Iceland aims to be carbon neutral eight years ahead of Government’s target

July 14, 2020

Iceland has announced that it has reduced its operational carbon footprint by nearly three quarters (74%) since 2011, and now aims to be carbon neutral by 2042, eight years ahead of the Government’s target.

The supermarket’s carbon output has fallen from almost 250,000 tonnes of CO2 in 2011 to just 46,000 tonnes in 2020, a significant reduction despite the business seeing 36% sales growth and gaining 181 additional sites in that period. Iceland’s progress is a result of a £35 million investment in more energy efficient equipment and innovations, and purchasing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources.

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, said: “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 reimagining infrastructure projects, pushing ahead with greener construction, halving food waste by 2030 and focusing on supply chains.”

Read Carbon: Our story so far here.