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Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing our communities, food systems and environment. The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we only have until 2030 to act to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.50C and cut the risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. In response, governments and business in Canada and around the world have committed to ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions.
We are committed to doing OurPart™ to take climate action to protect our planet. In fiscal year 2021 we focused on reviewing and understanding all our impacts to see what steps we can take to make the biggest difference. We have been thoughtful in our approach, drawing on the right data to make informed decisions and make plans for continued progress as part of our next-phase sustainability strategy to launch in fiscal year 2023. We’re also committed to keep working with our customers and communities to reduce our impacts.
Over the past three years we’ve focused on reducing our energy use, implementing a range of energy efficiency initiatives including upgrades to refrigeration, lighting and HVAC systems in over 900 stores. This resulted in a 144 million kWh cumulative reduction in electricity use, the equivalent of 34,770 tCO2e.
This program established our strong foundation of action on climate change, which has led us to focus on better understanding all the sources of our GHG emissions. During the past year, we worked with a third-party consultant and quantified our 2019 (baseline) Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions to develop our first company-wide carbon inventory. This carbon inventory is a critical first step in our climate change journey, as it highlights the key drivers of our GHG emissions and will inform efforts to reduce our footprint going forward.
The assessment encompassed all grocery and related business banners, both corporate and franchise sites, and Farm Boy (Voilà and Longo’s were not included but will be in future years). The assessment identified material emission sources across all three scopes:
All direct emissions released from operations
Indirect GHG emissions from consumption of purchased energy (e.g. electricity)
Indirect GHG emissions not covered in Scope 2 that occur throughout the supply chain
Total Scope 1
Total Scope 2
Total Scope 3
Combined Scope 1 and 2
Emissions per unit of square foot
Total GHG Emissions
Total Scope 1 Emissions
Total Scope 2 Emissions
Total Scope 3 Emissions
Combined Scope 1 and 2 Emissions per unit of square foot
Where our GHG Emissions Come From
It is critical that we understand where we are generating GHG emissions across our operations so we can focus our efforts on the opportunities with the biggest reduction potential. Our GHG assessment revealed that our biggest source of emissions comes from manufacturing the products and packaging in our supply chain (Scope 3), which is typical for the grocery industry. Of the GHG emissions that we directly control (Scope 1 and 2), our biggest GHG emission sources are from our retail store buildings and transportation.
- Scope 1 GHG Emissions
- Scope 2 GHG Emissions
- Scope 3 GHG Emissions
Products & Packaging
This emissions source covers the lifecycle emissions related to manufacturing of products sold at Sobeys’ corporate stores and franchisees.
Transportation emissions caused by the fuel consumption of Sobeys’ truck fleet*, corporate passenger car fleet and contracted third-party logistics service providers during movement of product.
Buildings & Operations
Use of fuel, electric power, and refrigerant release at Sobeys’ corporate stores, RSC, offices (Scope 1 and 2), and franchisees (Scope 3).
Other Scope 3 Emissions
Other Upstream Scope 3 emissions include use of sold products, capital goods purchased, upstream emissions from production of fuel and electricity, and emissions from waste generated.
This covers Scope 3 emissions from business travel and employees commuting to work.
+All units are in kilo tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent)
*Scope 1 emissions related to transportation estimated based on fuel spending provided and average 2019 diesel price published by Natural Resource Canada.
The results of this assessment are helping to shape our next-phase sustainability strategy, which is in-development in fiscal year 2022. Our plan is to set a bold target to address climate change in fiscal year 2022 and do our part to make a meaningful contribution to this immense global challenge.
How We’re Making a Difference
Using Energy Sustainably
In recent years we’ve put in place several industry best practices across all banners to improve energy management so we can reduce energy consumption in our stores, including:
We’re also proud to partner with Earth Day Canada and Natural Resources Canada to install 100 Level-3 fast-charging stations in the parking lots of 50 IGA grocery stores across Québec and New Brunswick by autumn 2021. Our customers will be able to charge their vehicles in just 20 minutes — the time it takes to shop for groceries. To help power our communities as well as their cars, proceeds from the charging stations will be donated to a local community organization in each of the 50 municipalities where they have been installed.
Climate Action in Our Communities
As part of our commitment to phase out single-use plastic grocery bags, we’re also taking steps to reduce the impacts of the paper bags sold in our stores. We donate to the international charity One Tree Planted, which uses that funding to offset carbon in the atmosphere by planting trees. With our support, the group plant 14,000 trees in Nova Scotia, reforesting 27 acres of former agriculture land with local tree species carefully chosen with biodiversity, climate stability and the surrounding community in mind. Our partnership with One Tree Planted continues in British Columbia, Ontario and Québec.