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. An environmentally sustainable approach has become an integral part of our strategy – followed on all levels and in all departments of the company.
We have defined three working areas in our pillar ‘environment’:
Our distribution centres
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. And there are more DCs, which use solar panels to produce energy for its own consumption or the power network of the city. 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.
We build our distribution centres based on the latest technological construction requirements for ecological and environmentally friendly operations. Since 2019, they are built in alignment with BREEAM standards, an international rating system for sustainable building constructions (or comparable certification standards).
|Distribution centre||Year of opening||Sustainability rating|
|DC Belleville||2019||BREEAM Good|
|DC Peine||2019||DGNB Gold by the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB)|
|2019||BREEAM Very Good|
|DC Verrière-en-Anjou||2020||BREEAM Good|
For future distribution centre developments, we aim for similar standards (minimum BREEAM Very Good or equivalent) and will look to outperform them.
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 from the installation of smart meters to the use of energy efficient all-electric air-conditioning and heating systems.
Recycling at Action
Action has an extensive recycling process – from providing our customers with an organised way to dispose of batteries, light bulbs and small electrical appliances to recycling as much product and transit packaging material as possible. We also participate in local initiatives to reduce waste, such as Intesia in Austria, Rema in the Czech Republic, Corepile in France, GRS in Germany and 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.
Despite COVID-19, we continued our efforts to reduce our environmental impact in 2020. We developed a system to establish an emissions baseline and to monitor future developments. We also started the further development of our environmental strategy, including the establishment of specific targets.
Our new distribution centre in Verrieres (France) is rated BREAAM Very Good. For future distribution centres, BREEAM Very Good is our minimum standard. The distribution centres under construction in 2021 will have a Very Good (Bratislava, Slovakia) and an Excellent (Bierun, Poland) BREEAM rating.
In 2020, we piloted various energy portals and an active energy management approach in our stores. Based on the insights from these pilots, we selected an energy management portal that will be rolled out in 2021. Digital meters will connect the complete store portfolio to this portal, allowing real-time tracking. This will contribute to energy savings by enabling us to act through benchmarking of stores, identification and investigation of outliers and irregular consumption patterns.
In all 54 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 over 20%.
A relamping pilot showed a reduction of 50% in energy used for lighting. In existing stores, we replaced the old fluorescent tubes with LED tubes, while maintaining the existing light fixtures. A full rollout of this relamping project is planned for all existing stores in the coming years.