U.K.'s Asda lowers carbon footprint 7% in two years

U.K. supermarket slashes emissions by 84,703 tonnes since 2007, despite opening 36 new stores.

U.K. Walmart subsidiary Asda says it has taken more than 80,000 metric tonnes (approximately 88,000 tons) of CO2 equivalent (CO2-eq) out of its operations since 2007, despite opening 36 stores and serving an additional 2.5 million customers each week. The cut in emissions represents a 7% absolute reduction in CO2-eq in just two years. For every £1 million (approx. US$1.5 million) of sales, the supermarket today produces 66 tonnes (72 tons) of CO2-eq compared to 83 tonnes (91 tons) in 2007.

Asda’s carbon reduction announcement comes after Walmart unveiled plans to eliminate a further 20 million tonnes (22 million tons) of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its global supply chain by the end of 2015. This represents 150% of the company’s estimated global carbon footprint growth over the next five years and is the equivalent of taking more than 3.8 million cars off the road for a year.

Along with the reduction of carbon emissions and GHGs, Asda says it is also its focusing on product innovation. The retailer has already developed Respectful Eggs, which use 50% less carbon to produce but cost the same as a standard, free range egg. Asda is also trialling a refillable fabric conditioner dispenser, where customers can refill their 1.5-L pouches up to 10 times, saving them nearly 40p (US60 cents) each visit and reducing the amount of plastic packaging waste by up to 96%. Innovation in pork, dairy, and textiles are planned for later in 2010.

In 2005, then Walmart CEO and president Lee Scott outlined ambitious targets to reduce carbon across its operations. That commitment required Walmart to cut emissions from existing stores by 20% by 2010, and new stores by 30% by 2013. Asda has already reached both targets ahead of deadline. Asda has also confirmed it is on target to send zero waste to landfill by the end of 2010. By reducing, recycling, and reusing all of the materials in its stores and depots, Asda is diverting almost 200,000 tonnes (220,000 tons) of waste compared to 2005.

This year, to achieve its target, it is diverting all food waste from landfill and implementing comprehensive colleague recycling facilities, allowing all its store and depot colleagues to recycle plastic bottles, cans, and office paper. The remaining residual waste will be sent to energy recovery facilities.

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