UK grocery chain Sainsbury’s says its Weymouth Gateway store is “water neutral,” meaning 100 percent of its water demand will be met through water-efficient infrastructure and offsetting partnerships, and the total water used within the local catchment area will not increase as a result of this new store.
Sainsbury’s says it will also replicate this approach at its new supermarket in Leicester, opening at the end of November.
Seventy percent of the water demand at Sainsbury’s Weymouth store will be met through rainwater harvesting and other water-efficient infrastructure. The remaining 30 percent, which needs to be drinking quality potable water for food preparation, will be offset by sponsoring water saving initiatives at partner sites in the community. For example, this store will offset at least 4.5 cubic meters of mains water each day through collaborations with Weymouth College and Wey Valley School. This will also reduce these educational institutes’ annual water bills.
In April, Sainsbury’s achieved its target of a 50 percent reduction in water use relative across its stores, against a 2005-06 baseline, saving almost 1 billion liters each year at the same time as growing its floor space by up to 40 percent during the same time frame. It did this by introducing measures including rainwater harvesting and fitting pre-rinse spray taps and low flush toilets in all its stores. It also became the first retailer to receive the Carbon Trust Water Standard for reducing water use year-on-year.
Managing and reducing water use is one of the targets the company aims to achieve by 2020 in its 20×20 Sustainability Plan.
Also this year, Sainsbury’s diverted all store waste from landfills, achieving its zero-waste goal in just three years — and seven years ahead of schedule — and extended its dual-fuel fleet to 51 vehicles, saving up to 25 percent in carbon emissions.
Correction: An earlier version of this article’s headline incorrectly said the Weymouth Gateway store had achieved about 1 billion liters of water annually. The 1 billion liters water savings is company wide.