Green goods vehicles from John Lewis Partnership are part of its net-zero push

Push to net-zero: John Lewis Partnership GHG targets validated by SBTi

John Lewis Partnership (JLP) said this week it is the “first retailer in the world” to set validated science-based targets on reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) originating from forests, land, and agriculture (FLAG).

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which is currently viewed as the gold standard for setting and monitoring corporate climate targets, has validated the John Lewis and Waitrose parent company’s net-zero plans.

The validation covers JLP’s target to be net-zero across its own operations by 2035, and net-zero in its wider supply chain by 2050.

JLP said on Thursday (29 June) this landmark moment in its environmental strategy demonstrates its commitment to play a part in limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C – as called for in the Paris Agreement. Green Retail World’s recent interview with JLP’s director of ethics & sustainability, Marija Rompani, also highlights some of the changes the business is undertaking as it looks to reduce its impact on the planet.

Highlighting the task ahead, Rompani said this week: “Reaching net-zero by 2050 means transforming our business in every way, from how we design our goods to last, how we and our suppliers power our farms, factories and stores, and how we make it easier for our customers to make more sustainable choices.

“To be the first retailer globally to set forest, land and agriculture science-based targets gives us great pride. It will be the bedrock of our plans to protect and restore nature and tackle the climate crisis over the years to come.”

Work is under way to sharply decarbonise its operations includes moving its vehicles away from fossil fuels within its own fleets – this is an incremental process but the target is to transition larger vehicles to run on biomethane and smaller vans on electricity.

Where possible, JLP said it is converting the gas boilers that heat its stores to electric-powered heat pumps, while the organisation has also committed to procuring 100% renewable electricity across all its operations.

The JLP FLAG target underpins the retail group’s Plan for Nature, which was published last autumn and covers the wider range of initiatives devised to ensure the organisation’s commercial activity has a limited impact on the natural world.

Simon Winch, environment lead at JLP, said: “Coming up with a set of credible targets for our road to net-zero is the culmination of many months of focused work and determined preparation.

“Validation by SBTi gives us great confidence in the targets and our plans. But we know this is only the start. The validation of our science-based targets will turbocharge the change needed in our business to transform how we operate and help ensure that the world remains in sight of limiting global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees C.”

Luiz Amaral, CEO of SBTi, added: “Climate science tells us that we need rapid and deep emissions cuts if we are to achieve global net-zero and prevent the most damaging effects of climate change.

“JLP’s net-zero targets match the urgency of the climate crisis and set a clear example that their peers must follow.”

John Lewis and Waitrose gaining credit for their environmental policy and commitments comes in the same week the Climate Change Committee (CCC) suggested the UK is no longer a world leader in the net-zero movement.

Despite the UK government’s commitments being published this year in the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan (CBDP), the CCC said on Wednesday policy development has been too slow, adding that its confidence in the UK meeting its medium-term targets has decreased in the past 12 months.

“The increased transparency embodied in the CBDP is welcome, but a key opportunity to raise the overall pace of delivery has been missed,” it explained in its yearly report.

[Image credit: John Lewis Partnership]

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