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Underpinning the three key pillars of the Little Helps Plan are a number of areas where we remain committed to doing the right thing.

Own operations - carbon reduction

We continue to recognise climate change as the biggest environmental threat the world faces and one which could pose particular challenges to a number of our supply chains. In terms of our own operations we impact the climate in several ways. This includes greenhouse gas emissions from electricity powering our stores and distribution centres, emissions associated with refrigeration, and emissions from our distribution network.

Our strategy to address these areas of impact is to focus on three elements:

  1. Energy and Refrigerant Efficiency (more information here)
  2. Renewable electricity
  3. Policy engagement

Our greenhouse gas (GHG) net emissions in 2016/17 totalled 3.9 million tonnes of CO2e. For further detail on our 2016/17 emissions see our Carbon Footprint page.

Our climate change commitments

Our zero carbon ambition is aligned with science-based targets to keep global temperature rises below a 1.5 degree warming trajectory.

We set out on our ambitious carbon reduction journey in 2006 and achieved more than a 40% reduction in emissions per square foot of our stores and distribution centres between 2006 and 2016. Our investments in energy and refrigeration efficiency delivered an absolute reduction of 10% in our Group footprint, in spite of a significant increase in floor space. We are continuing to invest in these areas, but recognise that we must also do more.

In 2017 we set tougher new science-based carbon reduction targets aligned with our zero carbon ambition. Our targets have been approved by the independent Science-Based Targets Initiative. Our new targets are in line with the more ambitious 1.5 degree warming trajectory of the Paris Climate Agreement:

2015 2020 target 2025 target 2050 target
Baseline -35% -60% -100%

These targets relate to our Group absolute carbon emissions.

Renewable Electricity

To achieve our targets, we have committed to source or generate 100% of our electricity from renewable sources of by 2030. Over 50% of this will come from renewable power purchase agreements and on-site generation. We have also joined RE100, the global campaign encouraging businesses to adopt renewable electricity.
We are taking a multi-pronged approach towards achieving this goal given our presence in multiple electricity markets:

  1. Certificates - Producers of renewable energy are issued government-backed certificates for the electricity they generate. These certificates certify that the electricity comes from renewable sources. This provides a market-based incentive to invest in renewable electricity. From 2017 our UK and Ireland operations will source 100% of their purchased electricity from certificates-backed renewables. This is our first step in scaling up our renewable electricity supply.
  2. On-site and near-site sources - Wherever feasible, we will generate renewable electricity from or near our sites. In 2016 we invested £8m in on-site solar PV generation for our operations in Thailand. Our Groupwide on-site generation targets reflect the physical opportunities and limitations for expansion on our estate based on property ownership and availability of suitable space.
  3. Power purchase agreements (PPA) - Beyond our own estate, we will also procure renewable electricity through power purchase agreements, where available. We will seek to enter into long-term relationships with our electricity suppliers to meet our need for renewable electricity. By 2030, over 50% of our electricity will come from PPAs and on-site generation.