppliers of 30,000 products from more than 70 countries ‘to set their own ambitious net zero commitments’ – and says it has written to 400 top suppliers asking them to report their carbon reduction targets.

It is also launching an online resources called ‘Sainsbury’s Global Farm’, 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’.CEO Simon Roberts acknowledged that ‘action to deliver’ matters more than targets.

He added: ‘We 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.’

COP26 President 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.Co-op is launching a rebranding initiative to coincide with next week’s climate summit (Picture: Co-op)

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‘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.’M&S and Co-op have pledged to get to Net Zero by 2040, with Sainsbury’s calling on other supermarkets to ‘join in on this journey’.

Meanwhile, Co-op has launched a campaign called Co-op26, which has seen six of its flagship stores – including three in Glasgow – rebranded to highlight the importance of next week’s climate summit.The company, which won praise in our Time to Shelve campaign, will encourage its customers to take action on the climate crisis as part of the initiative.

Read more: Metro »

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