A Letter from Our President & CEO
Climate change is one of the most critical challenges of our time, both in Canada and around the world. And while it’s encouraging to see the conversation around this issue reach new heights in recent years, the time for talk is over. We are in a new phase of this challenge that we believe requires aggressive action.
As one of Canada’s leading grocery retailers, Empire is proud of its leadership position when it comes to sustainability in the industry. In fiscal 2021, we saw a 22% reduction in food waste in our stores, which is almost halfway to our target of achieving a 50% reduction in food waste by 2025. And since 2016, we’ve achieved a 24% reduction in surplus food per square foot in our stores. We also saved 5 million litres of water thanks to fresh herbs offered through our Infarm partnership. Additionally, over 95% of our Own Brands are sustainably sourced.
We are now more committed than ever to creating a sustainable business and industry through our Climate Action Plan which is grounded in science. This year, we set science-based targets (SBTs)that align and go beyond the Net-Zero by 2050 (1.5°C aligned) scenario, which would meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement. I would encourage you to take some time to read our Climate Action Plan to see what we have in store and how we are committing to making a difference today and in the future.
Specifically, our targets are:
In the short term:
- Scope 1 & 2 (absolute target): Reduce absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions by a minimum of 55% by 2030 from a 2019 base year
- Scope 3 (supplier engagement-based target): 62% of our suppliers by spend will set science-based reduction targets on their Scope 1 and 2 emissions in five years; and commit to a minimum 28% reduction in emissions from fuel sold by 2030
In the long term:
Achieve net-zero by 2040 for Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, and net-zero for Scope 3 emissions by 2050 according to the Science Based Targets initiative’s (SBTi’s) Net-Zero Standard.
We’re holding ourselves accountable to achieve these goals. And, as one of the largest grocery retailers in the country, we’re holding our supplier partners accountable too, because we believe we have a responsibility to create a more sustainable industry. Strong partnerships are integral to the way we do business at Empire, and our sustainability journey is all about the progress we make together. All the good that we do as a business (including our sustainability commitments) happens in collaboration with our teams, suppliers, customers and communities.
As part of our climate action plan, we’re counting on our suppliers to help achieve the key targets we’ve identified and are working with them to set their own science-based emissions targets by 2027. Like us, our suppliers recognize that we are at a critical juncture and are partnering with Empire – I’m proud to share that we’re already halfway towards reaching our Scope 3 target.
We’re also working closely with fuel suppliers at Empire gas stations to reduce emissions from fuel sold at Empire’s filling stations by 28% by 2030.
Together, we navigated shared challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we are working to make our industry more equitable through our draft Grocery Code of Conduct and our new Ethical and Sustainable Sourcing Policy. And together, we can nurture our People and Planet with Products that are sustainable and responsibly sourced.
These targets are only one important way we manage our environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities as a business. They are an important part of a bigger picture. The reality is that we’ve been focused on this issue for some time. And now we’re picking up the pace. Beyond our concrete commitments to climate action, we continue to make progress in areas such as reducing plastics and waste, advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, and growing our community investments.
As our 2022 Sustainable Business Report makes clear, we are wholeheartedly committed to being a trusted partner to our customers, investors, supplier partners and communities. This is not only the right thing to do, it’s good for business helping us drive sustainable growth and deliver on our commitments to shareholders.
As always, we welcome your thoughts and feedback on how we are doing. Our sustainability journey is ongoing, and we are always looking for ways to be an even better partner in the future.
- Michael Medline
- President & CEO
- Empire Company Limited
- July, 2022