climate change shopping

What are supermarkets doing about climate change?

We’ve talked about buying local, organic, and fair-trade food. We’ve touched on the various ways in which we ca n shift our shopping habits to be more supportive of “the little guy” while simultaneously contributing to a better environment . Unfortunately, supermarkets continue to spring up left, right and center like black holes,  sucking economies dry and spiraling local communities into full decline. I’m not going to go into all the details of supermarkets now as that is a long and complicated issue however, considering we’ve got to start somewhere; What are supermarkets doing to prevent climate change?

What about the wasted electricity with stores that leave their lights on 24/7, regardless of opening times? What about the wasted energy from open top fridges and freezers? The sheer waste produced in the “unpacking” of items to go on shelves, the movement of goods from thousands of miles away? The support companies give to exploitation of resources? It’s all very well talking about jet fuel emissions but let’s also consider what the supermarkets so many of us shop in might be doing. What they are trying to achieve and how they are trying to curb emissions?

A small article I read recently has some answers. The Targets below are extracted from there.



· Halve emissions from existing stores and distribution centres worldwide by 2020

· Halve greenhouse gas emissions per case of goods delivered worldwide by 2012 (compared with 2006)

· Cut the number of carrier bags by 50% by the end of February 2009 (compared with 2006)


· Reduce energy consumption of existing stores by 20% by 2012 and new stores by 30% by 2010 (compared with 2005)

· Send zero waste to landfill by 2010

· Sell only 100% sustainably sourced fish by 2010


· Reduce carbon footprint cumulatively by 36% by 2010 (from 2005)

· Reduce road miles travelled per pallet of stock by 6% by 2010

· 15% reduction in water use by 2010 (from 2005)

Marks and Spencer

· UK & Irish operations carbon neutral by 2012

· Send no waste to landfill by 2012

· Reduce carrier bag use by 33% by 2010


· Reduce CO2 emissions a square metre by 25% by 2012 (from 2005/06)

· Reduce CO2 emissions per case of goods transported by 5% by March 2009 (from 2005/06)

· Reduce waste sent to landfill by 50% relative to sales by 2012 (from 2005/06)


· Reduce carbon dioxide emissions for UK operations by 10% by 2010, 20% by 2020 and 60% by 2050 (from 2001)

· Reduction of 15% in energy-related transport CO2 emissions from stores deliveries by 2013 (from 2005)

· Recycle 75% of all waste by 2012

Research by Holly Bentley

Some companies have tried “carbon labeling” on packaging.

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