Kroger Sustainability Report: Fleet Efficiency Up 9.75%
The company uses transportation management systems to improve the use of its store delivery and inbound fleets, the report says. In 2011, Kroger equipped its tractors with on-board computers to allow real-time tracking of store deliveries en route. The company says that this allows the driver to be “more effective and make the appropriate adjustments when necessary to protect on-time deliveries.”
Other improvements come from improving “cube efficiency” – or how tightly a truck is packed with product – and increasing the miles per gallon the trucks achieve, the report says.
These efficiency metrics were raised by methods including improving the aerodynamic design of tractors and trailers; using clean engine technology; installing an automatic tire inflation system; expanding the use of multi-temperature trucks to transport frozen, refrigerated and dry goods in one haul; improving the insulation of refrigerated trucks; and standardizing top speeds and idling protocols, the report says.
In 2011, Kroger’s total carbon footprint fell around 2 percent to just over 6.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, with decreases in both scope 1 and scope 2 emissions. The report says that the company increased in both size and sales revenue over that time period.
The company’s “fugitive refrigerant” emissions fell 3.8 percent over the course 0f 2011. Over the past few years, Kroger implemented a new management reporting system that is says has improved the information available regarding emissions from such refrigerants. From this new reporting system, Kroger determined that its fugitive refrigerant emissions increased in 2010 and 2011 from previously reported numbers. Kroger says that the numbers previously reported were based on a reporting system that was not as robust as the new one implemented in mid-2010.
Despite the reduction in 2011, the company expects its fugitive refrigerant figures to increase over time as it converts grocery stores from HCFC systems to HFC systems. The company has investigated the cost and efficacy of natural refrigerants but has determined that it is currently cost prohibitive to change to such coolants.
Last year, the company began the first full year of operation of wind turbines at its Lancaster, Penn., dairy. In 2011, the turbines generated more than 5.3 million kWh of electricity. They will supply a quarter of the dairy’s annual energy needs.
That year also saw Kroger complete its first phase of solar photovoltaic systems on the roofs of four stores. When the project is completed, Kroger stores will be able to produce nearly 585,000 kWh per year, the company says.
The company says its “working aggressively” in all areas to reduce its energy consumption. Since 2000, Kroger has reduced it overall energy consumption in stores by 31 percent. Kroger’s report says that it has saved more than 2.34 billion kWh of electricity, which equals 1.47 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. The report does not specify over what time period the reduction occurred, but given that its yearly reduction in CO2e was somewhere in the region of 0.12 million metric tons of CO2e, it is safe to assume that this is not an annual energy saving figure.
LED lighting upgrades are now complete in nearly all Kroger stores’ glass-door frozen food cases, the report says. The company is also working on installing LED lighting on its fresh meat cases and in its back room coolers and freezers. Newer stores are using motion sensors in many of their service departments, back rooms and other areas. Each store now uses a specially-designed energy management system that monitors and controls energy usage in the store’s refrigeration, heating and cooling units.
Today, one of Kroger’s new stores will consume 30 percent less energy than a store built in 2000, the report says.
Kroger Manufacturing used 1,967,920,000 gallons of water last year. This represents a reduction of about 7 million gallons, or less than 1 percent, from 2010 levels. The most successful Kroger plant in terms of water reduction was the company’s Tamarack plant in Ohio, which reduced its water use by 18.44 percent in 2011.
The company’s Westover Dairy Plant in Virginia reduced its consumption by 12.89 percent year-on-year, the report says. The facility distils water for Kroger’s bottled water range and saved around 530,400 gallons in 2011 through the reuse of wastewater generated by the distilling process.
In October, the company announced that 65 percent of its top 20 wild-caught seafood species are sourced from fisheries meeting its sustainability standards, on its way to a goal of 100 percent by 2015.
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