6 December 2019
By Elaine Murphy
Musgrave has announced a range of new sustainability commitments across its operations and retail brands including plans to reduce the company’s carbon footprint by 70% by 2025, the equivalent of removing 20,000 cars off the road per year or 29,000 tonnes of CO2. Musgrave’s new ‘Taking Care of Our World’ sustainability strategy was launched by Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton TD.
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton TD said: “Industry must show leadership in responding to what is the greatest challenge of our time. The Climate Action Plan is published now. It is our roadmap forward. Every enterprise must look at how they operate their own business, with a view to doing so more sustainably. The strategy being launched will be welcomed by consumers who are now looking to retailers to act in a way that is more conscious of their impact on the environment. I welcome in particular, the impact this strategy will have on Musgrave’s overall network. The entire retail industry has a powerful role to play in tackling this issue.”
It follows on from Musgrave being named by the Government as one of its Sustainable Development Goal champions in September. The company was one of the first businesses globally to integrate the principles of the UN Sustainable Development Goals into its day-to-day business activities and is committed to raising public awareness of the Goals as an SDG Champion over the coming 12 months.
Musgrave’s ‘Taking Care of Our World’ sustainability strategy consists of 25 commitments to reduce impacts on the environment, improving the health of shoppers and support the well-being of people and communities. A sample of these commitments include:
- making 100% of its own brand, fresh produce and in-store packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025;
- reducing the carbon impact of the company’s operations across the island of Ireland by 70% by 2025;
- operating all Musgrave facilities with 100% green electricity and sending zero recoverable waste to landfill;
- ensuring that food surplus is used to alleviate food poverty through partnerships with re-distribution charities and that food waste is minimised;
These commitments follow on from significant progress that Musgrave has already made across a range of areas including:
- Musgrave, through its SuperValu brand now has the largest loose fruit and veg offering in the retail sector with trials on additional items such as coffee, tea, spices and cheese in place;
- First Irish retailer to introduce 100% reusable compostable shopping bags, removing 2.5 million plastic bags from circulation;
- Introduction of compostable fruit and veg bags, leading to removal of 2.7 million single use plastic bags;
- 460 tonnes of non-detectable black plastic fruit and veg trays have been replaced with compostable and recyclable alternatives;
- 75 tonnes of plastic removed from Own Brand water ranges;
- The introduction of 100% compostable coffee cups and lids at Frank and Honest, Ireland’s number one coffee brand, diverting 25 million coffee cups from landfill;
- Moving own brand meal range from black plastic to recyclable green trays, saving 54,000 trays;
- The use of roll cages across all stores helps to reduce the packaging waste from goods delivered to each outlet;
- The issuing of guidelines to all Own Brand suppliers about plastics reduction.
- Musgrave’s award-winning Head Office building equipped with energy efficiency technology;
- Musgrave’ retail energy savings are the equivalent to the amount of electricity required to power 17,000 homes;
- 52,000 light fittings changed to LED since 2015;
- 1,270 refrigeration cabinets replaced with energy efficient units with doors, resulting in 50% less energy consumption;
- Annual Fleet Emissions reduced by over 55,000 tonnes annually.
Chris Martin, Musgrave Chief Executive, added: “We have a responsibility to make a difference to the health and well-being of our people, partners and consumers, whilst supporting the communities we serve and reducing our environmental impacts. The need for change is urgent particularly in areas such as health, climate change and plastics; Musgrave is committed to significant operational and behavioural transformation to leave a positive legacy for the generations that follow.”
As a partner to over 1,400 retailers, Musgrave will also help this wider network minimise the environmental and climate change impacts of their operations. Musgrave is supporting independent retailers with expertise, investment and training to make the changes necessary to minimise waste and maximise recycling. The company has already rolled out the largest energy training programme in the country in this respect.
As a member of Repak, Musgrave also funds household recycling bins as well as bottle banks, collection sites and recycling centres around the country that enable consumers to segregate and recycle their waste. This has helped to increase the level of packaging recycled in Ireland from under 15% in 1997 to 90% in recent years. In a bid to increase the rate of recycling, Musgrave has issued guidelines to suppliers about the use of more sustainable packaging materials and is also encouraging shoppers to switch and purchase more eco-frdly items to replace single use plastics. To this end, the company has recently launched a new eco-range – the largest eco-product range of any Irish retailer, with items such as reusable beeswax wrap to replace clingfilm and sandwich bags.