WOOLWORTHS CELEBRATES WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY
06 May 2008
World Environment Day is a UN initiative which aims to focus worldwide attention on the environment. The slogan for World Environment Day 2008 is “Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy.” The United Nations (UN) recognises that climate change is becoming the defining issue of our era and has asked countries, companies and communities to focus on greenhouse gas emissions and how to reduce them.
Woolworths is affirming its commitment to reducing the businesses’ carbon footprint in honour of World Environment Day on 5 June 2008.
Woolworths has committed to reducing the relative amount of carbon produced directly by the business by 30% by 2012. This effort forms part of Woolworths Good business journey – an ongoing plan to make a difference in communities, the country and the world.
Woolworths Chief Executive Officer Simon Susman has said: “There is growing consensus that climate change is occurring at an unprecedented rate. Greenhouse gases are pouring into the atmosphere as we burn up what’s left of the earth’s energy reserves, and cut down its remaining forests. It is clear that sustainable growth can only be achieved through paying greater attention to the environment around us. We at Woolworths are doing our bit to minimise the impact of our business on the environment. We hope that more of our peers and customers will do the same to protect the planet for our children.”
Woolworths supports the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and has taken the following measures to reduce the amount of carbon produced by the business:
Reducing relative transport emissions by 20% by 2012
•Woolworths sources product regionally, wherever possible, to reduce reliance on long distance transport. The bulk of food, clothing and general merchandise comes from South African suppliers.
•Woolworths uses a 5% biofuel mix in delivery vehicles that is produced from used cooking oil.
•In addition, Woolworths aims to lower fuel usage per distribution unit.
•Strategically placed distribution centres also help minimise food miles. Woolworths energy efficient Midrand distribution centre saves 9370 km’s of delivery-related travel per week, due to a more central location.
Reducing relative electricity usage by 30% by 2012
Woolworths is currently using relatively 5% less electricity this year compared to last year and the business is aiming to use relatively 10% less electricty by the end of the year.
Woolworths electricty-saving initiatives include:
Lighting and air conditioning systems
•All light fittings in Western and Eastern Cape stores have been changed to energy efficient fittings. Woolworths is currently in discussion with Eskom to roll this programme out in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
•Woolworths only uses electronic ballasts, in place of magnetic chokes in stores, depots and offices, resulting in a 15% saving in lighting costs.
•The electrical profiles of selected stores, depots and offices are monitored remotely to ensure that lighting and air-conditioning units are managed in the most efficient way.
•Automated lighting switching equipment has been installed in our top 20 stores to ensure that lights do not remain on after hours.
•Woolworths has conducted awareness programmes, campaigns and presentations at stores for over 25 years to educate staff about efficient use of energy.
•Woolworths was amongst the first retailers to sell energy efficient light bulbs in South Africa and no longer stocks incandescent light bulbs.
•None of Woolworths stand alone food stores have air-conditioning, except in KwaZulu-Natal where the air-conditioning is required to control humidity.
•Energy efficient refrigeration plants installed in stores and depots over recent years have reduced the power consumed by refrigeration by up to 40%.
•Frozen foods are displayed in closed refrigeration cabinets - this has been the practice for over a decade, reducing energy usage in the freezers.
•Waste heat, recycled from the refrigeration system, is pumped back in to the food market (“free heating”), helping to maintain comfortable trading conditions.
•A pilot programme utilizing new refrigerant technology in food stores has led to a 30% decrease in electricity usage in the pilot store, and commensurate savings on electricity bills. This technology is being rolled out to all new stores going forward.
Woolworths considers the following energy saving measures when considering new real estate opportunities:
•Natural ventilation including openable windows to offices and cross ventilation.
•Use of natural light.
•Energy efficient lighting and the use of a Building Management System for light switching.
•Solar powered water heating.
•Re-use of heat generated by plant and machinery to heat buildings in cold periods of the year.
Exploring new production models
Woolworths is trialling environmentally sensitive factories with selected suppliers
and works closely with suppliers to reduce their carbon footprint.
Woolworths is also committed to supporting ‘greening projects’ as they contribute to offsetting the business’ carbon footprint. Woolworths has committed to planting 17 000 trees by 2012, one for each employee. The first 800 trees, of an initial planting of 1000 trees, were sourced from a Woolworths Trust EduPlant school nursery in Thembisa, have been planted at our Midrand Distribution campus as part of an ongoing greening project.
Woolworths Good business journey
Woolworths was named International Responsible Retailer of the Year at the 2008 World Retail Awards in recognition of our Good business journey – our ongoing plan to make a difference in our communities, our country and our world.
Woolworths Good business journey is a comprehensive 5 year plan announced in April 2007. It incorporates a series of challenging targets and commitments centred on four key priorities: accelerating transformation, driving social development, enhancing Woolworths environmental focus and addressing climate change.
Woolworths has also been shortlisted for an award by the Mail and Guardian’s ‘Greening the Future’ contest. The awards honour and celebrate companies and organisations which are playing a role in the efforts to ensure a sustained and healthy planet for all people.
More information about Woolworths Good business journey, is available on this website.