Iceland aims for net zero by 2042

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Iceland has announced that it has reduced its operational carbon footprint by nearly three quarters (74%) since 2011, aiming to be carbon neutral by 2042.

The frozen retailer’s footprint has fallen from almost 250,000 tonnes of CO2 in 2011 to just 46,000 tonnes in 2020.

The significant reduction has been made despite Iceland increasing the number of stores it has nationally by 181, and is a result of the supermarket investing over £35 million in more
energy efficient equipment and innovations, and purchasing 100% of its electricity from
renewable sources.

Working from a baseline year of 2011, Iceland initially set its targets to reduce absolute
carbon emissions in own operations as below:

  •  Reduction of 30% by 2020
  • Reduction of 60% by 2030
  • Reduction of 100% and complete carbon neutrality by 2050

However, the efforts made by Iceland in reducing its Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions mean it has now surpassed its 2020 and 2030 targets and is on track to becoming carbon neutral
by the end of 2042.

The business is now reviewing the use of Science Based Targets going forward alongside plans to work more closely with its supply chain on carbon reduction.

Iceland’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint involve a coordinated approach across the
business focused on reducing its greenhouse gas emissions from electricity, refrigeration and transport – and working with external partners such as the British Retail Consortium
Environmental Action Group.

Richard Walker, Managing Director of Iceland, said: “Our planet is facing an unprecedented,
global environmental crisis, and we believe that every business has a responsibility to take
action against climate change and reduce its carbon footprint.

“That is why I am pleased to announce a reduction of 74 per cent in our operational carbon emissions since 2011.

“We are now well ahead of schedule to be a carbon neutral business much earlier than 2050 and we are working hard to bring forward our current target even further.

“Over the past decade, we have worked with our partners and invested in technology to drive down our carbon emissions by nearly three quarters despite adding nearly 200 stores to our estate.

“This is the start of formal carbon reporting and our next steps will be to review the use of
Science Based Targets and to create a project-based approach to working with our suppliers.

“We will start with measuring and reporting on carbon emissions associated with our own-label packaging.”

Iceland is already working closely with its suppliers and third-party logistics companies to
make sure its deliveries to and from depots are as efficient as possible.

Gavin Williams, managing director, supply chain – UK and Ireland, XPO Logistics, added: “Like Iceland, XPO has a purpose-driven approach to sustainability.

“We believe that climate change is best addressed by the coordinated actions of businesses, governments and civil society.

“We are delighted to be working closely with Iceland in exploring innovative approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chain.”

As well as reducing carbon in its own operations, Iceland is also calling on Government and
other businesses to be ‘a force for good’ in taking urgent action to address the climate and
environmental crisis the world faces, supporting plans for a green recovery from COVID-19 in particular.

Richard Walker added: “The Government should prioritise the delivery of 100% renewable
energy generation while simultaneously incentivising businesses to reduce carbon.

“It should launch a new green economy skills strategy to support retraining employees from these industries.

“This also means re-imagining infrastructure projects, pushing ahead with greener construction, halving food waste by 2030 and focusing on supply chains.”