ALDI completes renewable electricity transition

ALDI Australia has achieved its commitment to power its operations with 100% renewable electricity six months ahead of schedule.

According to ALDI, the milestone establishes the retailer as the first supermarket in Australia to have all offices, stores and warehouses powered using only renewable electricity sources. This results in a reduction of the company’s CO2 emissions by 85%.

The transition, says ALDI, was achieved using a three-pronged approach comprising of on-site generation via its extensive network of solar panels across stores and distribution centres, offsite generation through Power Purchase Agreements with two wind farms, and the acquisition of market renewable energy certificates.

By achieving its 100% renewable electricity commitment, the supermarket says it will annually prevent over 274,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere.

ALDI Australia CEO Tom Daunt says that as the 67th biggest user of electricity in Australia, the retailer recognises the significant role it has to reduce its impact on the environment and contribute to a more sustainable future.

“We have always been a business that prioritises doing the right thing over talking about it,” he says.

“We hope that other businesses across the country are encouraged by what we have been able to achieve and accelerate their own plans around renewable energy.

“Our customers care about ensuring they purchase with purpose and every time someone walks through our doors, they can feel confident their weekly shop isn’t costing the earth. We’re already known for our high-quality products at incredibly low prices and as a responsible Australian business, we’re thrilled to be maintaining this great value without compromising the environment.”

Wind farms

ALDI is already generating energy from its wind-farm investments with 10-year Power Purchase Agreements with Tilt Renewables’ Dundonnell Wind Farm, based in western Victoria, and RATCH-Australia’s newest wind farm, Collector Wind Farm located in the Southern Tablelands of NSW.

Tilt Renewables CEO Deion Campbell says his company’s partnership with ALDI will be a long-term journey supplying clean renewable energy to its stores.

“Projects like Dundonnell support local jobs as well as Australia’s transition to a lower-emissions future, and we are pleased that ALDI are leading the way in procuring renewable energy and supporting this future,” he says.

RATCH-Australia Managing Director Polagorn Kheosiplard says it has been so encouraging for his company’s development team to see a well-known household name like ALDI embrace clean energy.

“Servicing ALDI’s energy needs currently makes for almost 20% of our Collector Wind Farm’s generation,” he says.

“I hope that many more Australian companies follow ALDI’s lead and tap into this abundant resource.”

Solar panels

To generate clean energy onsite, ALDI continues to install solar panels across its network of freestanding stores.

Since commencing its solar installation program in 2015, ALDI says it will have installed more than 104,000 panels across 274 stores and six distribution centres by the end of the year.

ALDI’s industry partner Epho, who was recently acquired by AGL, has made up the “lion’s share” of its extensive solar rollout, having contributed 24.5MW of power to the supermarket’s total electricity requirements.

The benefits of the partnership with Epho extends beyond generating clean electricity, says ALDI, having enabled 150 Epho employees and contractors across the country to remain in their jobs during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

Epho Managing Director Oliver Hartley says supporting ALDI with its renewables ambition makes his team immensely proud.

“Last year, at the peak of the program, we delivered 100 solar systems on ALDI stores in 100 business days,” he says. “This kind of speed is only possible because ALDI and Epho have built a strong partnership over the years.”

Other sustainability initiatives

ALDI says its 100% renewable electricity achievement is just one of several sustainability initiatives across the business and its supply chain.

By 2025, ALDI aims to send zero waste to landfill which includes a goal to achieve zero food waste sent to landfill by 2023. The program will see ALDI expand segregated waste collection at stores and identify closed loop recycling opportunities.

ALDI also aims to reduce at least a quarter of all plastics and packaging from its own brand products, as well as remove certain single-use and problematic plastics from its range.

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