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Green skills training obstacle slows Sainsbury’s switch to CO2 refrigerants

Sainsburys Crayford

Sainsbury’s has cited lack of green training skills for its 200 engineers for preventing its portfolio switch from HFC refrigerants to climate friendly CO2 refrigerants in its 2012 Carbon Disclosure Project Report, published last week,

The retailer has now addressed this hurdle and is back on track to switch 250 stores to CO2 refrigerant by 2014, reduce its carbon footprint and phase out harmful HFC refrigerants in an ongoing programme of change.

Sainsbury’s has reduced its absolute carbon emissions by 3.5% over the past year through energy efficiency and carbon reduction programmes, and it is continuing to reduce its carbon footprint by converting its estate to natural refrigeration by 2030. Currently all new stores are fitted with CO2 as standard and almost 140 existing stores have been switched over with conversions ongoing.

Neil Sachdev, property director at Sainsbury’s, explained: “A lack of training for refrigeration engineers had prevented our switch to climate-friendly refrigeration systems because the technology is new and unfamiliar.  We saw this gap in skills and expertise as a real opportunity for us so we invested in industry recognised and hands-on training for around 200 of our service engineers.

“Many of them have now completed the training and this new injection of green skills will help to grow the market for CO2 refrigeration and help to support future job creation.  It’s also great news for the environment because the new carbon dioxide technology has much less of an impact on climate change.”

Investment in new technologies is part of Sainsbury’s target to reduce its operational carbon emissions by 30 per cent absolute by 2020, against a baseline of 2005/6.

Other new technologies and initiatives that Sainsbury’s has adopted to help it reduce its footprint include:

> The installation of 69,500 solar panels on 169 stores to generate 16MW of power – enough for 4,100 homes
> The roll out of 100MW of renewable energy by 2016 through innovative ground source heat pumps to provide energy efficient heating and hot water – six stores completed
> The fitting of 46 biomass boilers since 2008 to heat stores and hot water, instead of using fossil fuel-based gas
> Its energy efficiency Reset programme – now in its sixth year – has generated energy savings equivalent to running 110 supermarkets a year
> Renewable energy direct Power Purchase Agreements offering a fixed price for 8-10 years – Sainsbury’s currently sources over 4% of its power from such sources with plans to exceed 20% by 2020
> Becoming the UK’s biggest retailer user of anaerobic digestion as part of its zero food waste to landfill strategy, and investing in Tamar Energy to build 100MW of energy over the next five years through a network of 40 anaerobic digestion plants

Sainsbury’s also works with over 2,500 farmers in its ten Farmer Development Groups to help them reduce their own environmental impact.  Sainsbury’s has developed a carbon footprinting tool which has the potential to reduce a farm’s annual energy costs and carbon emissions by 10 per cent.



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