Countdown has announced its target to reduce carbon emissions by 60% by 2030 vs its 2015 levels, published in the company’s 2019 Sustainability Report released this week.
In the last three years, Countdown has reduced carbon emissions by 21% through reductions in refrigerant gas leakage, the introduction of more energy efficient LED lighting and its food rescue programme, which diverts food from waste. The new science-based target will put emissions reductions in line with the levels required to limit global warming to 1.5oC above pre-industrial levels. There is now consensus that global warming should be limited to this level.
Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, Safety and Sustainability, Kiri Hannifin, says the target is ambitious, but it needs to be to help address the serious climate issues the planet currently faces. “As a business that relies on the weather and climate for food production and security of supply, we are keenly aware of our responsibilities to help reduce our environmental impact.
“Since 2016 we’ve reduced Countdown’s own carbon emissions by 21% and we expect to meet our previous target to be 10% below our 2015 levels by 2020. However, this new target will bring renewed focus to our efforts, and hopefully also inspire other businesses like ours to make a clear commitment to protecting Aotearoa and the planet for future generations,” says Hannifin.
Countdown’s 2019 Sustainability Report also outlines the business’ efforts over the last financial year to support its 18,400 team members, local communities and the Kiwi farmers and growers Countdown partners with across the country.
Over the last financial year, Countdown has:
- reduced carbon emissions by 7.6% and refrigerant gas leakage by almost 28%
- removed 338 million single-use plastic carrier bags from Aotearoa’s waste stream
- donated 10.4 million meals worth of food to local food rescue partners to help feed people in need, and help reduce food waste to landfill
- increased the number of women in senior leadership roles in our business to 35%, up from 32.7% in FY18
- donated $2.2 million to local communities and causes
- removed a further 8.8 tonnes of sugar and 7.4 tonnes of salt from its own brand products
- launched Countdown Hāwera as New Zealand’s first Be Accessible-accredited supermarket
- permanently dropped the price of its own brand sanitary products to make them more affordable and help address period poverty in New Zealand
- supported KidsCan’s Early Childhood Education trial by helping to provide 950 of New Zealand’s most vulnerable babies, preschoolers and toddlers with fresh meals
- started using 100% Canterbury-grown wheat for all of its in-store baked bread and rolls.
“With 180 stores throughout New Zealand and a team of 18,400 Kiwis, we know we play an important part in helping our communities thrive. We’re really proud of what has been achieved over the last year and are grateful to our customers who continue to play an important part in helping us meet our corporate responsibility commitments,” Hannifin says.