South African retailer Shoprite takes on the largest sustainable loan and the first green loan in the retail sector

South Africa’s Shoprite Group is expanding its core environmental programs as part of its sustainability strategy. One of the main elements of this strategy is the accelerated deployment of solar photovoltaic energy in its supermarkets and distribution centers.

Shoprite operates in 11 African countries. The Group has more than 2,900 stores across Africa. Some of the famous Shoprite Group brands for customers include Checkers, Shoprite, USave, OK and House & Home. The total installed capacity of these on-site solar power plants currently amounts to 26.6 MW! Enough to cover 2.8% of the group’s electricity needs. Shoprite aims to increase this figure to meet 5% of its electricity needs by the end of this financial year.

Shoprite plans to meet all of its electricity needs from renewables by 2050 through a combination of onsite solar, offsite solar, offsite wind and other renewables. The Shoprite Group is also expanding its fleet of solar-powered trailers for its trucks. The Group now has 903 trucks and 1,360 trailers. Of these, 1041 trailers now have solar panels installed on the roof to support refrigeration loads. The solar panels are also used to power the tail lifts of the rest of the non-refrigerated fleet. The solar panels on its refrigerated trailers allow operators to turn off the diesel engine when the trucks are stationary. The solar panels on the trailers have helped reduce the company’s carbon footprint and 3,290 tCO2 have been saved through the avoided use of diesel by the solar-powered fleet.

To further accelerate its sustainability program, Shoprite Group has finalized sustainability-related loans worth R3.5 billion ($200 million) for investments to develop its key environmental projects. The loans include a 2 billion rand ($113.7 million) loan from Standard Bank, which is currently the largest bank in the South African retail sector, a loan linked to the sustainability of 800 million rand ($46.5 million) and a green loan of 700 million rand ($39.8 million). , a first in the retail industry of RMB for investment in environmental projects. Another sustainability-related loan is in preparation.

The Shoprite Group will use the loans to stimulate investment in renewable energy and the increase in energy from renewable sources as a percentage of total electricity consumption. The loans will also be used to accelerate the recycling of cardboard and plastic as well as increase the use of sustainable packaging, including reusable, recyclable and compostable packaging. Energy efficiency initiatives, including LED lighting, as well as a refrigeration monitoring system to reduce energy consumption and waste will also be included.

These investments will enable the Group to complete the significant investments it has already made. During the previous financial year, the Shoprite group:

  • Reduced carbon emissions intensity by 3.3% and water intensity by 7.5%
  • 82% increase in the installed capacity of its solar photovoltaic (PV) systems
  • Reduced electricity consumption by 150 million kWh thanks to its LED lamp replacement project since its inception
  • Recycled 46,102 tons of cardboard from stores and distribution centers, and diverted 10,241 tons of plastic waste from landfills
  • Paid out R2.2 million in rebates to customers for reusing their Planet bags since their inception

Sanjeev Raghubir, Group Sustainability Manager, said: “The loans enable us to continue on the path of reducing our environmental footprint by using more renewable energy and sustainable packaging, and recycling more waste. These environmental programs are essential in our fight against climate change, and we are able to increase the pace and intensity of our actions thanks to these loans.

According to Raghubir, the Group’s track record to date has provided lenders with demonstrable evidence of the nature and scale of its sustainability plans and ambitions and enabled the retailer to access a cost of finance. preferential.

“The loans allow us to continue to have a positive and sustainable environmental impact and improve our operational efficiency, which translates into additional ongoing savings that we can pass on to our customers.”

The Shoprite Group is South Africa’s largest retailer by market capitalization, sales, profit, number of employees and customers.


 

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