We take responsibility for the environmental impact our operations have across our supply chain – from distribution centre and our double-decker trucks right through to our stores. And we continuously explore new ways to reduce our impact.
As the number of our stores continues to grow, we are investing in additional distribution centres in central locations. We run our distribution centres in an efficient and energy-saving manner: we use electric transport to limit CO2 emissions and to reduce noise and exhaust levels on site. All new distribution centres are fitted with LED lights in the warehouse, offices and outside areas. We always check whether it is possible to use renewable energy sources to operate our distribution centres. For instance, the logistics centre in Echt, the Netherlands, is equipped with more than 6,500 solar panels, which provide 50% of the centre’s total energy consumption. For all other existing warehouses and future warehouses, Action is checking opportunities to install solar panels as a standard. Our distribution centre in Zwaagdijk, the Netherlands, uses two thermal sources as additional energy supply, which reduces the amount of ordinary energy resources the centre uses.
In the future, we will strive for more sustainably built distribution centres that fulfill the latest technological construction requirements for ecological and environmentally friendly operations. That is why we have chosen to construct all new distribution centres in alignment with BREEAM standards, an international rating system for sustainable building constructions (or comparable certification standards). The distribution centre in Belleville (France), which started operations early 2019, is fitted with solar panels that supply the local energy network with 4,000 MWh of electricity per year. This is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of more than 1,600 people. In addition, the building is BREEAM Good certified. The new distribution centre in Osła (Poland), which opened in November 2019, has a BREEAM certification of Very Good. The site features, for example, a limited number of solar panels to generate hot water for the office, charging stations for electrical vehicles and certified materials with lower environmental impact.
In May 2019, Action’s new distribution centre in Peine (Germany) was awarded the DGNB Gold certificate by the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB). The certificate marks sustainable efforts in construction and takes a stand for buildings with socio-cultural and ecological quality. For future distribution centre developments, we aim for similar standards (minimum BREEAM Very Good or equivalent) and will look to outperform them.
Measured by the number of stores and our steady growth, our stores are one of the major contributors to our energy consumption. That is why we are continuously looking into new solutions to save energy and make our stores more sustainable and energy-efficient: from alternative energy sources, to LED lights and the installation of smart meters to energy-efficient all electric air-conditioning and heating systems. Besides fitting out our new stores with these solutions, in 2019, we implemented various energy saving methods in 26 refurbished stores in the Netherlands. Since they are equipped with smart meters, we were be able to track the impact of these measures in comparison to the old fit out.
In all refurbished stores, we switched from gas to electric heat pump solutions, replaced tube lighting with LEDs and installed energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems (HVAC). Furthermore, the LED lighting and HVAC systems are automatically switched off after opening hours by linking them to the alarm.
The results: in these stores, the average energy reduction was about 15%, with some stores even achieving energy reductions of 20%.
At the moment, just a few of our stores have solar panels. However, our ambition is to investigate and invest more in renewable solutions to make individual stores when possible energy neutral. In 2019, we developed our store in Graz (Austria) with focus on energy neutrality. The roof is covered with solar panels, which on average generate enough energy to cover the store’s energy requirements. The rest of the energy is used to charge our customers’ electric cars while they shop and/or fed into the grid.
Recycling at Action
Action has an extensive recycling process – sending returned or broken products back to suppliers, providing our customers with an organised way to dispose of batteries, light bulbs and small electrical appliances and recycling as much product and transit packaging material as possible. We also participate in local initiatives to reduce waste, such as Wecycle and Nederland Schoon in the Netherlands.
All cardboard and plastic from packaging materials and transit processes is collected in the stores and distribution centres and recycled. At our distribution centres, we compress the volume of cardboard and plastic before it is passed on to recycling facilities. By reducing the volume, we can transport these materials more efficiently, which helps minimise CO2 emissions. The compressed bales also comply to the standard way of working of recycling facilities, so no extra handling is required before the materials are fully recycled.
We use an innovative and fuel-efficient fleet to transport products from these distribution centres to our stores. We are upgrading our fleet by adding trucks with more fuel-efficient engines. Our innovative double-decker trucks can carry 60% more freight than conventional trucks. In addition, we train our drivers to drive responsibly – taking appropriate care of safety, fuel usage and the trucks.
You will find more detailed information and achievements of last year in our Annual Update 2019.