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Green(er) grocer

19 August, 2022

Many of the solutions that will help us reach net zero rely on technology developments. And although plenty of these solutions are already mature and available to use, there are also plenty of promising technologies that aren’t. 

But rather than just waiting for the solutions to appear, Sainsbury’s has committed to accelerate their development through its £5M innovation investment fund. This will see the supermarket invest a minimum of £5 million over the next four years into start-up businesses commercialising innovative, sustainable technologies that look to reduce operational carbon emissions and water usage. 

In a similar way to insetting, which involves investing in offsetting projects that are located directly within a company’s value chain, these investments will deliver financial returns while supporting the company’s sustainability objectives, which in this case involve a 2035 ‘net zero’ target (to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions 50% by 2030 from a 2019 base year and offset scope 1 and 2 emissions entirely by 2035). 

But as well as supporting Sainsbury’s own ambitions, we know that it’s the same solutions in electricity, logistics, heating and cooling, and food waste and water that will help other businesses to deliver emissions reductions. For example, Sainsbury’s innovative Aerofoil technology (which works by preventing cold air from leaving chiller cabinets, instead directing it back into the unit) has reduced energy consumption by 15% since its introduction in 2017 and has since been rolled out by other retailers. 

Aligning the investment strategy with the sustainability strategy is exactly the kind of thinking we need to deliver net zero: not just to relying on solutions appearing but finding opportunities to accelerate the transition for businesses. 

By Patrick Bapty

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