a first: the 763 Delhaize stores are CO2-Neutral

23 April 2021

04 / 2021

Brussels – Delhaize is proud to announce today that all 763 of its stores in Belgium are now CO2 neutral. Thanks to drastic measures, in just over 10 years Delhaize has succeeded in reducing the CO2 emissions of all its stores by 70%. The remaining 30% are offset by launching or supporting sustainable projects in Belgium and abroad. By the end of 2021, Delhaize aims to become completely CO2 neutral for all its activities and thereby show that it is possible to take effective measures in the fight against CO2 emissions.

Our planet is home to humans, animals, plants and trees. It provides us with food, fresh air and a liveable climate. In short, it has taken care of us for millions of years. But studies show the planet is not in good shape. Due to our way of life, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased significantly over the past 100 years, which has a negative impact on the climate. It is time to take action, the moment for carbon neutrality has arrived if we want to guarantee a liveable planet for our future generations.

The issue of CO₂ is one of our main priorities today because we must act now to leave a healthy planet for future generations. As one of the largest retailers in Belgium, we want to create a positive impact and our CO₂ emissions are part of our responsibility. Carbon neutral stores are a step in the right direction, and it shows that together we can make a difference, we can work towards a drastic reduction in CO₂”, says Xavier Piesvaux, CEO of Delhaize.

Our mission: reduce CO2 emissions to the absolute minimum

Reducing CO2 emissions has been a priority for Delhaize for several years now and has gained momentum thanks to The Lion’s Footprint program launched two years ago. The first “CO2 project” Delhaize tackled is the item that emits the most: all 763 of its stores, this concerns both integrated supermarkets and independent Delhaize stores (AD Delhaize, Proxy Delhaize and Shop&Go). Together, the 763 stores are responsible for more than three-quarters of all CO2 emissions from Delhaize. It was therefore obvious to focus on this priority.  

How did Delhaize go about it? Thanks to a series of drastic measures, Delhaize has succeeded in reducing CO₂ emissions drastically in just over 10 years. For example, green electricity was unanimously chosen for all our stores, and heat pumps were installed. Solar panels were also placed on store roofs when their structure permitted. In terms of lighting, Delhaize has opted for energy-efficient LED lighting and natural light wherever possible. For refrigeration, Delhaize has chosen energy-efficient refrigerators and freezers, and doors have been placed on many of the refrigerators.

Leaks of refrigerant fluids are major polluters and for years now, Delhaize has replaced a large proportion of the refrigeration units which used HFC (hydrofluorocarbon) gases; instead, Delhaize uses natural refrigerants. Delhaize is a pioneer and ahead of the F-GAS legislation which limits the use of refrigerant gases with high global warming potential (GWP) from 2030.

A saving of 93,000 tonnes of CO per year, the equivalent of 25,833 fewer cars on the roads

Thanks to a series of measures, Delhaize has succeeded in reducing its CO₂ emissions by as much as 70% compared to 12 years ago. This represents over 93,000 tonnes of CO₂ emissions less per year. These are mind-boggling numbers that are difficult to grasp. It is therefore easier to express them with concrete examples. This annual saving is equivalent to 25,833 fewer cars on Belgian roads or the emissions of more than 11,000 households on an annual basis.

This is therefore a great improvement, but unfortunately it is not yet possible to completely eliminate CO₂ emissions because the available technologies do not allow it. But that does not mean that Delhaize does not take responsibility for them. What cannot yet be avoided is therefore compensated. For this purpose, Delhaize has hired CO₂ Logic to select and support climate projects in Belgium and abroad. This is because CO₂ emissions do not stop at our borders and, at the end of the day, we all share the same atmosphere. By supporting external projects, Delhaize is trying to launch a dynamic in order to generate even more attention around CO₂ and its reduction.

Delhaize is thus supporting a project in Ghana which aims to purchase Gyapa stoves for the local population. These small ceramic cooking fires use less charcoal, so less wood is needed to cook. The result is a reduction in charcoal consumption by 50%, deforestation by 50%, and therefore CO2 emissions by 50% as well.

In Rwanda, Delhaize is supporting the repair and maintenance of wells so that the local population has access to drinking water. In many cases, they only have unsuitable water which must first be boiled before consumption, resulting in additional CO₂ emissions and deforestation. This project has already made it possible to save 280 ha of forest and avoid 15,686 tonnes of CO₂ emissions. In the near future, projects with the same objective will be launched in Belgium.

Step by step towards a CO2 neutral world

Carbon neutrality for all of its stores is only the first step. Delhaize offices, distribution centres and trucks are also part of this reducing exercise. Every day, Delhaize seeks solutions to further reduce its carbon footprint (bicycle delivery, new LNG trucks, etc.). In this context, its ambition is to organize all its activities in a CO₂ neutral manner by the end of 2021, always starting from the same philosophy: limiting CO2 emissions to the absolute minimum and offsetting them if necessary.

Delhaize is taking up this challenge in collaboration with its suppliers to jointly reduce the environmental footprint of products. Together, we seek to innovate and educate consumers by offering carbon neutral products. An example is CO2 neutral bananas or coffee and we aim to gradually expand this assortment.

In addition to these neutral products, we actively invite all our suppliers to take an interest in the climate and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Preaching the good word outside our walls is the commitment that Delhaize has signed with the Belgian Alliance for Climate Action.

The Lion’s Footprint: less plastic, less CO2, less food waste

This is not a “one shot” project, it is part of a larger program. In 2019, Delhaize launched “The Lion’s Footprint”, an ambitious sustainable development plan in which the company is 100% committed to the environment and thus aims to reduce its ecological footprint. This plan has three major ambitious components: achieving plastic neutrality, reducing (food) waste and aiming for carbon neutrality by the end of 2021.