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Sainsbury’s Cut Water Use 50% Since 2005

Sainsbury’s has reduced its operational water use 50 percent relative across its stores, against a 2005-06 baseline, employing a number of measures including recycling, leak detection and rainwater harvesting.

The water savings equal about 982,500 cubic meters each year, Sainsbury’s says.

The UK supermarket chain ramped up its water management efforts over the past year by identifying and eradicating underground water leaks using automatic meter loggers. A leak repaired at one UK store saved the equivalent of 52,710 cubic meters, the company says.

The company also fitted new stores with low-flush toilets and pre-rinse spray taps. Rainwater harvesting containers were installed in all new stores and retrofitted units were put at existing stores.

Sainsbury’s continues to carry out audits to improve water efficiencies throughout its stores.

The UK supermarket chain also became one of the first organizations to achieve the Carbon Trust Water Standard and the first retailer to secure independent certification showing it’s taking action to measure, manage and reduce water use year on year, according to the company.

Sainsbury’s, The Co-operative Group and Nestlé announced last month they will cut the supply chain carbon footprint of some of their products following research from the Product Sustainability Forum.

An initial assessment of the environmental impact of grocery products analyzed the 50 grocery products with the biggest environmental impact. The production and sale of these products — which include bread, potatoes, bananas and milk — contribute between 21 percent and 33 percent to household consumption of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the report.

The Co-operative, Nestlé and Sainsbury’s launched pilot projects called “pathfinders,” intended to shrink the supply chain footprint of products with the most GHG emissions, product waste, and water, energy and resource use.

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