Waitrose to open first ‘off-grid’ store

Mayfield - doing the right thing

One of the UK’s most successful retailers ,The John Lewis Partnership, which owns Waitrose supermarkets and John Lewis department stores, is to open its first ‘off-grid’ (his words) retail store, this year.

It will be located in the Isle of Wight, Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership said in private talks at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit in London today The store will be large —  between 15,000 and 20,000 sq ft. and powered by a mix of technologies, including combined heat and power.

Mayfield said the new off-grid store would deliver carbon savings of 60 per cent compared to one opened “two or three years ago”.

“It will be a waste free shop,” said Mayfield.  He added the retailer was a growing company but committed to making absolute reductions in its CO2 equivalent (CO2e) emissions over the next decade.

The John Lewis Partnership, which owns 29 John Lewis shops and 225 Waitrose supermarkets in the UK, has yet to publish a target on how it will deliver absolute changes in its overall CO2e emissions going forward, but Mayfield said it would require “at least a 50 per cent reduction” in emissions at existing stores and more still at new stores.

Buildings and energy account for 65 per cent of retailer’s carbon emissions

Mayfield said these were the key areas the company had to tackle to meet its carbon reduction commitment going forward, but to achieve this it first had to “engage” its 70,000 permanent staff who together own the company.

The partnership has already spent £50 million on making refrigeration in its stores more energy efficient.

Meanwhile, all the company’s stores sources their electricity from green sources, while anaerobic digestion is being used to convert waste food into energy at 60 of its Waitrose stores.

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