As part of its pledge to reach Net Zero in its own operations by 2035, UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has announced the launch of Sainsbury’s Innovation Investments which will invest a minimum of £5 million over the next four years into start-up businesses commercialising innovative, sustainable technologies that look to reduce operational carbon emissions and water usage.
Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) will scout and invest into early-stage companies, not limited to the Sainsbury’s supply chain, across a range of sectors. The first investment is expected to be announced before the end of 2022. In addition to providing much needed investment, Sainsbury’s is looking to accelerate dynamic start-ups and Small/Medium Enterprises (SME’s) in developing, testing, and deploying transformational technology that can reduce carbon emissions and water usage.
This announcement furthers the significant progress Sainsbury’s has already made in reducing its impact on the environment, having drastically cut its carbon emissions in its own operations by 762,119 tCO2e, a reduction of 7 per cent year-on-year and 20 per cent from its 2018/19 baseline, keeping the retailer on course to meet its Net Zero target of 2035.
Sainsbury’s Innovation Investments is part of Sainsbury’s ongoing partnership with WAE, a world-leading technology and engineering services business, which combines cutting-edge technological advances and the industry’s best engineers; accelerating the drive for zero emissions.
In 2017, Sainsbury’s began the process of installing innovative Aerofoil technology to its fridges in-store. Since then, the pioneering energy-saving technology, collaboratively developed by UK start-up Aerofoil Energy and WAE, has been rolled out across the entire estate, resulting in an estimated 15% energy-reduction, with other retailers since following suit.
Patrick Dunne, Sainsbury’s Property and Procurement Director, said: “We are committed to reaching our Net Zero target of 2035 and are proud to be doing our part in leading the way to create solutions that will reduce carbon emissions and water usage not just in our stores, but across the entire sector. We know that reducing emissions and water use is a critical part of tackling the climate crisis and to achieve this, we understand the importance of investing in pioneering technologies that can be adopted by all retailers.”
“Tackling an issue of this scale requires collaboration and we’re really excited to not only invest in these businesses, but also provide a pathway to in-store use, working towards a more sustainable future for everyone.”
Matthew Burke, Head of Technology Ventures, Williams Advanced Engineering said: “Embracing new and unproven technologies is a necessary requirement to meet Net Zero and many of these products and services will emerge from the technology start-up community.
“Sainsbury’s Innovation Investments will accelerate the commercialisation of these technologies through the opportunity of investment, trial and deployment across Sainsbury’s vast estate and operations. In doing so it will act as a springboard for wider and rapid technology adoption by customers across retail and other sectors who all share common Net Zero challenges.
“With WAE’s focus on sustainability, and expertise in technology and engineering combined with early-stage technology investing, we are delighted to be supporting Sainsbury’s journey to Net Zero with the launch of this unique investment initiative.”
Sainsbury’s has committed to becoming Net Zero in its own operations by 2035, five years earlier than its original ambition. The retailer is calling on sustainable technology businesses keen to join on its journey to Net Zero 2035 to apply at wae.com/sainsburys-innovation-investments.