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Loblaw says it has surpassed key CSR targets on emissions, food waste

‘The objective is to keep moving the needle’ says head of corporate social responsibility Tonya Lagrasta

Loblaw Companies Limited recently released its 14th annual corporate social responsibility report, saying it has met and exceeded its target goals across key areas like carbon emissions and food waste “well ahead of schedule.”

The country’s largest grocer, which operates 2,400 stores and pharmacies, says it has already achieved its 2030 goal of reducing carbon emissions from operations by 30%, and met its 2025 target of reducing food waste by 50%.

Tonya Lagrasta, head of corporate social responsibility for Loblaw, attributes the company’s success in hitting its targets to a combination of prioritizing CSR initiatives across all of its business units, as well as taking “managed risk in terms of thinking differently, innovating [and] embracing new tech solutions and ideas.”

The company’s reduction in carbon emissions, for example, stems from a wide-ranging variety of initiatives, including upgrading its in-store ambient lighting systems to LED lamps to reduce ambient lighting electricity consumption by an average of 24% per store; upgrading its parking lot lighting systems to LED, reducing electricity consumption by an average of 70% in each parking lot; and replacing open refrigerated cases in many of its dairy, meat, deli and produce departments in order to reduce its refrigeration systems’ electricity consumption.

Among the other achievements outlined in the report:

  • Its partnership with Flashfood to sell food nearing its best before date for up to 50% cheaper than the regular price has now been rolled out in more than 500 stores;
  • It’s corporate and franchised stores donated more than five million kilograms of food to local food banks and recovery agencies;
  • As part of its commitment to reducing plastic waste, the company announced that it eliminated 1.8 million plastic hangers, as well as individual plastic straws and stir sticks from in-store takeout counters.
  • The purchase of one million pounds of beef from Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef-certified farms and ranches;
  • The purchase of enough local produce from Canadian suppliers last year to meet its 2025 target of repatriating $150 million of goods that would otherwise be purchased internationally (see the full fact sheet here).

The success in achieving its goals has afforded Loblaw the opportunity to “lean in a little bit harder” on its CSR objectives, says Lagrasta. That has led the company to announce an aggressive 50% reduction in carbon emissions from operations by 2030 (against a 2011 baseline), for example.

“The objective is to keep moving the needle,” says Lagrasta. “While we achieved [our objectives] and are proud of them, we know there’s still much more opportunity to be unlocked, either in the form of reductions or increasing our positive impact and contributions.”

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