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Sobeys Inc.’s unprecedented action plan to fight climate change

August 5, 2022

In a bold new climate action plan, Sobeys Inc. committed to decarbonize by 2050. Here’s how they’re taking action and making it happen.

Doing OurPart™ for the planet is among the core company values at Sobeys Inc. Recognizing that the food industry is a source of greenhouse gas emissions, Sobeys as one of Canada’s largest grocery chains strives to bring Canadians affordable food while taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint. While they’re very proud of the work they’ve done so far – eliminate 800 million single-use plastic bags from circulation this year, reduced surplus food by 24% per square foot in their stores, supported the planting of 14,000 trees (and counting) – the company aspires to do so much more. That’s why, today, Sobeys has made a landmark move, boldly committing to net-zero emissions by 2050 .

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The food industry – food production, food transport, food waste – is a large source of greenhouse gas emissions. Our industry not only makes a huge impact on the environment but is also very vulnerable to climate change and weather-related events. That’s why this is so important to us.

Eli Browne, Director Corporate Sustainability

Over the last year, Sobeys has been working with environmental activists and sustainability thought leaders to make a plan to support Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy in conjunction with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2050.

Short term? By 2030, they commit to reducing direct and indirect emissions (from the consumption of purchased energy) by 55% from a 2019 baseline. Some highlights that will help reach that target include:

  • working with fuel suppliers to reduce emissions from the sale of fuel at gas stations by 28%;
  • implementing projects to decarbonize and electrify both their corporate fleet and their Voilà delivery fleets;
  • investing in solar panels on roofs;
  • building comprehensive food-rescue programs;
  • reducing single-use packaging in stores; and
  • engaging supply chain partners in the cause.

Long term, these efforts will help Sobeys achieve net-zero emissions by 2040 for Scope 1 and 2 emissions (emissions that we control directly and indirectly through operations and production) by 2050 for Scope 3 (all other emissions up and down the value chain).

Sobeys is pursuing validation of climate targets through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), an internationally recognised body which provides standards and guidance for organisations to set targets aligned with the latest climate science.

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Climate change matters to Canadians. And as one of Canada’s largest grocery retailers, we have a responsibility to do our part. So, we’re taking action. And we’re supporting our suppliers and customers in doing so too.

Eli Browne, Director Corporate Sustainability

And Sobeys wants partners in this progress. They want their shelves stocked with suppliers committed to sustainability. That’s why they’re supporting suppliers in setting their own science-based targets to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. They would like to see 62% of their suppliers, by spend, set science-based targets for Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2027. Sobeys ultimately aims to achieve net zero in Scope 3 emissions by 2050. To support suppliers in this effort, Sobeys will offer a robust program of webinars and strategy sessions to dig deep and help them move toward a more sustainable future.

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We’re really looking to partner with our suppliers. We believe in engagement, and supplier partnership is one of the ways we’re going to make meaningful change.

Eli Browne, Director Corporate Sustainability

Another important partner in Sobeys’ fight against climate change is their loyal customer base. And Sobeys has been making changes to support them in these efforts too, notably:

  • ensuring that there are bike racks at stores , so customers can consider fuel-free transportation;
  • eliminating single-use plastic bags at checkout, encouraging customers to bring their own reusable bags;
  • adding more and more local and organic options to their shelves every day;
  • introducing more and more environmentally friendly options to their shelves (case in point: the new Compliments compostable tableware and straws); and
  • helping customers reduce food waste by supporting meal planning with their library of recipes online.
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We want to inspire customers to take action in their own lives, to bring their reusable shopping bags, to encourage their community grocery store to support local, to reduce food waste at home.

Eli Browne, Director Corporate Sustainability

Let’s all work together to help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Join our commitment by making your own, and together, let’s help do OurPart™ for the environment.

Read more in our Fiscal Year 2022 Sustainable Business Report.

FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION  

This document contains forward-looking statements about Empire and Sobeys Inc. (the “Company”) that are presented to assist the reader in setting the context for and understanding management’s expectations regarding the Company’s sustainability program. These forward-looking statements may not be appropriate for other purposes. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words or phrases such as “aim”, “commit” and similar expressions, or the negative thereof. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the following:

Climate and greenhouse gas emissions statements, including, but not limited to, plans to achieve zero net emissions by 2040 for our Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and zero net emissions by 2050 for our Scope 3 emissions; plans to reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by at least 55% by 2030; expectations that 62% of our suppliers, based on expenditures, will establish science-based targets for their Scope 1 and 2 emissions within five years; plans to reduce fuel sold emissions by 28% by 2030; projects to decarbonize the company’s vehicles, install solar panels and implement food recovery programs; as well as partnering with suppliers to establish science-based targets – all of which may be affected by changes in renewable energy generation, risks of malfunctions arising from early technology adoption, decarbonization of the electric grid, market conditions, availability of electric vehicles, policy positions on emissions, supplier relationships and negotiations, and supply and demand for carbon fuels.

By their nature, forward-looking statements require the Company to make assumptions and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. For more information on the risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could affect the Company’s forward-looking statements, please refer to the Company’s filings with the Canadian securities commissions, including the “Risk Management” section of the Company’s 2022 annual MD&A.

Although the Company believes that the predictions, forecasts, expectations or conclusions reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance as to their accuracy. Readers are cautioned to consider the risks, uncertainties and assumptions carefully when evaluating forward-looking statements and not to place undue reliance on such information. The forward-looking statements contained in this document reflect the Company’s current expectations and are subject to change. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements that may be made by or on behalf of the Company, except as required by applicable securities laws.