‘Sustainability Is At The Core Of Our Daily Operations’

09 Feb 2018 | 11.17 am

‘Sustainability Is At The Core Of Our Daily Operations’

Deirdre Ryan of Lidl explains the benefits of Origin Green

09 Feb 2018 | 11.17 am

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Origin Green is Ireland’s voluntary national food sustainability programme, led by Bord Bia. This month, we feature Deirdre Ryan (pictured), Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Lidl

 

What is the background to your business?

Lidl entered the Irish grocery market in July 2000 and now employs more than 4,200 people in Ireland across 154 stores, three warehouses and its head office. Lidl is part of the Schwarz group and operates 10,000 stores across 29 countries, so we are uniquely placed to support and promote Irish suppliers exporting to other Lidl countries. Sustainability is at the core of the company’s daily operations, with a strong ethos of responsibility towards people, society and the environment in the company mission.

Why did Lidl join Origin Green?

Significant work was being undertaken in Lidl around sustainability for many years but it was not cohesively managed – the Origin Green programme provided us with the platform to do this. The Origin Green charter gave us the structure to define our strategic objectives, priority areas, targets and KPIs under one framework.

The third-party verification aspect of the programme also ensures its credibility, while becoming a verified member pulled us together as a sustainability team. Additionally, nearly half of our Irish suppliers are verified members of Origin Green. Being a member of the same national programme is conducive to collaboration, as we are working towards common objectives.

What are the key points of your sustainability plan?

There are a number of core pillars to our  sustainability strategy:

  • Providing a safe and nurturing environment for our employees
  • Positively contributing to the communities in which we operate
  • Being good stewards of the environment.

We have six targets in the area of responsible sourcing; the most ambitious is our target to certify 35% of our range to sustainability programmes by 2020. We have 10 targets in the areas of waste, emissions, energy and water, which include a zero waste to landfill target. We also set ourselves the objective of implementing a national food redistribution programme in all of our stores and warehouses, aiming to donate one million meals in surplus food to local charities by 2020.

We want to further build our community contributions over the coming years, increasing our annual fundraising by 12% and developing our volunteering programme by offering a (paid) volunteer day to all employees. We focus on employee wellbeing through our programme Work Safe, Live Well, where we are aiming to significantly increase the number of employees accessing our benefits offering and engagement programmes.

What progress have you made on these plans?

We joined the programme in February 2017; last year, our programme won numerous sustainability awards such as the Chambers Ireland Awards and the Repak Pakman Awards. We also became the first major retailer to certify all our operations to the ISO50001 energy management standard.

We trialled renewables, such as the solar installation in our Gorey store, provided e-charging points for customers and employees at selected locations, and rolled out an LED retrofit project. We also implemented our national food redistribution programme, ‘Lidl Feed it Back’.

How does Origin Green benefit business, the environment and society?

A global transition is needed from all sectors and all value chains in order to limit global warming. If global temperatures continue to increase at the current rate, the food industry – like everyone else – will face increased business risks. It is imperative we collaborate. Origin Green provides this platform.

 

  • For more details on the Origin Green programme, visit origingreen.ie

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