Discount Retail Chain Lidl GB (owned by the German Schwarz Group) is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2022 in a string of new climate pledges that will see suppliers obliged to also set targets.
Lidl has also pledged to cut emissions from its own operations globally by 80% by 2030, compared with a 2019 baseline.
To cut so-called ‘scope 3’ emissions in its supply chain, representing over 98% of total emissions, Lidl will “oblige suppliers” to develop and work to their own targets, it said. The obligation will apply to suppliers responsible for 75% of Lidl’s “product-related scope 3 emissions”.
The discounter said it would be achieved “through a comprehensive supplier engagement and learning programme across the group, including supporting farmers” to measure their carbon footprint and make reduction plans.
The carbon goals for suppliers will be based on ‘Science Based Targets’, a standard adopted by businesses across the world and aligned with the Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Lidl suppliers will be expected to have committed to the standard by 2026.
Lidl’s plans include producing carbon-neutral cheddar by the end of this year, which the business claims will be a UK first. It is also to ban sales of peat from 2022, two years ahead of a UK government deadline, to support peatland restoration. The long-term aim is to align its own operational carbon emissions with global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2030.
Steps to reduce emissions from its stores and distribution centres are to include equipping all new branches with solar panels “where permissible” and continuing with investment in latest refrigeration and lighting Technology.
Lidl GB has committed to operating 350 electric vehicle charging points at stores by 2022, having opened its 100th earlier this year.
“With the UK hosting COP26 in November, this is a crucial year in the fight against climate change and we recognise our responsibility to reduce our emissions to help tackle this important issue,” said Lidl GB CEO Christian Härtnagel.
“As part of the Schwarz Group, Lidl has a presence in 32 countries around the world and more than 310,000 employees globally. We’re therefore one of Europe’s largest retail businesses and through these ambitious targets we hope to make a significant contribution by not only rapidly decarbonising our own operations but also supporting our suppliers to do the same.
“As a discounter, it is ingrained in us to be constantly looking to maximise efficiency and reduce waste. Whether it’s how we heat and light our stores, or how we transport food from our suppliers to our warehouses, we are continuing to find ways to cut emissions across our business.”
Lidl is the latest in a string of supermarkets to recently announce carbon reduction targets. Tesco and M&S are aiming for net zero emissions by 2035, while others including Asda and Iceland are aiming for the same by 2040. In November last year, the BRC launched a sector-wide commitment to achieving net zero by 2040, ahead a government target for the UK of 2050.
Aldi UK & Ireland has claimed to be carbon neutral since 2019, with the help of a series of offsetting projects across the world.