Operational emissions

We remain committed to increasing the energy efficiency of our buildings, procuring low carbon energy, distributing our goods in the most resourceful way and encouraging innovation as we do this. 

Our strategy

Following the changes we made to our operational emissions targets in 2015/16 we have spent 2016/17 embedding the revised strategy throughout our organisation and now have more Partners working full time to reduce our energy usage.

We have introduced several new innovations to help reduce the carbon impact of our business. For example, we are trialling a new lower carbon refrigerant and lower carbon methods to power the refrigeration on our trucks. If the trials are successful, we will roll these out in 2017. We also continue to focus on proven solutions such as ensuring all new and refurbished stores are equipped with LED lighting and extending our water-cooled refrigeration solution that uses natural refrigerants.

We increased our procurement of renewable electricity in 2016. As a result we have already achieved our target of a 65% reduction in carbon intensity (tonnes per £m of revenue) against a 2010 baseline. For sites within our contractual control, we remain committed to purchasing only renewable electricity.

We are encouraged by the progress we have made. However, there is still more to do to reduce our energy consumption in stores and on the roads. We want to empower Partners at all levels to make decisions with resource reduction in mind, so we have begun trials to give current energy information to shops via mobile apps, allowing shop-specific decisions to be made. This has also enabled us to report more regularly to our management boards on progress against performance.

Global Greenhouse Gas emissions data (tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent)



Scope 1
Combustion of fuel and operation of facilities, refrigeration




Scope 2
Electricity purchased and heat and steam generated for own use




294,927 269,986*




Scope 3
Water, business travel, waste to landfill and transmission and distribution losses from purchased electricity



Tonnes CO2e per £m sales










The Partnership has reported on all of the emission sources as required under the Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Reports) Regulations 2013. 2016 data is reported on an approximate calendar year basis which comprises the period from 27 December 2015 to 24 December 2016. Data from 2010 to 2014 is reported by financial year, with 2015 as an approximate calendar year. The methodology used to calculate our CO2e emissions is the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (revised edition), using the operational control approach on reporting boundaries. This covers the properties where the Partnership has operational control and are financially responsible for the utility supply. Data has been calculated using Defra 2016 emissions factors, with the exception of certain refrigerants, and some emissions sources associated with our Leckford farm which are taken from industrial and academic sources. 2015 has been restated for Scope 1 and Scope 3. Scope 1 has been restated due to an improvement in calculation methodology with water and water treatment. Scope 3 has been restated due to 2016 agriculture emissions factor changes resulting in re-stating the historic data to allow for comparisons.

*We engaged KPMG LLP to undertake an independent limited assurance engagement, reporting to the Partnership, over selected information

Our Targets and Progress

Target Progress

By year end 2020/21 we will achieve a 65% reduction in carbon intensity (tonnes per £m) against a 2010 baseline.


By year end 2020/21 we will reduce energy consumption (kWh per ft2) by 20% against a 2010 baseline.


We will ensure refrigerant emissions leakage is no more than 7% entrained volume by year end 2015/16.


By year end 2020/21 we will achieve a 5% reduction in carbon intensity from distribution (tonnes per £m) against a 2010 baseline.


*We engaged KPMG LLP to undertake an independent limited assurance engagement, reporting to the Partnership, over selected information  

John Lewis Leeds
John Lewis, Leeds

Investing in our buildings

Whenever we open a new shop, our aim is that this exceeds minimum standards wherever possible so that we maximise resource efficiency and lower our impact on the environment. Waitrose Worcester and John Lewis Leeds, which both opened this year, were designed to exceed Building Regulations standards on carbon emissions by approximately 40%. This is as a result of a number of design specifications in these shops.

  • Building Regulations requires all new buildings to be air sealed and sets a minimum air permeability of 10m3/hr/m2. The Waitrose target was 3m3/hr/m2 and the building actually achieved 2.03m3/hr/m2. John Lewis set a target of of 5.0 m³/hr.m² and the building achieved 4.5 m³/hr.m². As a result less external and untreated air infiltrates the internal space, reducing heating requirements.
  • The thermal properties of the building fabric are better than the minimum standards set out in the building regulations and this results in lower heating loads.
  • At Waitrose Worcester, Cold Air Retrieval (CAR) takes cool air from low down in the cabinet aisles and uses it to overcome the extra heat generated at the checkouts where typically there is solar gain from the shop front glazing and a higher density of people. The CAR system uses less electricity compared to a traditional air conditioning system.
  • Our Waitrose refrigeration system uses water cooling and therefore significantly less refrigerant than a conventional supermarket system. The refrigerant is a Hydrocarbon (HC) and has a lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) compared with a Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC). While systems are designed and installed to avoid leaks, should the system leak refrigerant into the atmosphere the associated emissions are much lower than for a conventional system.
  • LED lighting throughout the shops reduces both electrical consumption and potential cooling loads as less heat is produced from the fittings.
  • The heating, ventilation and cooling systems are all controlled from a Building Management System (BMS), which optimises the operation of the plant. This switches the plant on and off at optimum times and avoids overheating and overcooling areas. It slows down fan speeds when the heating and cooling loads allow. This results in an overall reduction in electricity consumption.
  • High efficiency boilers and water heaters also lower our use of energy. 

Waitrose Worcester
Waitrose, Worcester


We have a target to ensure that by the end of 2020/21 refrigeration leakage will be no more than 7% of entrained volume - this year we met and just surpassed it at 6.98%*. To maintain this, all new and replacement refrigeration units will continue to be replaced with natural gas alternatives. In our remaining systems we will ensure that the refrigerants replaced are of the lowest GWP. In 2016/17 24 store systems were upgraded in this way. We will also continue to monitor the estate day and night to ensure that, where leaks occur, they are dealt with as quickly as possible.

Establishing low-carbon solutions at our farm

Waitrose is working with the Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Network and the University of Southampton on a feasibility study funded by the BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Services Research Council). This is investigating the potential for an AD plant at our farm in Leckford in Hampshire. If viable, the AD plant would convert farm waste streams into energy which would be used on site for both electricity and heating.

*We engaged KPMG LLP to undertake an independent limited assurance engagement, reporting to the Partnership, over selected information.