Environmental impacts

S Group is reducing the burden on the environment caused by its operations by means of investing in energy efficiency, renewable sources of energy and reducing and reusing waste.

 

Energy and water

S Group's efforts to save energy and improve the efficiency of energy use are continuous. The efficiency improvement measures are starting to show results, and the efficiency of the relative energy consumption has improved by 30 per cent from the 2010 level. The extended store hours implemented at the beginning of 2016 increased the retail Group's energy consumption slightly that year.

S Group takes energy-efficiency into consideration both in daily activities and when building new outlets and renovating existing ones. Nearly all outlets monitor the consumption of electricity, heat and water. In addition, individual metering is used in the monitoring of consumption in the key systems consuming energy – such as food retail refrigeration.

Specific consumption

2016

2015

2014

Electricity, kWh per gross m2

223

220

234

Heat, kWh per gross m2

87

83

86

Water, litres per gross m2

404

417

409

The reported consumption figures are based on data measured and reported by building or residence. Coverage of data in the properties being monitored: electricity 95%, heat 70%, water 75%. The area data covers 87% of the properties.

Energy consumption

2016

2015

2014

Electricity consumption, GWh

1,138

1,111

1,140

Heat consumption, GWh

445

419

418

Water consumption, million m3

2.1

2.1

2.0

Area, million gross m2

5.1

5.1

4.9

As part of the ‘Finland 2050' project, S Group is committed to defining an individual target for energy consumption for each S Group outlet. Currently, the target has been defined for 52 per cent of outlets.

As a whole, S Group's electricity consumption is high: our 1,600 plus outlets consume more than one per cent of the total electricity consumed in Finland. This makes us one of the ten largest non-industrial consumers of electricity in Finland. Most energy in S Group is consumed by cold storage equipment and store lighting. Considerable savings can be achieved by improving their efficiency and overhauling them.

S Group's retail stores and hotels participated in the energy efficiency agreements for the industries. The objective of the agreements has been to improve the efficiency of energy consumption by 70 GWh in 2008–2016. Motiva will publish the results for the agreement period in summer 2017.

 

Discharges and emissions

The prevention and reduction of discharges into the soil and emissions into the atmosphere are an important part of S Group's environmental responsibility.

S Group's operations generate greenhouse gas emissions, in particular, into the atmosphere but also produce volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Fuel delivery involves a risk of leaks, which contaminate the soil and groundwater.

The major carbon dioxide emissions in S Group's operations are generated by energy production, domestic transports and imports as well as packaging. S Group's emissions have been calculated in accordance with the GHG Protocol standard. Scope 1 emissions are greenhouse gas emissions caused by fuels used to heat S Group's properties. Scope 2 emissions are greenhouse gas emissions caused by the production of purchased electricity and district heat. Scope 3 emissions are indirect greenhouse gas emissions caused, for example, by product transport and delivery, commuting and business travel and packaging.

 

S Group's carbon dioxide emissions, t CO2 ekv.

2016

2015

2014

Direct – Scope 1

 

 

 

Own heating production

4,900

6,000

8,000

Refrigerant leaks in stores

66,000

-

-

Indirect – Scope 2

 

 

 

Purchased electricity

154,000

192,000

252,000

Purchased district heat and cooling

70,000

71,000

56,000

Other indirect – Scope 3

 

 

 

Product transport and delivery

77,000

64,000

68,000

Commuting and business travel

2,000

1,900

2,100

Packages

52,000

53,000

55,000

Total

425,900

387,900

441,000

  • The coverage of purchased electricity is 95 per cent, that of purchased district heat is 70 per cent and that of own heating production is 92 per cent.
  • The emissions in transports are calculated based on the tonnage transported and fuel consumption data, using emission coefficients from the LIPASTO traffic exhaust emissions and energy consumption calculation system of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
  • The carbon dioxide emission calculations of packages are based on S Group's official statistics on packaging and on a report by the Copenhagen Resource Institute on the emissions over the life cycle of packages.
  • Commuting and business travel include air traffic and SOK's company cars.
  • Refrigerant leaks cover the 14 regional cooperatives and Inex Partners Oy.
  • Verification report of Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.

Since the majority of energy used by S Group is purchased, S Group cannot fully influence the emissions of its own energy consumption. However, S Group invests considerably in its own wind power, which is completely emission-free. Increasing the use of wind power is one of the most significant ways to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of S Group's properties. In addition, opportunities to use renewable energy sources are always investigated in S Group's new building projects. When renovating properties, heating systems can be replaced with more efficient ones. For example, old oil heating systems have been replaced by district heating and geothermal heating systems.

Product transports are also a significant source of emissions. The efforts to reduce the emissions of transports include selecting optimal routes, carrying full loads, making use of return logistics and using fleet that meets the modern environmental requirements. In addition, the majority of drivers of both domestic and international contract partners have taken training in economical driving.

Inex Partners' consumer goods logistics centre completed in Bastukärr, Sipoo, in spring 2012 uses geothermal heat and bio energy for heating and cooling. The environmental impact of the logistics centre, heated almost entirely with renewable energy, is less than seven per cent compared to the use of district heat. A new grocery trade logistics centre is being built next to the consumer goods logistics centre. The new centre will be taken into use gradually in 2016–2018. The first phase was completed in summer 2016. The energy system of the new logistics centre is based on reusing the condensing heat from refrigeration in heating and on utilising geothermal heat and bioenergy in the same manner as in the consumer goods logistics centre. The heating and refrigeration energy produced for the logistics centre will be completely carbon dioxide neutral.

In work-related travel, efforts to reduce emissions include using tele- and videoconferencing instead of travelling, whenever possible. Virtual meetings have made contacts between different parties within S Group easier.

 

Waste

Reducing the amount of waste and reusing waste efficiently are key aspects of minimising S Group's environmental burden. S Group wants to do its part in minimising the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and in reusing waste either as material or energy as effectively as possible.

Organic waste, cardboard, energy waste as well as landfill and combustible waste account for the majority of waste generated in S Group's operations. The majority, or 99%, of S Group's waste was reused; in other words, the waste does not end up in landfills. In 2016, the total amount of waste was 105,000 tonnes, showing an increase of approximately two per cent compared to the previous year.

Mixed waste includes both waste to landfills and combustible waste. The majority of mixed waste is disposed of by burning. The waste figures include waste from the regional cooperatives and waste from SOK Corporation's operations in Finland.

S Group's goal was to eliminate waste to landfills completely by 2016. This goal was quite not reached, but the direction is right: only one per cent of S Group's waste is taken to landfills.

S Group's objective is to reuse the generated waste effectively. Grocery stores have been instructed to sort waste more effectively and to increase the share of reused waste by means of contracts with waste management companies. Grease waste is reused as energy as much as possible, and expiring food is increasingly directed to charity. Waste management instructions and waste sorting have also been improved in hotels.

Approximately 40 per cent of the waste generated is directed to reuse and approximately a third is used for energy. All organic waste is either directed to bio gasification, composting or production of bioethanol.

S Group offers customers opportunities to recycle waste, so that as much waste as possible would be reused.

The recycling stations at S Group's outlets or near then accept, among others, cardboard, cartonboard, plastic, glass and metal containers and clothes. In addition, the recycling of decommissioned electrical devices and electronics is possible in all of S Group's grocery stores that are larger than 1,000 m2, and portable accumulators and batteries can be returned to all S Group outlets that sell them. 

 

Recycling

2016

2015

2014

Recycling stations, total

423

332

263

Recycled plastic bottles, million pcs

169

153

153

Recycled glass bottles, million pcs

41

41

41

Recycled aluminium cans, million  pcs

576

564

564

Clothes donated to UFF, tonnes

2,986

2,760

2,350

Recycled portable accumulators and batteries, tonnes

382

342

311

 

Food loss

In S Group's grocery stores, food loss is managed by means of systematic operations and cooperation – throughout the supply chain. The goal is to reduce relative food loss by 15 per cent by the end of 2020.

Loss is managed through systematic management of orders, deliveries, transports and inventories as well as proper packaging design. In Finland, S Group's grocery stores already have more than 400 charity partners to whom foodstuffs are donated regularly. Expiring food ending up in organic waste is directed to reuse for energy, in other words gasification, composting or bioethanol production.

In 2016, food loss measured in kilograms increased compared to the previous year as a result of the extended store hours and growth in sales. Proportioned to sales, the food loss decreased by three per cent.

Food loss – supermarket trade

2016

2015

2014

Discarded food [million kg]

33.4

32.4

34.4

Discarded food in relation to sales [%]

1.63

1.67

1.79

Change in loss in relation to sales [%]

-3.2

-5.8

-0.6

 

Products and services

S Group wants to offer customers an opportunity to make choices based on their own values by making available products with environmental and sustainability certificates in various product categories.

Kotimaista product line

2016

2015

2014

Number of products in the product range, pcs

286

268

213

For example, the product ranges of grocery stores, consumer goods trade and restaurants all include organic, Fair Trade products as well as products with environmental labels. FSC-certified products are favoured in private label products made of tropical timber. In addition, the product range contains PEFC-certified wood products.

Certified products in the product range – supermarket trade

2016

2015

2014

Share of organic product sales in the sales of foodstuffs, %

2.1

1.9

1.8

Increase in the sales of organic products compared to the previous year, kg/l, %

21

7

8

Number of organic products in the product range, pcs

3,200

3,240

3,200

Number of MSC-certified products in the product range

86

53

52

Number of MSC-certified private label products in the product range, pcs

41

18

18

Share of MSC-certified frozen fish and shellfish products in all frozen fish and shellfish products, %

54

25

18

Use of certified palm oil* [%]

99

97

93

Share of certified coffee in the private label coffee product range, %

20

-

-

Share of certified cocoa or chocolate products in the private label cocoa and chocolate product range, %

56

-

-

* S Group's private label products and deep-frying oil used by restaurants.

 

Alternatives to plastic bags

In 2016, S Group made a commitment to reduce the consumption of plastic bags. The agreement is based on the amendment to the EU's directive on packaging and packaging waste aiming to prevent the generation of plastic waste and to reduce the pollution of oceans. As part of the agreement, S Group is committed to expanding the fee on plastic shopping bags.  Each S Group grocery store also offers biodegradable bag options for fruit and vegetables.

In 2016, approximately 150 million shopping bags were sold in S Group, of which about 97 per cent were plastic bags. The popularity of reusable bags has skyrocketed, and in 2016, their sales grew by 29 per cent from the previous year. The share of recycled raw material in the plastic bags to be sold was approximately 60 per cent in 2016.

Packaging and plastic bags – supermarket trade

2016

2015

2014

Share of biodegradable bags in all fruit and vegetable bags, %

4.6

3.7

3.4

Development of demand for biodegradable fruit and vegetable bags compared to the previous year, %

16

1.1

-6.5

Development of the sales of reusable bags compared to the previous year, %

29

5.2

9.9

 

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