- During 2019 and 2020 it has reduced its electricity consumption by 39.7 million kWh, it has installed more than 1,400 solar panels, and it has ended the year with a total of 1,020 “Stores 8”, which reduce energy consumption by up to 40% compared to a conventional supermarket.
- In 2020 it joined the international initiative, Lean&Green, promoted by the AECOC, and it developed an Emissions Reduction Plan with which it will be able to certify a 20% reduction in its logistics emissions between 2015 and 2019.
- The chain introduced major improvements in 2019 and 2020, reassessing its processes and implementing new green and sustainable strategies.
Mercadona, a company of physical supermarkets and online sales, has made further progress on its Environmental Management System in 2019 and 2020 to Continue to take care of the Planet. During this time, and after having reassessed its processes and implemented new sustainability measures, the company has strengthened its commitment to respecting the environment with an investment of over 90 million euros in those two years. As part of its responsible Management Model, Mercadona joined the Spanish Network of the United Nations Global Compact over a decade ago, joining around twenty other organisations in working groups to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in the agri-food industry, with the publication of a Good Practices Guide for the sector.
Mercadona’s Environmental Management System bases its actions on the fundamental premise of producing more with fewer resources, for which it identifies the environmental impacts generated by its activity and defines objectives and strategies to reduce them in four main areas: sustainable logistics, energy efficiency, sustainable production and consumption, and waste reduction and management.
The company has continued to review its logistics and introduce improvements that, as a whole, have made it possible to optimise these processes and make them increasingly more sustainable. To do so, it has incorporated solutions such as, for example, the use of less polluting fuels, improvements to the refrigeration equipment in the vehicles, updating the fleet to more advanced and efficient engine standards, and last-mile distribution in urban centres using lorries with the most restrictive emission control standards on the market. Additionally, it has continued to drive its Eight Strategy with a wide range of initiatives which, when combined, make it possible to improve the environmental performance of its fleet, such as committing to “Ex-Works Buying” to reduce the carbon footprint; implementing “Inverse Logistics” to optimise return trips; and supporting the eco-design of packages and packaging to optimise load space and avoid “transporting air”.
Thanks to all this, and to the constant effort of its logistics department and the Totaler Suppliers that it collaborates with, at the end of 2020 the company certified important advances, as reflected in this data: 99% of its fleet complies with the Euro VI standard; it has 103 lorries powered by natural gas (LNG and CNG); it does silent logistics in off-peak hours in a total of 777 stores; and it has achieved a lorry fill rate of 85%, despite the complexity of the logistics changes caused by the pandemic.
To further boost its constant commitment to reducing the environmental impact of its activity, in 2020 the company also joined the Lean&Green international initiative promoted by the AECOC in Spain. As a result, it is working on an Emissions Reduction Action Plan with which it will be able to certify an initial reduction of 20% in its logistics emissions between 2015 and 2019, to which it will add an additional 10% in 2023.
Mercadona has also introduced important changes in the area of energy efficiency, following the pillars of its Environmental Management System. Specifically, it has implemented a project to comprehensively measure each store's energy consumption in real time, and it is installing photovoltaic panels as a source of renewable energy and emissions reduction. In this respect, in 2020 the company installed more than 1,400 solar panels at 8 different stores in Spain and Portugal, an initiative that will allow it to save 15% in electricity in each of these stores. It currently has a total of 9,000 active solar panels, the equivalent of more than 600 kWp in photovoltaic panels.
Additionally, in 2019 and 2020 the company has continued to make progress on its commitment to eco-efficient stores by adapting its network of supermarkets to the New Eco-Efficient Store Model or “Store 8”. This effort has made it possible to close the year 2020 with a total of 1,020 “Stores 8”, which reduce energy consumption by 40% compared to a conventional supermarket.
Thanks to all this, for yet another year Mercadona has reduced its electricity consumption during 2019 and 2020 by 39.7 million kWh, with consumption rates per m3 of goods arriving at stores of 57.6 and 58.5 kWh in 2020 and 2019, respectively, compared to 61.5 kWh in 2017. Furthermore, it has continued working on other green initiatives, such as the installation of 1,433 charging stations for electric vehicles in its car parks, and the prevention and control of refrigerant gas leaks, with very relevant improvements in the evolution of emissions caused by these leaks, going from 14.3% in 2017 to 6.93% and 5.61% in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Waste Management and reduction of plastic: the Strategy 6.25
Mercadona is aware of the opportunities that come from good waste management, and the impact it has on the sustainability of the planet, which is why it has been focusing all of its efforts in recent years on reduction and the pillars of the Circular Economy as a principal strategy.
To do so, in addition to strengthening its now consolidated systems for reusing and recycling commercial packaging, in 2020 it implemented what it calls the Strategy 6.25, which consists of six actions to reduce plastic use and responsibly manage its waste to achieve a triple objective by 2025: reduce the plastic in its packaging by 25%; ensure that all its plastic packaging is recyclable; and recycle all its plastic waste.
With this objective, the company has already eliminated single-use plastic bags in all its sections, as well as disposable plastic items, which it has replaced with sustainable household items. In the next five years, and in collaboration with its its suppliers, the company will reduce the plastic in Mercadona brand packaging and will provide information about recycling to the “Bosses” (customers) in order to promote and facilitate the separation of waste in stores and in their homes. These measures have made it possible to recycle up to 3,000 tonnes of plastic to make reusable bags in 2020 alone, and to manage to save more than 180,000 tonnes of single-use material each year.
Mercadona will invest 140 million euros through 2025 in implementing the Strategy 6.25 and in meeting all of the commitments that this involves, in addition to transforming all of the chain’s stores into Store 6.25 in 2021.
Committed to the environment and sustainable production: 17,000 tonnes of products donated and certified in sustainability and animal welfare
In addition to all of the above, the waste-reduction strategy also includes other initiatives, such as donating products that are fit for consumption, an initiative that in 2020 allowed Mercadona to collaborate with more than 290 soup kitchens and up to 60 food banks, to which it donated a total of 17,000 tonnes of products in Spain and Portugal.
At the same time, the company has continued to strengthen its bonds with society by launching other projects that promote a more sustainable production and consumption model. That is the case, for example, with the creation of the Mercadona Circular Economy Chair with UPF-BSM, and with the animal welfare policies it promotes. This includes its suppliers joining the Spanish Action Plan on Antibiotic Resistance, as well as the different certifications they have, for example, all of its aquaculture suppliers are certified in good sustainability practices and animal welfare, and, likewise, 100% of its agriculture suppliers have joined Global GAP, a voluntary standard to ensure food safety and the sustainability of agricultural operations.
As part of its commitment to give back to society, Mercadona has integrated its Social Responsibility Plan into its daily business, addressing social and ethical issues through various sustainable lines of action that reinforce its commitment to grow together with society.