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Monday October 14, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday October 14, 2013 MYT 8:38:20 AM
by natalie heng
Behaviour modification: Tesco Malaysia's efforts to save energy starts with simple acts, such as sliding down the covers for the freezers when the store closes at the end of the day.
Retail giant aims for a smaller carbon footprint.
TESCO is the world’s largest supermarket group. Founded in London, England during times of austerity way back in 1929, its aggressive expansion policies have seen it mushroom all over the globe.
Signage pylons featuring its red and blue logo are now seen in 12 countries. It’s reach, and therefore its carbon footprint, is significant. In 2009, the retail giant announced its commitment to become a zero-carbon business by the year 2050.
With the current cost of green technologies, that goal may seem unrealistic. However, the company also has two smaller targets, which are beginning to look achievable.
Tesco wants to halve the carbon emissions per sqft from its stores and distribution centres by 2020 (from 2006 base levels). For carbon emissions from transportation, it’s aiming for a 25% reduction per case load of goods (from 2011 base levels).
Every country had to submit a road map setting out how it planned to deliver on this commitment in 2010. And Malaysia, which got its first Tesco store in 2002, was no exception.
Kathleen Teh is soft-spoken, with an intelligent smile. An engineering graduate from the University of Sheffield, she is Tesco Malaysia’s energy manager in charge of planning the ways to reduce the company’s energy consumption and carbon footprint.
After a year in the job, she is excited about their achievements so far. She says the company’s biggest contributors to carbon emissions are electricity (65%), distribution fuel (13%) and refrigerants (13%).
Aside from investments in green technology, she says simple modifications in staff behaviour made a difference. A pilot programme in the outlet in Puchong, Selangor, proved this.
“We got the staff to do simple things like sliding down the covers for the freezers and installing devices to work our equipment at optimal settings,” says Teh.
When the three-month trial ended, there was a 3.8% reduction in energy usage, and a saving of RM8,600. Similar measures have been adopted in its 48 stores nationwide. If all the stores replicate the savings seen in the Puchong outlet, this will translate to significant improvements in the company’s carbon footprint.
Simple process modifications can also make a difference to the amount of carbon emissions emitted by its fleet of distribution trucks. Its 89 trucks criss-cross the country, transporting dry goods and fresh produce from distribution centres to stores.
Low Lee Ann, head of CSR and corporate affairs, says that by implementing more efficient packing procedures – such as fitting more products into each truck, increasing multi-drop deliveries, and improving route planning – they can achieve better fuel economy.
“These initiatives go towards our goal of reducing emissions intensity per case load by 25% by the year 2020.”
The company’s investment in new, fuel-efficient trunks has helped reduce fuel costs and resulted in a 7% reduction in carbon emission intensity.
Combined with other measures, Tesco Malaysia has reached an 18% reduction in carbon emission intensity per case load (the target is 25%).
Aside from investments in transportation, a range of in-store upgrades have been made to reduce energy bills. Teh says they have spent RM52.8mil on energy-saving initiatives. Two thirds of their stores have upgraded their air-conditioning systems. The less energy-efficient T8 lights are slowly being replaced with LED and T5 lights.
Likewise, R22 refrigerants are being replaced with R407F refrigerants which emit half the greenhouse gases of the former. “You can’t discount the importance of refrigeration gasses,” Teh points out.
Indeed, current refrigerants are hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), often referred to as “super greenhouse gases” because they are 3,830 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
“If there is a leak, whatever electricity savings we do in that quarter will just be wiped off.”
Hence, it is also important that stores have smart technology as well as good management systems in place. This includes installation of motion detectors for lighting, remote power monitoring and travellators with energy-saving controls.
These investments have paid off, with Tesco seeing a 17% reduction in energy bills over a period of five years. This translates to a 25% reduction in carbon intensity for its 48 stores and two distribution centres. This is based on 2006 levels, measured at 46.5kg CO2 emissions per sqft.
“They are based on emission data from the three main areas of electricity, refrigeration gas leaks, and transportation fuel. Each source, whether it’s diesel or a refrigerant or a combination of different fuels used to generate electricity, will have its own emission factor that reflects the rate of greenhouse gas emitted by that particular source.”
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Environment, Environment, Lifestyle, Tesco, Carbon Emmissions, Greenhouse Gasses, Environment, Energy Savings, Carbon Reduction, Carbon Footprint
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