Woolworth’s Sustainability Report: CO2, Water Intensity Jump 9%, 22%
Australia-based retailer Woolworths’ carbon intensity increased 9 percent year-on-year following last year’s 8 percent decline, according to the company’s latest sustainability report.
The company’s carbon intensity increased from 881 metric tons of CO2e per million Australian dollars revenue in 2011 to 962 in 2012. In 2010, Woolworths emitted 956 metric tons of CO2e per million Australian dollars revenue.
The report did not give a reason for the increase in carbon intensity, nor for a similar increase in energy intensity. Over the year the company’s energy intensity increased 10.8 percent, from 3,325 Gj per million Australian dollars of revenue in 2011 to 3,685 in 2012.
Total carbon emissions in Australia and New Zealand were 4.09 Mt, remaining static for a third straight year. Woolworths’ emissions from facilities totaled 3.34 Mt in 2012, which is a 2.3 percent reduction in emissions compared to the previous year.
The company’s emissions were 16.5 percent below “business-as-usual projections” – an estimate of the company’s emissions if it did nothing to combat CO2 emissions – the report says.
Woolworths says it has more than 100 active energy efficiency projects, addressing areas of refrigeration, air conditioning, lighting and general power. Company divisions Supermarkets Australia, BIG W, Dan Murphy’s, BWS, Petrol and Dick Smith all benefit from these initiatives, the report says.
The company’s “Project CO2,” which focuses on the refrigeration fit-out in new stores and existing store refurbishments, is Woolworths’ main initiative aimed at delivering reductions in energy use, carbon emissions and operational costs for supermarkets. Improved lighting plans for Supermarkets, BIG W and Dan Murphy’s include selective use of LED lights and T5 fluorescent lamps, the report says.
Two photovoltaic systems at the company’s Petrol division sites in Hume and Belconnen in the Australian Capital Territory generated 80,269 kWh, reducing carbon emissions by 86 tonnes – the same as taking 20 cars off the road, the report says.
With innovation in load planning, network optimization and the predominant use of biodiesel made from waste materials, the Woolworths-owned logistics fleet has achieved a key sustainability target, reducing carbon emissions per carton delivered by 25.6 percent – although the report did not say over what time period. Some 99.8 of the Australian car fleet has converted to diesel and hybrid vehicles, the report says.
Woolworths’ water intensity increased 22 percent year-on-year from 560 kiloliters per million Australian dollars in 2011 to 685 in 2012. Woolworths’ Australian supermarkets used an estimated 2.08 gigaliters of water. Again, the report did not give a reason for the increase in water intensity.
Water is used throughout the company’s business but is “more material” to Woolworths’ supply chain, where it depends on Australian farmers for reliable supplies of fresh food, the report says.
Woolworths’ Fresh Food Future program, in partnership with Landcare Australia, has funded projects that have improved water efficiency and the understanding of water usage in food production. Bratasha Farm, in Queensland, has been a supplier to Woolworths since its establishment almost two decades ago and currently supplies various vegetables through a hydroponic system. Funding from the program enabled the installation of a water storage tank and water treatment technology. Water will now be reused two or three times at the site, saving an estimated 7 million liters, and fertilizer use is expected to be reduced by 30 to 40 percent, the report says.
The company’s waste intensity dropped around 4.5 percent from 45 metric tons per million Australian dollars of revenue in 2011 to 43 metric tons in 2012. Waste to landfill from Supermarkets Australia, BIG W and PEL reduced by 16.7 percent, the report says.
Strategies employed to reduce waste include improved ordering systems and stock rotation aimed at preventing food going out of date. The company also tries to discounting blemished produce or products with damaged packaging to generates sales rather than waste. Furthermore, partnerships with food banks and local food charities, and diversion programs to composting and waste to energy facilities, have diverted a total of 6,713 metric tons of food waste from landfill in Australia, the report says, although it doesn’t say over what time period.
In total for 2012, the company diverted 8,391 metric tons of food waste and 204,817 metric tons of recyclable material from landfill.
For Environmental Leader’s coverage of Woolworths’ 2011 report click here.
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