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  

Growing our network

In 2016/17 we continued to grow our distribution capability. As we take our brands to more customers and invest in offering new ways to do grocery and non-food shopping - whether it's in the comfort of their own home, on-the-go with mobile technology, or in shops - we need and increasingly agile distribution network.

Partner refilling a natural gas fuel truck

Trialling alternatives

We focus on where we can make the biggest emissions savings in our fleet. In 2016, we became the first UK retailer to use 'dedicated gas' trucks that run purely on Government-certified biomethane. This is a breakthrough - the biomethane is created from waste material, transported by the gas grid and extracted locally. The trucks save 83% on carbon and are significantly quieter than their diesel equivalent. We already run 12 trucks and intend to expand the fleet further in 2017, by replacing trucks that reach the end of their life.

We are also trialling a more efficient way to power the refrigeration on our trucks. This is currently responsible for approximately 20% of Waitrose's distribution emissions. The new system enables refrigeration units on the trucks parked at our Distribution Centre to be powered from our mains electricity which is on a renewable energy contract. When on the road, the units will be powered by the more efficient, cleaner truck engine, rather than a separate engine.