​​Driving Sustainability in the Food Retail Industry: A Focus on Science-Based Targets and Decarbonization

February 20, 2024

In the increasingly urgent push towards sustainability, companies across industries are embracing net zero targets, signaling their dedication to reducing carbon footprints. Aligning with the Paris Agreement's imperative of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius demands clear, measurable goals.

Many brands and retailers, particularly in the food industry, turn to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to ensure their emission reduction strategies are firmly rooted in scientific principles. Positioned as vital intermediaries between producers, suppliers, and consumers, food retailers hold considerable sway in advancing sustainable practices. However, they encounter diverse challenges spanning production, transportation, and beyond, necessitating action on fronts like biodiversity and waste reduction.

The SBTi provides invaluable frameworks like the Corporate Net-Zero Standard and FLAG (Forest, Land, and Agriculture) Guidance, empowering companies to set ambitious yet achievable targets. SBTi Net Zero, an extension of the initiative, underscores the importance of achieving a balance between emissions and removals. For retailers, embracing SBTi Net Zero not only aligns with sustainability imperatives but also offers distinct advantages. These include gaining a competitive edge by attracting environmentally conscious consumers, ensuring supply chain resilience amidst climate disruptions, and compliance with evolving regulations. Moreover, it enables cost savings through efficient practices and fosters positive stakeholder relationships, bolstering long-term brand reputation.

Implementing SBTi involves a strategic process:

  • Setting Science-Based Targets: Establishing targets in line with the Paris Agreement's goals, encompassing emissions reductions and achieving net zero emissions across the value chain.
  • Validation and Verification: Having targets validated by the SBTi ensures credibility and alignment with global climate goals.
  • Development and Execution of Decarbonization Strategies: Crafting comprehensive strategies to reduce emissions across operations and supply chains, with tailored approaches for food retailers such as transitioning to renewables and minimizing emissions from processing.
  • Monitoring and Reporting: Committing to transparent monitoring and reporting of progress towards net zero targets, ensuring accountability and stakeholder engagement.

While navigating the SBTi process can be daunting, especially for those new to sustainability initiatives, inoqo's SaaS platform offers invaluable support. By simplifying goal-setting and providing actionable guidance, inoqo empowers grocery retailers to navigate the complexities of sustainability with confidence.

Moreover, several retailers have already embarked on their decarbonization journeys through SBTi:

  • Aldi South Group commits to reducing absolute scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 26% by 2025 from a 2016 base year. Additionally, the group aims to have 75% of its suppliers, covering purchased goods, with science-based targets by 2024
  • Carrefour Group commits to reducing absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 30% by 2030 and 55% by 2040 from a 2019 base year.
  •  Migros-Group commits to reducing absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 70% by 2030 from a 2019 base year. Additionally, Migros-Group aims to decrease absolute scope 3 emissions from upstream transportation and distribution, use of sold goods, and investments by 27.5% over the same timeframe
  • REWE Group stands as a pioneer in adopting SBTi standards, targeting significant emissions reductions by 2030, signaling a firm commitment to climate action in the food retail sector.  They have taken a significant stride in its sustainability journey, committing its German brands, REWE & PENNY, to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) standard for the food retail sector, which includes the recent FLAG (Forest, Land, and Agriculture) guidance.

In summary, the convergence of science-based targets and decarbonization strategies presents a transformative opportunity for the food retail industry to lead in sustainability efforts. If you need assistance in assessing your baseline and setting realistic yet ambitious Science Based Targets, look no further. Our SaaS platform, inoqo, provides a comprehensive solution for grocery retailers and food suppliers to assess emissions across their entire supply chain for their full food and beverage assortment. Powered by AI-driven algorithms, our platform guides you towards your emission reduction goals with precision and efficiency. 

February 20, 2024

by Laura

from inoqo

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