John Lewis Partnership aims at zero emission by 2050

The John Lewis Partnership announced will reduce its operational greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 at the latest, without purchasing offsets, in line with the pathway set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to limit global warming to 1.5C.

The Partnership will initially focus on making significant emissions reductions in the vital period of the next ten years to decarbonize its operations as much as possible as quickly as possible. By 2028, it will remove a third of carbon from its operations through a significant investment in new refrigeration technology, biomethane-powered trucks, electric vans, and renewable electricity. This is expected to result in CO2 savings equivalent to removing 16,000 petrol cars off the road every year.

The new targets build on significant emissions reductions already achieved, including a 70% reduction in emissions achieved last year against a 2010 baseline – two years before the 2020 deadline the company had set itself.

The new targets build on significant emissions reductions already achieved, including a 70% reduction in emissions achieved last year against a 2010 baseline – two years before the 2020 deadline the company had set itself.

Zero emissions transport

To reduce transport emissions, which contribute over 40% of its overall carbon footprint, the Partnership has set an ambitious target of zero carbon fleet by 2045. It has already started rolling out new biomethane-powered heavy trucks, which emit over 80% less CO2 than standard diesel alternatives, and aims to switch its entire fleet of over 3,200 vehicles to zero-emission vehicles. The heavy trucks will be switched to biomethane by 2028 and it has started electrifying its fleet of vans used for home deliveries.
In addition to zero-emission deliveries, the company is working on encouraging sustainable travel across the business and to its locations. It already has 75 Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points across the estate and from this year these will all offer a minimum of fast (7kW) charging.

Shops and buildings

To reduce emissions from its physical estate, the Partnership has committed to reducing its energy use by a quarter and ensuring electricity across all its sites will be 100% renewable and British-sourced by 2028. Over the next ten years, it will also phase out all hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) – the greenhouse gases used in cooling systems – from its core Waitrose & Partners refrigeration and switch these to HFC-free refrigerators, currently focusing on water-cooled refrigeration systems to achieve this. Waitrose & Partners has already started to introduce a new design of shelf-edge strips which uses racing car technology to make its shop refrigerators more energy efficient.

In addition, John Lewis will continue strengthening the responsible development standards it applies to every construction project. To date, over 110 Waitrose & Partners and John Lewis & Partners shops have been certified under the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) process, which benchmarks the environmental performance of buildings. This means the Partnership has the highest number of BREEAM-certified buildings of any UK retailer.

Supply chain

The Partnership will also be assessing emissions impact outside its operations, with the aim of setting further targets for emissions reduction in its supply chain, aligned with the goals of the Paris Accord. It already carries out assessments of its fresh produce, livestock and farmed fish supply chains, looking at a range of aspects including water use, biodiversity and waste, and energy. The Partnership has commitments to source key raw materials sustainably and has set ambitious targets to reduce plastic waste.

Benet Northcote, Partner & Director of Corporate Responsibility at the John Lewis Partnership, said: “We recognize that urgent action is needed to keep global warming below 1.5C to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate breakdown, and we are responding with our most ambitious set of targets yet, aiming to decarbonize as much as we can in the next ten years and setting out a clear path to becoming a net zero operation. It’s of paramount importance to us as a co-owned business to ensure the Partnership is prepared for the future. We are now only one generation away from 2050 and we are committed to playing our part in transitioning to a zero carbon future.”

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