Sainsbury's first ‘water neutral’ store opens
Supermarket group Sainsbury's opened opened its first ‘water neutral' store in a sustainable development in Weymouth on October 21. Some 70% of the store’s water demand will be met through rainwater harvesting (RWH) and other water-efficient infrastructure.
The remaining 30%, which needs to be potable quality for food preparation, will be offset by sponsoring water-saving initiatives at partner sites in the local community. For example, the store will offset at least 4.5m3 of mains water each day through collaborations with Weymouth College and Wey Valley School. The supermarket said this will also substantially reduce these premises’ annual water bills.
Sainsbury’s said the total water used within the local catchment area will not increase as a result of this new store and it is planning to replicate the approach at its new supermarket in Leicester, opening at the end of November.
In March 2013, Sainsbury’s achieved its challenging target of a 50% relative reduction in its water use – a saving of almost one billion litres each year at the same time as growing its floor space by up to 40% since 2005/06. It did this by introducing measures including RWH and fitting pre-rinse spray taps and low-flush toilets in all its stores.
It also became the first retailer to receive the Carbon Trust Water Standard for reducing water use year-on-year.
Speaking at a lecture on water stewardship at Imperial College London on October 14, Sainsbury's property director, Neil Sachdev, said: "Water scarcity is becoming a very real challenge and to ensure we have water in the future we need to find ways to reduce what we use right now. Measuring, managing and reducing water use is one of the most important focus areas for our business and one of the targets in our 20x20 Sustainability Plan.
"From experience we believe we can help safeguard what we’ll need in the future by taking action now. By collaborating with our partners and suppliers to better understand the amount of water we’re using in our operations and supply chain, we can start to put measures in place like Water Neutral to help reduce the amount we use and address this global challenge."
Professor Brian Hoskins, director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial, said: "We are conducting a dangerous experiment with our planet. We are already seeing evidence of changes in many different aspects of the climate system, from the ice sheets to the deep ocean.
“In certain regions we are likely to see changes in rainfall, decreases in soil moisture, and increased risk of drought. All of this affects the availability of water and this is particularly critical for irrigated agriculture, which currently produces 40% of the world’s food."
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