The global supermarket giant Atlantic is taking a radical step towards tackling climate change by cutting its carbon emissions by 80% by 2020.
The New Zealand supermarket giant says it is reducing its emissions by about 40% by 2026 and by as much as 80% in the first year of its 2020 sales.
It will be the largest company to make such a big commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, the company says.
“We are taking this unprecedented step to ensure that our store remains a sustainable and affordable place for consumers and for the planet,” said the company in a statement.
“By reducing our greenhouse gas footprint we are creating jobs and boosting the economy.”
The company says it has reduced its greenhouse gases by roughly 8,700 tonnes a year since 2005, and is now on track to meet its 2050 target to reduce its emissions in a “modest and incremental manner”.
The statement said the reduction is driven by the “bigger picture” of how to transition the company to a low-carbon economy.
“It’s not just about reducing our emissions.
It’s about doing something to address climate change and how we can be a part of it.
We’re going to be changing the way we do business, and we’re going all-in on reducing our CO2 footprint,” said Ben Sibbins, Atlantic’s chief executive officer.
Sibbings said the commitment was driven by “a belief in the importance of the business, a belief in how the business can benefit society and the environment and the ability to be sustainable for the long term”.
“This is an ambitious goal, but it’s achievable,” he said.
The company will reduce its carbon output by 80,000 tonnes a day by 2020, and its total carbon footprint is projected to fall to about 30,000 tons a day over the next five years.
Sebbins said that was because of the company’s commitment to “build on its strengths in the delivery of food, the sustainability of our supply chain and our supply and delivery processes”.
He said the business’s shift to “green” would not necessarily mean the company was abandoning its carbon trading system, which Atlantic has had for nearly 25 years.
But he said the move to the “green economy” would allow the company “to leverage our experience and expertise to make the most of the benefits of carbon capture and storage technology”.
“As a leading food producer and a global food exporter, we believe it is in our best interests to reduce our emissions to support a sustainable economy and ensure that we continue to build a sustainable food industry in New Zealand,” he added.
Atlantic said it was also investing $10 million over the coming three years in new technologies that would “enable us to achieve these targets faster”.