Climate & Energy
Reducing our carbon footprint helps us do our part to address climate change. We strive to lower our energy use in many ways such as: improving fuel efficiency in our trucks, switching to LEDs that use less electricity, and harnessing renewable energy such as wind and solar.
Energy savings can have a big impact on the environment. We are investing in energy efficiency technologies to reduce our electricity usage in our stores, distribution centers, manufacturing plants and offices. These can be in the form of energy efficient LED lighting in stores, energy management systems to monitor our energy consumption or solar energy to power our stores.
We have a growing portfolio of neighborhood stores that use solar energy systems. Each system generates about 20% of the power needed to run an entire store. Every single solar panel installation adds up to make a big difference. Another renewable energy we are harnessing is wind power. We were one of the first U.S. retailers to use on-premise, utility-grade wind turbines at one of our distribution centers. The two 1-megawatt Mitsubishi wind turbines make a significant contribution to the power needs of our 1.9 million square foot distribution center located on 210 acres in Tracy, California.
Our company has constantly explored technologies that can help us reduce our carbon footprint while improving our business operations and impact in the community. One area showing much promise is transportation. 89% of our truck fleet are EPA SmartWay certified carriers to advance supply chain sustainability and freight transportation efficiency. Over the past five years, our biodiesel program has converted over 13 million lbs. of used cooking oil from our California stores. This not only reduces waste, but also powers a portion of our truck fleets; reducing the equivalent amount of emissions from driving a car across the U.S. more than 2,700 times.
Recycling & Waste Reduction
At Albertsons Companies, our commitment to responsibly use resources includes thoughtful consideration of how we can reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and recycle what was once considered trash.
We are working towards zero waste across all our operations by diverting as much as possible from the landfill to better resources. Zero waste is considered achievable in locations with recycling facilities that include composting and/or bio-digestion. To qualify as zero waste, facilities must recycle or divert at least 90% of materials that would have previously been sent to landfills.
Our manufacturing facilities committed to zero waste by 2022 and in 2016, 11 of our 18 manufacturing facilities were zero waste. We also recycled more than 24 million lbs. of plastic film from our stores and distribution centers. This plastic gets new life with our partnership with TREX and is used in decking material and lumber.
One of our banners, Safeway is a founding member of the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council, which aims to standardize zero-waste practices. Albertsons Companies is also an active member of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA), a cross-sector industry initiative led by the Food Marketing Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the National Restaurant Association. FWRA focuses on the challenges of food waste to help shrink the grocery, manufacturing and restaurant sector’s environmental footprint while also addressing hunger in America. More recently, we contributed to the ReFED’s “Retail Food Waste Action Guide” that supports all retailers in their efforts to tackle food waste.
Through our in-store food donation program, we donate edible fresh and packaged food products (Including produce, meat and dairy) that are close to expiration to local food banks. This helps us reduce food waste in our stores and makes sure it reaches communities in need. Through our donation programs, we partner with Feeding America and others to donate food to local food banks and food pantries to support the communities we serve.
Water is a precious resource, and there are many ways we can conserve it. We have found that even simple changes in behavior can lead to dramatic results.
We are always on the lookout for new or existing technologies that can help improve our water efficiency. We installed aerators on water faucets in our stores, which reduced the amount of water without compromising food safety or sanitation requirements. It also reduced natural gas needed for heating the water.
Focusing on leak prevention has also been key to our water conservation efforts, since leaks waste water and can be expensive to repair. All water utility use at our company is fed into a database that monitors consumption patterns. A special computer algorithm has been developed that tracks consumption and detects when water usage fluctuates out of normal ranges. If a variation is detected, we investigate the problem to see if it is caused by a leak and address it quickly to minimize negative impacts.