Carbon footprint

Reducing our carbon footprint

Iceland is a signatory to the Courtauld Commitment 2030. This ambitious voluntary agreement brings together organisations across the food industry to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable.

In 2020 we updated our targets to reduce our carbon footprint across our own operation and supply chain by:

50% reduction in absolute GHG emissions by 2030

Net Zero for electricity use by 2030

Net zero for UK fuel, gas and refrigerant gas by 2035

Net zero for all products sold in the UK by 2040

In February 2021 we were the first food retailer globally to sign up to the Amazon Climate Pledge, a commitment to be net-zero by 2040 – a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement’s goal of 2050.

Iceland worked with the Carbon Trust to measure its scope 3 carbon footprint in 2021. The Carbon Trust will also be reviewing our scope 1 & 2 emissions to validate its methodology and to ensure no areas are overlooked within both scope’s calculations.

Download Carbon: Our story so far here.

Improving efficiency

Iceland has active programmes to reduce our energy demand and maximise the use of environmentally friendly gases. Our efforts to reduce our environmental impact are co-ordinated by a cross-functional team, working closely with external partners including WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Programme) and the British Retail Consortium Environmental Policy Action Group.

We had replaced all our signage lighting with LEDs by 2012 and invested £8 million to replace our sales floor lighting systems throughout our estate with LEDs by the end of 2015, delivering a 50% reduction in our emissions. A further £3.2 million investment in 2017 completed the conversion of all ancillary lighting in stores to LEDs, and the installation of automatic lighting controllers throughout our estate.

Our ongoing asset replacement programme is achieving like-for-like reductions in energy consumption by chillers and freezers of 25–30% per unit. All refrigerated display cabinets are also being converted to LED lighting.

Smart systems

Iceland always specifies equipment and components that operate with the minimum of power, ensuring where possible that equipment is selected from the Government’s “Energy Technology List”. We have installed smart control systems in all of our stores which monitor and control energy consumption in lighting, refrigeration and process cooling at equipment level, enabling us quickly to identify any wastage and ensure prompt remedial action.

We installed motion sensor lighting to avoid wastefully lighting unoccupied rooms at our head office in Deeside several years ago and completed the conversion of the building to LED lighting in 2017.

During 2016 we achieved an 18% reduction in energy usage at our Deeside Distribution Centre through investment to replace the refrigeration assets.

We have a Climate Change Agreement (CCA) with DEFRA covering all our distribution centres, under which we originally committed to achieve a cut in energy consumption of 12% in these sites by March 2013. This target was met and the CCA has since been extended to 2023, with targeted year-on-year reductions in energy usage continuing to be achieved.

Deeside head office colleagues have also benefited from a £2.5 million investment programme that has included the installation of a new air conditioning system, and refurbishment and expansion of the renowned Roxy staff restaurant, including the installation of a completely new kitchen.


Our heavy goods vehicle fleet is regularly renewed with the aim of maximising fuel economy and minimising emissions. Our fleet replacement policy has recently changed and we now replace vehicles after three rather than five years’ service, to ensure that we can introduce new vehicle initiatives relating to fuel economy and safety in a timely manner. All our new trucks meet the Euro 6 standard, which is the highest for minimising vehicle emissions.

Speed limiters are set to 53mph to conserve energy and auto shutdown mechanisms are fitted to trucks if their engines are left idling for more than three minutes. A telematics system is fitted to all vehicles to monitor driving styles, to ensure that they are driven in the safest and most economical manner. Legislation introduced in November 2015 has led to the introduction of advanced emergency braking and lane departure warning safety features, which are fitted as standard to our new heavy goods vehicles. New build trailers are fitted with aerodynamic corner cappings and vortex generators to the rear of the roof, which reduce fuel consumption.

We are implementing several initiatives that reduce the impact of the distribution of our products:

  • Optimising pallet utilisation to increase load efficiency
  • Introducing returnable packaging systems (e.g. re-usable trays) for supplier deliveries to our stores
  • Optimising the journeys undertaken to pick up products and packaging so as to maximise back-fill and reduce overall CO2 emissions.

These initiatives, along with increasing use of fuel sourced from renewable sources (bio-fuels) will further reduce our overall environmental footprint.


Iceland has also consistently adopted forward-thinking policies aimed at minimising the environmental impact of refrigerants through careful selection of appropriate materials and the thorough maintenance of equipment. Back in 1989 we built one of the first plants to recycle ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and established a free recovery and recycling service to remove CFCs from our customers’ old appliances.

Since 1994, all of our warehouse developments have used climate-friendly ammonia as their exclusive refrigerant, and this is now used exclusively in all our distribution centres. In 1998, we launched the Kyoto range of eco-friendly domestic fridges and freezers, uniquely endorsed by Greenpeace. In 1999, we became the first UK retailer to open a store using only natural refrigerants comprising CO2 remote frozen and hydrocarbon water chillers for chilled cabinet cooling. Our equipment replacement policy focuses on the use of environmentally friendly hydrocarbon refrigerants in our store equipment, wherever possible.

Paper and board

We use paper and board products for distribution and retail packaging. They typically contain a high percentage of post-consumer recycled material.

We support the use of virgin paper from sustainably managed forests, recognising the contribution they make to reducing CO2 by promoting the growth of new trees. Where we utilise virgin paper, our goal is to source from fully certified sustainable sources, such as those with FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) endorsement, by 2022.

Paper properties deteriorate as the number of recycle loops increases, making it essential to keep using a proportion of virgin materials at the start of the process. As recycle incorporation increases the overall performance reduces – resulting potentially in more material being required to achieve the functionality we require.

Where paper primary packaging is in direct contact with food, it must be certified as fit for purpose, and this typically requires the use of virgin paper. Recycled paper may contain contaminants, and a sufficient barrier must be in place to protect against their migration into food products.

Our retail operations recycle all of the secondary packing that remains in store.


Each of our five distribution depots is set up to maximise the opportunities for recycling, and each has a recycle centre specifically set up for this purpose. There is also a back haul system in operation to ensure that all outer cardboard cases and plastic shrink-wrap are returned from our stores to be collated with card and plastic from the distribution centres for recycling.

At our head office we collect and recycle paper, cardboard and printer toner cartridges; shrink wrap and cardboard from the Iceland Kitchen; and cans from our staff restaurant. We stopped using plastic bottles, plastic cups and non-recyclable coffee cups at head office in 2018.

See more on our actions to reduce plastic packaging here and to reduce food waste here.

Carbon Report 2021

Iceland is committed to being net zero by 2040 and has published its latest Carbon Report, which shows the supermarket has reduced its Scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions by 70% against its baseline year of 2011/12.

The business generated 79,477 tonnes (t) of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent (e) in 2020/21 through its direct operations (Scope 1 and 2 emissions) compared to 263,461 tCO2e in 2011/12. Iceland has also been working with the Carbon Trust to calculate its Scope 3 emissions and this data will be updated periodically to ensure it remains accurate.

Iceland is also a signatory to the Courtauld Commitment 2030, which brings together organisations across the food industry to reduce the environmental impact of food and drink, with the shared target of reducing absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. This is aligned to a 1.5 degree Celsius pathway, and a milestone in achieving net zero by 2040.

Read Iceland’s full Carbon Report here.