K Group to develop carbon neutral grocery stores

K Group is teaming up with the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) to establish a model for a carbon neutral grocery store. Three K-food stores will adopt the model this autumn, and on the basis of their experiences, the model is to be expanded to other K Group grocery stores in 2020.

The operating model for a carbon neutral store determines the carbon footprint of the store’s operations and the target for decreasing the footprint. The objective is to identify measures that can be taken to reduce the store’s carbon footprint, and finally calculate the need for compensation. The model does not calculate the carbon footprint of products sold in the store.

“K Group is strongly committed to creating solutions to combat climate change in collaboration with others. A carbon neutral grocery store is a concrete example of our efforts to combat climate change. We want to make sustainable and responsible choices as easy as possible for our customers. A simple way to shop more sustainably is to go to a carbon neutral grocery store,” says Ari Akseli, President of K Group’s grocery trade division.

The climate impact of a grocery store is primarily related to store lighting, the store’s own energy consumption, transports and related emissions, waste and food waste produced in the store, the storage and preparation of products sold in the store, and service packaging.

“We will use the model to determine in more detail the components of the each store’s carbon footprint. This will inform us on how to reduce the emissions of ours stores more effectively. Our objective is to have less and less need for compensations for our stores going forward,” Akseli explains.

“The operating model and criteria for a carbon neutral store are target-oriented and extensive. The model examines a store’s carbon footprint comprehensively, all the way up to the carbon footprint of producing food that ends ups as food waste in the store,” says Juha-Matti Katajajuuri, Senior Scientist at Luke.

The first stores to use the operating model are K-Citymarket Easton in Helsinki, K-Supermarket Basilika in Sipoo, and K-Market Visamäki in Hämeenlinna.

Climate efforts on a wide front

K Group engages in climate efforts on a wide front: as part of its own operations, as part of the operations of its stores, and by helping consumers make climate-friendly choices. Kesko ranks as the most sustainable trading sector company in the world on the Global 100 list.

K Group has committed to goals of international climate summits and has set ambitious emission targets for its operations and supply chain. All electricity purchased by Kesko in Finland for K-stores and other properties is from renewable sources, and K Group is the biggest producer and user of solar power in Finland. We are actively reducing emissions by, for example, optimising logistics and energy use in stores.

Before the end of 2019, K Group will introduce a tool that tells customers the carbon footprint of their food purchases. The carbon footprint calculator will be part of the K-Ostokset service, and has also been developed in cooperation with Luke.

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