Lidl says the range of initiatives to help it become carbon neutral by 2025 will come at a cost, however, it does not expect to pass those costs on to Irish consumers.
he discount retail chain said it is also committed to a 46pc reduction on its operational emissions by 2030 as part of its sustainability strategy.
There is “a cost associated with everything that we have done in the area of sustainability over the past number of years and there will be a cost in future years as well”, said Lidl Ireland CEO JP Scally.
These costs are “something that gets discussed at our board table quite regularly”.
“And ultimately, we come to the conclusion that… we cannot base our decisions on a cost-benefit analysis always.”
The company said it does not envisage that the commitments will come at a cost to shoppers.
“Rather they will benefit them, our suppliers, and communities we serve across the country. We are investing in longer term infrastructural changes that do come at a cost to us, but make economic sense and benefit the environment we share in the long-term,” the company said.
There is an onus on the business “to do the right thing”, Mr Scally said.
“We know we are in a position of influence as a retailer… [with] many of the sustainability initiatives we have implemented there has been an upfront cost to us as a business but if you roll-on two or three years, generally the entire market will have followed our lead and taken similar measures and incurred similar costs as well and therefore we are no longer at a competitive disadvantage in terms of price.”
As part of its sustainability ambitions the retailer is introducing more electric vehicle charging points for customers in car parks, installing solar panels on its new stores, retrofitting solar panelling on “at least 15” shops a year, and further reducing the use of plastics.
The company has 170 stores in the State and 41 in the North.
“We can reduce our electricity bills substantially by installing solar panels, therefore we are not adding, in the long-term, to our overheads. In fact we are saving in the long-term on our overheads as a business and therefore can pass on those cost savings to the consumer,” Mr Scally said.
Lidl Ireland has switched a number of its cars to electric, particularly those used for short journeys.
“Electric vehicles for delivery to stores is something that we are open minded about, that we are talking to people about, I think the technology is not quite there yet, but you can be sure as soon as it is there and available to us we will be the first to jump on that opportunity.”
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