Halving our carbon footprint by 2030

As a growing retailer with activities involving stores, distribution centres and offices, we are aware that we not only consume natural resources but also produce waste and emissions that impact the environment, people and future generations. We therefore strive to reduce the emissions from our own operations by 50% by 2030.

Reducing energy and emissions

Energy use in our stores, distribution centres and outbound logistics (like transport of products from distribution centres to stores) emit greenhouse gases. These direct emissions (Scope 1) and indirect emissions from purchased electricity (Scope 2) are at the heart of our energy and emission reduction strategy. Our ambition is to reduce our Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% by 2030 (versus the 2020 baseline).

Our stores

As our stores significantly contribute to our overall energy consumption, we have accelerated our emission reduction efforts in our stores to achieve:

  • Energy consumption reduction by 15% per m2 by 2024 (versus 2020);
  • Gas connections removed from all stores by the end of 2024;
  • Renewable energy used in all stores by the end of 2022.

To reduce energy consumption in our stores, we have implemented a digital electricity management system. By the end of 2021, 50% of our stores had digital meters, connected to an energy management portal. This allows us to benchmark the performance of our stores and to identify irregular consumption patterns. In the course of 2022, all our stores will be connected to the portal.

Waste stream stores

Our distribution centres

We build our distribution centres based on the latest technological construction requirements for ecological and environmentally friendly operations, in alignment with BREEAM standards, an international rating system for sustainable building constructions. The distribution centres (DCs) completed in 2021 have a Very Good (Bratislava, Slovakia) and an Excellent (BierĂșn, Poland) BREEAM rating. For future distribution centres, BREEAM Excellent certification will become our standard.

We run our distribution centres in an energy efficient manner: in and around the distribution centres, we use electric transport to limit CO2 emissions and reduce noise and exhaust levels on site. Our distribution centres are fitted with LED lights and light sensors, reducing energy consumption. To identify further energy saving potential, we regularly conduct energy audits and update functional specifications to include these audit findings.

Key steps on the way to halving our carbon footprint by 2030 for our distribution centres are:

  • Energy consumption reduction;
  • Doubling our own energy generation capacity by 2024 (versus 2020) by installing solar panels;
  • Renewable energy used in all distribution centres by the end of 2022.

Product transportation

Our innovative double-decker trucks can carry 60% more freight than conventional trucks. For the transport of products from DCs to stores, diesel will be phased out over time. We consider electric transport as the long-term solution for transportation. These technologies are, however, not yet available at a sufficient scale. We are therefore considering intermediate solutions for the coming years.

We intend to roll-out the use of HVO to a substantial part of our fleet operating from the Netherlands. This alternative fuel made of waste resources generates up to 90% lower CO2 emissions compared to diesel. We will also invest in two electric trucks to assess the possibilities and implications of the electrification of our (entire) truck fleet.

In 2021, the average distance between a store and DC was 189 km, 4.5% lower than in 2020. We will continue to accomplish shorter average distances by further expanding our logistics network with new DCs or hubs every year.

Managing our waste streams

Cardboard and plastic are collected in the stores and distribution centres and recycled. At our distribution centres, we compress the volume of cardboard and plastic before it is passed on to recycling facilities. By reducing the volume, we can transport these materials more efficiently, which helps minimise CO2 emissions. The compressed bales also comply with the recycling facilities’ standard way of working, so no extra handling is required.
We prevent plastic use by only stretch wrapping the upper part of the roll containers, saving an estimated 30% in plastics compared to fully wrapping each container. We also process damaged and returned products, primarily to avoid these products becoming waste. Other waste streams are separated so they can be recycled or processed separately. We also reuse and recycle our store materials and provide our customers with an organised way to dispose of batteries, light bulbs and small electrical appliances. We do this in partnership with local partners and initiatives such as Intesia in Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain; GP Groot, Stichting Open and Stibat in the Netherlands and Cebat in Belgium.

Read more about how we strive to reduce our energy and emissions