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Brief Published: 15 Nov 2013

‘Water-Neutral’ Supermarket


UK supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has opened its first “water-neutral” store in Weymouth (which is completely self-sufficient for water), with a second to follow in Leicester at the end of the month. The moves form part of the company’s ongoing commitment to reducing its water usage.

The eco-friendly Weymouth branch meets 70% of water demand by harvesting rainwater (which provides much of the water for its carwash and toilet facilities) and using water-efficient initiatives such as pre-rinse spray taps and waterless urinals. The other 30% – drinking-quality water for food preparation – has been offset by sponsoring water-saving initiatives with two local schools. This equates to the store’s total water consumption, allowing it to claim its water-neutral status.

Sainsbury’s has been rolling out water-saving measures for some time. In March, the company revealed it had reduced its water usage by 50% across its estate since 2005-06. That’s a saving of almost 1bn litres a year. 

Water scarcity is becoming an increasingly crucial issue worldwide, and brands are starting to take responsibility for the part they play. For more examples of companies implementing water-saving initiatives to help redress the balance, see Hospitality Brands Tackle Water Crisis. For architectural solutions, see the concepts proposed at the Drylands Design Conference

For more in-store eco-initiatives, see Evolution of the Supermarket, published as part of our Future of Food industry trend.