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Ahold Delhaize moving faster toward net zero goal

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ZAANDAM, the Netherlands – Ahold Delhaize said Friday that it is committing to reach net zero carbon emissions across its operations by no later than 2040, which is 10 years ahead of its previous schedule. The retailer also aims to become a net zero business across its entire supply chain by no later than 2050.

Ahold Delhaize has also joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C, a global coalition of United Nations agencies, business and industry leaders, in partnership with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the UN-led campaign ‘Race to Zero’.

“As a 150-year-old company, we are committed to do our part and ensure we can keep serving our customers and communities in a responsible way for the next 150 years,” Ahold Delhaize CEO Frans Muller said. “We believe we are taking the right steps, through stakeholder feedback and third-party recognition like the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, ranking us in the top 10% of companies and from MSCI, recently upgrading Ahold Delhaize from an ‘A’ to an ‘AA’ ESG rating.”

In the past years, Ahold Delhaize and its brands have worked towards a net-zero scenario by 2050 and have taken a systems approach to building a climate strategy based on Science Based Targets. It has conducted in-depth research on the impact of climate change following recommendations from the Taskforce Climate Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD).

Ahold Delhaize’s current goal is to cut carbon emissions from its brands’ own operations by 50% (with 2018 emissions as a baseline) by 2030. The company notes that more than half of its carbon emissions come from energy consumption, and more than one-third come from refrigeration systems. (Less than 10% come from transport.)

The steps Ahold Delhaize and its brands are taking to cut carbon emissions include:

  • Replacing or retrofitting refrigerator systems with lower greenhouse gas alternatives, installing natural/hybrid systems and minimizing leakage from all systems
  • Accelerating the switch to renewable power, with a number of brands using 100% renewable electricity by 2023
  • Building and remodeling stores in the most energy efficient way: installing LED lighting, adding doors to refrigerators and improving insulation
  • Switching to low carbon heating, including heat pumps and heat recuperation
  • Converting the light and heavy transportation fleet to zero-carbon alternatives including battery electric vehicles (BEV), and leveraging route optimization technology and improved fill mechanism to reduce overall energy use
  • Applying an internal carbon price model into investment proposals from its local brands

Ahold Delhaize and its brands have also committed to achieving a net zero value chain by 2050, and the company notes that the biggest opportunities to reduce carbon emissions involve agriculture. Ahold Delhaize brands are focused on partnering with farmers in this transition, by incentivizing sustainable change through longer-term contracts with concrete environmental requirements and co-investments on their farms. A detailed plan for will follow within the next 12 months, the retailer said.

“Ahold Delhaize’s local brands work with thousands of farmers and suppliers who create hundreds of thousands of products,” said Daniella Vega, the retailer’s global senior vice president for health and sustainability. “We consider this a huge responsibility and a huge opportunity. The brands can drive supplier engagement and work with them to protect and restore forests and other eco-systems.”

Ahold Delhaize added that its health and sustainability strategy is built around the idea that the health crisis and the climate crisis are inextricably linked. Healthier food choices are, more often than not, better planetary choices. A more balanced diet and more sustainable shopping baskets help reduce carbon emission, improve soil health, mitigate deforestation and increase biodiversity.

 


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