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Major Canadian Food Retailer Makes Net-Zero Commitment

Loblaw to shift its green momentum into franchised networks, distribution centers, supplier network
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Major Canadian Food Retailer Makes Net-Zero Commitment
Loblaw is taking action on climate change with its net-zero commitment.

One of Canada’s largest food retailers is aiming to make big improvements to its impact on the planet in the coming years. Loblaw Cos. Ltd. has released a plan to achieve net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2040 as part of a host of environmental commitments.

The company has already made several advancements in its environmental, social and governance (ESG) priorities. In 2016, Loblaw committed to a 30% reduction in corporate carbon emissions by 2030. The company met that target in 2020, due to its advancements in energy management, equipment conversions and addressing refrigerant leaks. Plus, stores have reduced food waste to landfills by nearly 90% over the last six years, thanks to ongoing partnerships with food rescue partners, local farms and ZooShare Biogas.

“Having met major milestones reducing our carbon footprint and waste, we are now squarely focused on the next challenge — net-zero,” said Galen G. Weston, president and chairman of Loblaw. “It will see us deploy electric trucks, efficient heating and cooling, alternative energy, and innovative methods ahead. The need for action is as clear as our ambition, and it reflects the long-term vision our company has held across generations.”

Informed by the Science Based Target Initiative and aligned to the Paris Agreement — limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius — the company will extend its green momentum into its franchised networks and distribution centers, and ultimately to its supplier network. This will create a long-term road map: Achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for Loblaw’s operational footprint (Scope 1 and 2) by 2040, and achieving net-zero for Scope 3, including those generated by suppliers, by 2050.

Strategic initiatives include:

  • Eliminating food waste sent to landfills by 2030.
  • Tackling plastic waste by ensuring that all plastic packaging for control brands, like President’s Choice, are reusable or recyclable by 2025, and advancing industry initiatives like the Consumer Goods Forum’s global Golden Design Rules.
  • Moving to a zero-emission truck fleet by 2030.

News of Loblaw's commitment to achieving net-zero operations follows major U.S. food retailers making their own net-zero commitments. For example, Target Corp. is testing its first net-zero energy store in California, and an Amazon Fresh store in Seattle aims to be the first net-zero carbon grocery store by pursuing International Living Future Institute certification.

Meanwhile, Loblaw recently reported its fourth-quarter earnings ended Jan. 1. Revenue was CAD $12,757 million for the quarter, representing an increase of CAD $349 million, or 2.8%, when compared with the fourth quarter of 2020. Retail segment sales were CAD $12,486 million, an increase of CAD $321 million, or 2.6%, when compared with the fourth quarter of 2020. Food retail same-stores sales increased by 1.1%, while adjusted EBITDA was CAD $1,324 million, representing an increase of CAD $78 million, or 6.3%, when compared with last year.

Loblaw Cos. Ltd. operates more than 2,500 stores and e-commerce options in Canada, with more than 190,000 full- and part-time employees. The Brampton, Ontario-based company is No. 12 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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