SPAR Ireland partner installs 800 solar panels at DC as part of sustainability strategy

March 9, 2021 IN THE CATEGORY: Responsible retailing, Supply Chain

SPAR Ireland partner BWG Foods is to invest approximately €25 million in a four-year sustainability strategy to significantly reduce the environmental impact of its large-scale nationwide supply chain. As part of the ambitious new plan, the company is switching to cleaner energies and has committed to installing renewable energy solutions across its operations. 

The Group has just installed almost 800 solar panels at its National Distribution Centre in Dublin, making it one of the largest installations of solar panels in Ireland. The installation takes up approximately 1,350 m2 of roof space. It will have a generation capacity of 250KW, representing enough energy to power the equivalent of approximately 50 homes for a year. 

Solar panel progress
Working in partnership with its independent retailers, the SPAR operator is also currently in the process of installing solar power units across several EUROSPAR supermarkets. To date, nearly €1 million has been invested in solar installations by the Group, with the average store installation costing approximately €60,000.

The new sustainability strategy was developed as part of BWG Foods’ bid to secure the Irish Food Board Bord Bia’s Origin Green status, which it has now been awarded. BWG Foods worked very closely with Origin Green, the world’s first national sustainability programme, to develop a strategy that includes measurable targets around initiatives that will positively contribute to the environment and local communities. 

A core component of the new strategy is to reduce the Group’s energy output and to increase energy efficiency across its entire distribution operation. Overall, the Group plans to reduce its energy usage by over 10 percent across its entire operations by 2024.

“Our commitment to sustainability is borne out of the desire to always do the right thing by our customers and our communities. We value the importance of reducing our environmental footprint, contributing to healthier diets, and supporting local communities. This sustainability strategy will enable us to make a significant and tangible positive impact. Our installation of 800 solar panels at our National Distribution Centre demonstrates our ambition to pursue meaningful initiatives that make a real difference”, said Joanne Mellon, Logistics Director, BWG Foods.

Reducing carbon emissions
The SPAR operator is also investing in a new Fronius battery charging system for its extensive mechanical handling equipment (forklifts, pallet trucks, etc.) fleet. This system will reduce electrical output, thus reducing carbon emissions by 170 tonnes per annum. It will also invest €500,000 in a new fleet of mechanical handling equipment that boasts market-leading energy efficiency technology. 

BWG Foods recently became the first FMCG company in Ireland to launch a fleet of new CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) and Biogas vehicles in place of traditional diesel fuel. The Group has also set out several waste reduction, sustainable sourcing, health and nutrition, and community-related targets.

Source: SPAR Ireland

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About SPAR Ireland

SPAR Ireland was established in 1963 and is operated by leading wholesale and retail company, BWG Foods. In 2014, 80% of BWG’s shares were sold to SPAR South Africa. The existing shareholders remain involved in the business.

With a presence in every county across the Republic of Ireland, SPAR is one of the country’s largest convenience retail groups. In developing the business, SPAR Ireland has a long track record of recognising the strategic importance of introducing new retail concepts. It operates three of the four SPAR formats: SPAR, EUROSPAR and SPAR Express, bringing consumers a comprehensive range of innovative products and instore offerings.

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