In the UK, the John Lewis Partnership has declared its goal to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 at the latest, without purchasing offsets, in line with the pathway set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to limit global warming to 1.5C. Biomethane-powered trucks will are a significant component of the company’s sustainability strategy.
The Partnership will initially focus on making significant emissions reductions in the vital period of the next ten years to decarbonise its operations as much as possible as quickly as possible. By 2028, it will remove a third of carbon from its operations through a significant investment in new refrigeration technology, biomethane-powered trucks, electric vans and renewable electricity. This is expected to result in CO2 savings equivalent to removing 16,000 petrol cars off the road every year.
The new targets build on significant emissions reductions already achieved, including a 70% reduction in emissions achieved last year against a 2010 baseline – two years before the 2020 deadline the company had set itself.
2028 Truck Target
To reduce transport emissions, which contribute over 40% of its overall carbon footprint, the Partnership has set an ambitious target of zero carbon fleet by 2045. It has already started rolling out new biomethane-powered heavy trucks, which emit over 80% less CO2 than standard diesel alternatives, and aims to switch its entire fleet of over 3,200 vehicles to zero-emission vehicles. The heavy trucks will be switched to biomethane by 2028.
The Partnership will also be assessing emissions impact outside its operations, with the aim of setting further targets for emissions reduction in its supply chain, aligned with the goals of the Paris Accord. It already carries out assessments of its Waitrose & Partners fresh produce, livestock and farmed fish supply chains, looking at a range of aspects including water use, biodiversity and waste and energy. The Partnership has commitments to source key raw materials sustainably and has set ambitious targets to reduce plastic waste. The Waitrose fleet already operates trucks that use renewable natural gas (RNG) / biomethane.
Benet Northcote, Partner & Director of Corporate Responsibility at the John Lewis Partnership, said: “We recognise that urgent action is needed to keep global warming below 1.5C to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate breakdown, and we are responding with our most ambitious set of targets yet, aiming to decarbonise as much as we can in the next ten years and setting out a clear path to becoming a net zero operation. It’s of paramount importance to us as a co-owned business to ensure the Partnership is prepared for the future. We are now only one generation away from 2050 and we are committed to playing our part in transitioning to a zero carbon future.”
Nick Molho, Executive Director of Aldersgate Group, an alliance of leaders from business, politics and civil society that drives action for a sustainable economy, said: “This announcement today from the John Lewis Partnership is a sign of true corporate leadership on the environment. It is important for two reasons. First, because it sets an ambitious objective to become carbon neutral in line with climate science. Second, because this target is backed up by a comprehensive and credible range of actions across transport, energy efficiency, renewable power and a phase out of HFCs in refrigeration units. This ambitious and coherent approach to eliminating carbon emissions is exactly the kind of approach government should be promoting to achieve net zero emissions economy-wide.”
The John Lewis Partnership owns and operates two of Britain’s best-loved retail brands, John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners.