Supermarket chain announces renewable energy plan

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Hannaford Supermarket, with locations throughout Oneida County, has announced its plan to be fully powered by renewable energy by 2024. The announcement is part of the company’s sustainability strategy and in recognition of Earth Month.

“Doing what’s right for our business includes doing what’s right for our associates, community, and our planet. Powering Hannaford with 100% renewable energy sources will make an immediate, positive impact on greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mike Vail, president of Hannaford Supermarkets.

“This is an important leap forward in our sustainability journey—and one that we hope sparks others to join. Prioritizing the health of our communities and the planet is a win for us all,” Vail added.

Supermarkets are energy intensive due to simultaneous needs of heating and cooling. To reduce energy consumption and make the best use of the energy being used, Hannaford says it has implemented energy efficiency projects like LED lights, night shades, doors on cases, and state-of-the-art refrigeration systems. Additionally, the supermarket claims to have rooftop solar on 10 of its stores.

“Hannaford is light years ahead of the rest of the industry when it comes to their sustainability efforts—and they’ve been doing so for well over a decade,” said Peter Cooke, cofounder of the Ratio Institute, an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating measurable sustainability and viability in food retail.

Cooke has reportedly worked with more than 1,000 grocery stores and 15 grocery chains as part of his Grocery Stewardship work.

Hannaford claims that currently, it operates at 30% renewable energy by partnering with over 30 community solar projects across Maine, Massachusetts, and New York.

Since the beginning of the decade, Hannaford has reported converting 86.4MW of its remaining electricity usage to solar—enough electricity, the company says, to power 16,000 typical homes for a year. Executives say Hannaford will couple their efforts of upgrades and conversions with integrating community and large-scale solar projects in Maine and New York to propel stores to the 100-percent-green milestone by 2024.

“There is a sense of urgency as we witness the planet in the midst of a climate crisis,” said George Parmenter who leads sustainability efforts for Hannaford. “Hannaford wants to lead where we can make the most impact—and renewable energy is just another step in our journey.”

According to a recent report by the United Nations on climate change, harmful carbon emissions are at an all-time high, and scientists are urging “now or never” to limit global warming. Report findings indicate that achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions globally by the early 2050’s is the way to stabilize global temperatures and carbon dioxide emissions.

Hannaford, an Ahold Delhaize USA brand, has committed to be a net zero carbon business by 2040. A first step in that journey is to move to 100% renewable energy.

“Tackling climate change demands bold leadership in the private sector and DEC appreciates Hannaford’s outstanding efforts to promote sustainability with its renewable energy expansion,” said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos. “The more that public and private entities implement measures like this, the faster we will reduce our carbon footprint and improve the health and resiliency of communities across the State.”

Hannaford’s reported prior milestone successes include:

Becoming the first grocery retailer in the nation to introduce reusable bags to its customers in the mid-1980s;

-The introduction of North America’s first LEED Platinum supermarket in Augusta, Maine, with eco-friendly, energy-saving features that utilized approximately half the energy requirements of grocery stores of similar size and character in 2009;

-Installing a first-in-the-nation refrigeration system using natural refrigerant that is better for the environment and earning Hannaford a “Best of the Best” award from the US EPA Green Chill Partnership in 2013;

-Introducing and expanding electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to parking areas for a total of 163 plugs at 31 stores (and growing) throughout the Northeast;

-And most recently, becoming the first large-scale grocery retailer in its marketplace to achieve zero food waste-to-landfill by donating or diverting all food at risk of going to waste in 2021.

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