This is how we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions
Doing business in a sustainable way is part of Colruyt Group’s DNA and runs like a connecting thread through all our activities. We have been working for years on reducing our impact on the climate, always bearing a long-term result in mind. We are proud of what we have already accomplished, but we also realise that the sustainability story will never end. We therefore remain committed to making a positive difference. Discover the essence of our climate plan, from analysing and reducing to capturing.
Every day, we make efforts to minimise our impact on the climate. To succeed, it is important to have a thorough understanding of our emissions and our approach.
We monitor our greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, methane and ozone) according to the internationally recognised Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol:
- Scope 1: direct emissions caused by our own buildings, transport and production activities.
- Scope 2: indirect emissions released by generating the energy we buy.
- Scope 3: indirect emissions that take place in the values chain, at our suppliers and our customers. Examples include emissions from external production, customers moving to the store and back home, product consumption and waste management.
In 2008, Colruyt Group established its first CO2 balance. Between 2011 and 2015, it started CO2 reduction projects. Originally, they focused on reducing the emissions from refrigeration and mobility, later completed with heating.
We always stick to the following basic principles:
- Avoid emissions
- Reduce emissions
- Find solutions having the smallest impact on our climate
Thanks to the projects and initiatives in our reduction programme, we can already present good results. Over the past years, our greenhouse gas emissions (scope 1 and 2) went down in relative as well as in absolute values (cf. the chart at the bottom of this page). A tendency we would like to pursue to keep reducing our relative greenhouse gas emissions by 40 % compared to 2008.
Some of the ambitions and results (realised in 2020) from our reduction programme. You can find clarification and examples here.
In addition to reducing our emissions, we will also remove the equivalent of our remaining emissions (from scope 1 and 2) from the atmosphere by means of afforestation. Indeed, trees take CO2 from the air and store it in their biomass. Between 2022 and 2024, we will plant 12 million trees in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This means we choose our own capture instead of buying carbon credits.
On our way to net zero emissions
Combining continued emission reduction and remaining emission capture, our group wants to reach net zero emissions from 2030 in scope 1 and 2 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. The sum of the greenhouse gases we emit (+) and the CO2 we remove from the atmosphere (-) will then be 0.
Net zero emissions brings to mind ‘climate neutrality’ However, these terms do not have a widely accepted definition yet and many companies are giving them their own nuances. With ‘net zero emissions’ we choose to describe our ambition objectively.
Colruyt Group CEO Jef Colruyt: “In 2008, we emitted 17 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per million euros revenue. In 2020, it had become 12 tonnes. We are constantly looking for possibilities to do even better. However, despite all measures, we still emit more than 100,000 tonnes a year. If you argue that our wind turbines at sea save much CO2, otherwise emitted by gas plants, we are already ‘climate-neutral’. However, to mother nature, these 100,000 tonnes have not disappeared of course. That is why we want to set off our CO2 emissions by means of afforestation.” In 2020, we already planted 3,000 trees in Halle, but in a densely populated country such as Belgium, our possibilities are limited. We therefore looked for a solution in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Joining forces to reach the (tree) top
We will realise our afforestation project actively involving the local population in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This means we will provide employment, a harvesting forest, educational and agricultural projects and infrastructure, and we will build a hospital and schools. This is how we join forces to improve the environment and society, step by step.
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.