For the good of the climate
Climate change concerns everyone, so doing our part to protect the climate is a matter of course to us. Our goal: we aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at ALDI North by 40 per cent by 2021 compared to 2015 levels. To make this a reality, we are taking climate action in all relevant areas. A great deal is happening at our stores, because they are where we will be able to save the most CO2.
Anyone who walks into one of our updated stores will immediately notice many changes: the bigger selection, windows that extend to the ground, fresh colours and wider aisles, just to name a few. What may not be evident at first glance are the numerous new features designed to protect the climate with the help of modern technology.
Let there be light – but make it energy-efficient
Perhaps you have already noticed how bright and inviting the atmosphere is inside the renovated stores. The large windows let in plenty of daylight. As a result, the stores require less artificial lighting during the day, which is a clear benefit in terms of saving energy. Of course, we cannot do without lights entirely. Since 2016, we have only been installing LED lighting technology in all new or updated stores. Such technology uses up to 50 per cent less electricity than our previous lighting system. LED also provides excellent lighting and the best overview in chiller cabinets and freezers. The technology offers another benefit as well: as LEDs generate less heat than other types of lighting, less electricity is needed for cooling purposes.
Speaking of cooling, it is necessary to refrigerate or freeze yoghurt, pizza and fish fingers so that they stay nice and fresh. This takes a lot of electricity. We therefore now use only highly energy-efficient freezers at our new stores, and we are focusing increasingly on particularly clever systems when it comes to chillers. They provide efficient cooling and can also recover the heat produced in the refrigeration process. We then use this to heat the store – a practical solution that saves energy as well. Refrigerants are also a priority for us. While indispensable for cooling, refrigerants can escape into the atmosphere through small leaks where – depending on the refrigerant – they prove harmful to the climate in varying degrees. Based on the current state of the art, it is unfortunately not possible to prevent such leaks entirely. We employ digital leakage monitoring in some countries to document refrigerant usage, which helps us to reduce the number of leaks to a minimum. We also use the natural, climate-friendly refrigerant propane (R290) for our new freezers, while plans call, wherever possible, for the exclusive use in future of CO2 as a natural refrigerant for chillers in our new stores.
Electricity right from the roof
The lights in the parking lots and outdoor areas of the new stores also employ LED technology. In addition, a close look will reveal the sun glinting suspiciously off the roof, which is due to the photovoltaic systems already in operation on top of many stores for generating electricity. In 2017, we already managed to produce some 23,000 MWh of electricity with the solar installations on the roofs of our stores – this is about as much power used by almost 5,750 single-family households in a year. We currently use approximately 70 per cent of the generated electricity ourselves; the remainder is fed into the power grid. We plan to increase the amount of energy for own use, which is why we are pilot testing the use of innovative storage technology that would enable us to use the generated electricity at a later time. Overall, we still have big intentions for solar energy, with plans for 120 new systems in France alone. We also seek to install around 5,000 kWp (kilowatt peak) in additional system capacity in Portugal by 2021, which is the equivalent of more than 50 new systems. Plans call for an additional 18 systems in Belgium in 2018/19.
All measures under one roof: our climate strategy
All of the climate protection measures at our stores are building blocks of our comprehensive climate strategy. Not only have we set ourselves a clear climate target (40 per cent less CO2 by 2021 compared to 2015 levels), but we have also created a specific road map for achieving our goals. Click on the diagram to reveal where CO2 emissions are generated in our business areas – and what steps we are taking to reduce them.
Emission sources – and what we are doing about them
The operation of stores accounts for the largest share of our greenhouse gas emissions. Depending on its size and equipment, one store consumes approximately 150 to 250 MWh of electricity per year. This equates to the energy consumption of around 40 to 60 average single-family households. Our greatest leverage for achieving greater energy efficiency comes down to refrigeration and lighting.
Refrigerants can escape into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. Based on the current state of the art, it is not possible to prevent such leaks entirely. We use a digital system to reduce them to a minimum. At the same time, we have begun to increasingly replace the refrigerants used to date with climate-friendlier alternatives, such as the natural refrigerant propane (R290) and CO2.
Our goods have to be transported from our distribution centres to the stores. We largely carry out such transport ourselves. The majority of logistics-related greenhouse gas emissions are due to the diesel consumed by trucks that supply the stores. With regard to logistics, it is still economically difficult to replace diesel with a climate-friendlier drive type. In Germany, we examined the use of alternative power units in 2017.
Lighting is responsible for a significant portion (up to 50 per cent) of the electricity consumed at the distribution centres. LED technology therefore harbours major savings potential here. We are also evaluating the use of needs-based lighting for most distribution centres. Motion detectors make it possible to fully illuminate only those storage areas where work is being performed. Alongside motion detectors, we are also installing light sensors in Germany. They reduce artificial lighting based on the amount of incident daylight, which saves additional electricity.
Want to know more?
Read our Climate Protection Policy for more information about our climate target and measures.
For many products, packaging is essential for protection and quality assurance. That is why we focus on recyclable materials and, in some cases, on multiple-use systems.
The new campus of ALDI Buying in Essen-Kray is already highly anticipated. The modern building meets strict sustainability standards and provides enough space for all ALDI Buying staff.
We take responsibility for the protection of our environment and its natural resources. As a retailer, reducing waste and dedicating ourselves to fighting food losses play a central role.
Health is a hot topic in the Netherlands, where discussion centres on childhood and teenage obesity, among other concerns. With a strong partner at our side, we are tackling this issue.
ALDI Belgium and ALDI Luxembourg
In Belgium and Luxembourg, we focus on expanding our more sustainable product range and logistics designed to help conserve resources.
This Interim Report 2018 and the Update 2018 also serve as Communication on Progress (COP)/Progress Report of the ALDI Nord Group within the framework of the United Nations Global Compact.