Decarbonizing the grocery sector - Retail Council of Canada
Articles | Climate Action and Carbon Management | ESG | Sustainability

Decarbonizing the grocery sector

August 4, 2022

According to McKinsey, approximately 7% of an average grocer’s emissions come from scope 1 (direct emissions from a grocer’s operations) and scope 2 (emissions associated with purchased electricity and heat). The remaining 93% of emissions come from a grocer’s scope 3 supply chain emissions, including agriculture, transport, food processing and more.

While there are opportunities at the store and fleet-level for electrification and energy efficiency upgrades, the biggest opportunity lies in having conversations with farmers and suppliers to address scope 3. In particular, grocers will need to account for “…the key role dairy and meat play in the Western diet, as these products account for almost half of all product-related scope 3 emissions.”

With this in mind, McKinsey has identified five promising strategies:

  • Provide more sustainable options, including both branded and private-label products (e.g., plant-based alternatives, refillable packaging, etc.)
  • Create transparency for consumers (e.g., on-pack labelling with health and sustainability information, educational apps, etc.)
  • Collaborate with farmers (e.g., education opportunities, financing to support projects, etc.)
  • Collaborate with small and medium-sized suppliers (e.g., optimize product design/packaging, support in education/target setting, etc.)
  • Set ambitious targets for major CPG companies (as they already have significant expertise and funding)

Not only will action help grocers establish themselves as leaders in this space but it will also help instill confidence in investors, customers and staff. For more statistics and information on how to get started on implementing these strategies, read McKinsey’s full article.

For questions or more information contact

Kelsey Morden
Senior Manager, Sustainability Programs