27/03/07 - Co-operative Pulls The Plug On Energy Inefficiency
The leading exponent of climate change initiatives, the Co-operative Group, today (27 March) became the first supermarket to pull the plug on inefficient light bulbs and domestic kitchen appliances.
At the same time the Group has set itself the ambitious target of reducing the energy consumption at its premises by 25 per cent within the next five years.
Taken together with its previous support for renewable energy generation, these new measures re-affirm its position as the UK's leading retailer on climate change.
Currently the Group retails 36 different white goods (washing machines, fridge freezers, dishwashers, tumble dryers and electric cookers) of which 24 have an energy rating A or above. Henceforth, the Group will work with suppliers to ensure that it only offers goods rated A and above.
In the run up to summer 2007, the Group will overhaul its offering of energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, providing a much broader range, a reduced price differential and enhanced customer awareness campaign.
In the autumn, the Group will then move to stop selling traditional tungsten filament light bulbs at 50 pilot stores with a view to removing them from all stores at a later date, and subject to availability.
White goods and domestic lighting account for 56 percent of all domestic electricity consumption in the UK. If all retailers were to follow the Co-operative's lead, greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by almost three million tonnes per annum - the equivalent of taking 750,000 cars off UK roads.
Martin Beaumont, Chief Executive of the Co-operative Group said: ”Tough decisions such as these are never easy, but we must take them if we are to help avert Climate Change and its potentially disastrous consequences. The Co-operative has already taken the lead in supporting renewable energies - with initiatives such as wind farms on our farmland, climate friendly mortgages and car insurance and the UK's largest ever array of solar panels and the establishment of an inner city micro-wind farm in Manchester. We are now taking the lead on energy efficiency.
“In many instances, we have been able to progress energy efficiency initiatives at competitive prices. Where this hasn't proven possible, and the initial outlay is greater we are satisfied that the longer term benefits more than make up for this. For example, an A rated fridge freezer is over 40 per cent more energy efficient than a C rated model, leading to electricity savings of £16 per annum or £190 over the average 12-year life of such appliances.”
“Similarly, energy saving light bulbs use 75 per cent less energy, last up to 12 times longer and can reduce electricity bills by £9 per bulb per year or £100 over the bulb's lifetime.
“More and more people are already looking to buy energy efficient white goods, and in categories such as cold appliances A rated and above now has 60% market penetration. However, despite the false economies, energy inefficient light bulbs still dominate UK markets at 80% and consideration now needs to be given to restricted availability.”
Welcoming the move Laura Yates, climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace said: “The Co-op has demonstrated sound business sense in getting ahead of the pack on energy efficiency standards. Greenpeace congratulates this bold step of eliminating the most energy hungry white goods from sale.
“It shows that meaningful action on climate change can be taken by retailers without waiting for government. While we strongly welcome moves to remove incandescent light bulbs from shelves, we hope that this can be achieved across all stores without delay.”
Tony Juniper, Director Friends of the Earth said: “It is great to see the Co-operative Group taking proactive steps to reduce their own carbon emissions and the emissions of their customers. We would encourage all retailers to follow their lead. We need to see this sort of action across the board – which is why we are calling for the Government to introduce a strong climate change bill which commits the UK to reducing its emissions by at least 3 percent annually.”
Notes to editors
The Co-operative Group has a long track record in leading the way on climate change
The Co-operative Group recently committed to reduce its operational energy consumption by some 20% by 2010 and 25% by 2012.
The Co-operative Group led the switch to green electricity back in 1998 and its green credentials were further underlined last year when it became the first major retailer in the UK to switch all its outlets to green electricity. Energy for all the Group's mainland sites, from more than 3,000 retail shops to its headquarters complex in Manchester, is now sourced from renewable energy, making it one of the largest purchasers of green electricity in Europe. This delivers annual savings of 300,000 tonnes of CO 2 per annum.
2006 also saw the official switch-on of the Coldham Wind farm in Cambridgeshire, which is a joint venture between the Co-operative Group and ScottishPower. It has been built on agricultural land, owned and farmed by the Co-operative Group and it is the first wind farm built by Scottish Power south of the border. In 2007, the Group will be progressing a further, larger scheme in Goole, and more broadly aims to generate 15 per cent of its total electricity requirement onsite, on land holdings or at buildings, by 2012.
The Group's financial services arm CFS recently completed the work to cover the 400 ft service tower of the landmark CIS building in the centre of Manchester with 7,000 photovoltaic panels. The solar panels will create 180,000 units of renewable electricity each year - enough energy to make nine million cups of tea.
CFS also created an inner city wind farm by erecting 19 micro-wind turbines on the roof of the 13-storey CIS building, in Portland Street, on the other side of the City centre. The scheme is the largest-ever commercial application of micro-wind turbines in the UK and the wind turbines when fully operational will produce 44,000 units of renewable energy each year.
The Group is making available £1.5 million to support a Renewables for Schools programme (with an assumption that our monies will enable at least 100 schools to draw down Low Carbon Buildings Programme monies and install 4kWp PV systems).
The Group is supportive of the Carbon Trust Carbon Reduction Label initiative and is looking to join and test the emerging methodology with its own products.
27th March 2007
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Co-operative Group Press Office
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