Ofwat grants license to Sainsbury’s to supply its own water

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SAINSBURY’S, the UK’s second largest supermarket chain, has been granted a water supply and sewerage licences by Ofwat, with a retail authorisation limited to self-supply.

When the UK’s water retail market opened in April 2017, Sainsbury’s initially took advantage of the competitive market and selected two water retailers to cover its English site portfolio.

Sainsbury’s Carbon, Utilities and Engineering Manager Dave Merefield told ICON: “We’re very excited to have been awarded our water self-supply license by Ofwat.

“This water license puts us in the driving seat to be more strategic and gives more options to achieve our goal of water neutrality.

“By moving to a model of self-supply we can better measure and manage our water use and engage directly with water wholesalers.

“We continually review every aspect of water use across our business and strive to innovate and collaborate with stakeholders to lower our water consumption.

“As part of our commitment to becoming a Net Zero business across our own operations by 2040, we’re focused on minimising the use of water.

“We have an ambitious goal to achieve water neutrality by 2040 and are already using 1 billion litres less water annually than in 2005.

“We’re very proud of achieving a 33 per cent absolute water reduction since 2005, despite our estate increasing by 46 per cent over this period.”

Sainsbury’s is now entitled to supply water services to all of its English sites, pay water wholesale prices (the price that retailers pay to wholesalers and therefore not pay the retailers’ margins), and become a market participant including membership of MOSL with voting rights.

The company will also be involved in innovation within the water market and take part in the Self-Supply User Forum.

J Sainsbury plc is the holding company for over 1400 Sainsbury’s supermarkets and convenience stores, almost 900 Argos stores and the Sainsbury’s Bank, Tu, Habitat, Sainsbury’s Home and Nectar brands.

The retailer has long focused on its sustainability agenda with strategies aligned to UN Sustainable Development Global Goals on the reduction of emissions, waste and water use.

The store chain works with Waterscan as managing agents to assume responsibilities for retail functions such as meter readings, Central Market Operating System transactions and wholesaler management, and to identify water efficiency opportunities.

Waterscan’s Managing Director, Neil Pendle, commented on the news: “We congratulate Sainsbury’s on taking the next proactive step on its already impressive water journey.

“I’m confident that a self-supply licence will enable the company to build on its leadership position in responsible retailing and accelerate progress towards its sustainability goals, including its recent commitment to become Net Zero by 2040.”

Last November, John Lewis became the first high street retailer chain to be granted a self-supply license.