Already leading the charge when it comes to wiping out its food and plastic waste, The John Lewis Partnership has become the latest company to commit to drastically increasing its use of renewable energy. The UK retail giant recently announced a new partnership with SmartestEnergy to supply over 380 of its Waitrose and John Lewis stores with 100 percent clean power.
Through the agreement, SmartestEnergy will provide the retailer with power from its portfolio of hundreds of small to mid-sized independent renewables generators.
"As a responsible retailer, the Partnership aims to source sustainably across its supply chains and this agreement provides us with full transparency over where our energy is coming from," Nigel Keen, director of property services for the John Lewis Partnership, said in a statement. "Working with SmartestEnergy means we can support independent renewable generators and contribute to progress towards the UK's target for 15 percent of energy demand to be met from renewable sources by 2020."
The three-year contract will become active in January 2015 and will initially cover 387 sites across John Lewis' portfolio of stores.
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"We have worked very closely with the Partnership's energy buying team over the past six months and been very impressed both with their approach to sustainability and genuine interest in the energy entrepreneurs we work with," said SmartestEnergy CEO Robert Groves. SmartestEnergy sources its power directly from independent renewable energy generators throughout the UK, such as Dewlay Cheesemakers in Lancashire, a family-run business that has installed a wind turbine at its site; and the Duchy of Cornwall's Rainbarrow Farm anaerobic digestion plant, which turns corn, grass silage and food waste into power, according to Business Green.
"This agreement is good news for the growing number of independent renewable generators in the UK, as continued expansion in demand for green energy ensures they have a route to market for their power."
Groves added that the John Lewis deal is SmartestEnergy’s biggest contract to date.
The deal makes John Lewis the latest in a string of high-profile companies committing to making the switch to renewables:
- Last month, fellow UK retailer Sainsbury’s opened its second “triple zero” store, which produces zero carbon emissions from all on-site energy used, sends zero waste to landfill and has zero impact on the water usage of the local catchment area because of its water-neutral status.
- Last month, General Motors and Detroit Renewable Energy announced a renewable energy project to turn solid municipal waste from the city of Detroit into process steam that will be used to provide 58 percent of the energy needs at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant.
- Earlier this week, Interface announced it will switch to 100 percent renewable gas at its manufacturing plant in Scherpenzeel, The Netherlands, beginning January 1, 2014, through a contract with sustainable energy supplier Eneco, which will supply the plant with gas produced using food and fish waste.
- And earlier this month, LEGO Group announced a partnership with WWF centered around improving its performance on a range of environmental priorities — including becoming net positive — producing more renewable energy than it uses in its facilities — by 2016.