Sainsbury’s outline how they have set about building and maintaining their most environmentally friendly stores to date.
- Zero impact on the water usage of the local catchment
- Zero waste goes to landfill
- Zero carbon emissions are generated from all operational energy used
Every aspect of the new builds was considered in such a way that would minimise carbon intensity including low levels of embodied carbon in materials used, maximising natural light, utilising the most energy efficient technologies and maximising renewable energy generation potential.
Like all Sainsbury’s stores, none the waste from stores goes to landfill and any waste generated through construction has been reused or recycled. Any surplus food is donated to local charities or made into animal feed, and when it is not suitable for consumption it is used to generate energy through anaerobic digestion. And, all general waste is recycled or turned into fuel.
The water required for this ‘Water Neutral’ store has been met through water efficient measures and infrastructure, as well as an offsetting partnership in the local community. 70% of the water demand for the stores has come from rainwater harvesting and other water efficient initiatives. Sainsbury’s worked with an academic partner to support in the water foot printing of various processes to help them prioritise efficiencies. Water efficient technologies have been utilised wherever possible to minimise the amount of waste water. Widely available technologies such automatic taps for staff and customers and water efficient dishwashers were some quick wins. Other water using processes were examined to see where efficiencies could be made.
The remaining 30% of water, which is potable water for food preparation, has been offset by supporting local community groups on water saving initiatives to substantially reduce their annual water bill. This approach has saved the equivalent of over 30% of the average Sainsbury’s potable store water usage. This means the total water used within the local catchment areas will not increase as a result of the new stores arriving in the local area. This collaboration with local community groups has also put Sainsbury’s in good standing locally and has led to positive press about the stores in the local areas.
Some companies highlighted that their Boards are less bought-in to water management than energy as it is seen as a relatively small cost. In order to develop a water strategy that a Board can buy into businesses need to understand their actual resilience to water. Water as a business imperative can be assessed by trying to understand how resilient a business is to extreme changes in water, for example if there is too little (water scarcity); too much (flooding) or it is not the right quality.
Business in the Community is currently running a Water Taskforce in partnership with United Utilities. The project is led by a national Water Taskforce chaired by Steve Mogford, CEO of United Utilities and brings together the water industry, interested businesses and key stakeholders, providing a forum to address important sustainability issues from a water perspective. The Taskforce is asking businesses how they consider water management challenges and opportunities in running their operations and managing their supply chains in order to understand how they can be supported to better value water.