Powering our business with wind, sun and water

May 4, 2023

Wind, sun and water

Loblaw has a longstanding commitment to fighting climate change.  We’ve set goals to eliminate food waste, plastic waste, and pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions for our entire operation.   

These are lofty ambitions.  But we’re going to let you in on a little secret: we don’t (always) know how we were going to achieve them.   

For example, how do you fully decarbonize your fleet of trucks when there isn’t a network of charging stations available to power them?  We don’t know, yet.  How do you improve plastics recyclability when the approach to processing these materials differs from city to city?  Not sure, but we’ll figure it out.   

Here’s one more – how do you reliably power your business on carbon-free electricity, when you can’t be sure that the sun will shine on solar panels, or the wind will charge turbines?  Well, actually, there is a solution for this one.   

In a Canadian first, we’ve made an unprecedented carbon-free energy purchase in Alberta that leverages several renewable solutions.  As a result, one day soon, the electricity that we purchase for our supermarkets, drugstores, offices and distribution centres right across Alberta will be powered entirely by wind, sun and water. 

Here’s how it works.  Thanks to a unique partnership with Alberta’s TC Energy, renewable electricity is generated by solar panels and wind turbines that capture energy from the elements and feed it into Alberta’s grid – which powers our stores, distribution centres, and offices.  And then, when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, a pumped-hydro station will circulate water up and down a hill creating energy and acting as a massive battery that supplies the grid.   

The end result: carbon-free energy, available 24/7, generated by Canadian innovation, that not only powers our business, but also creates more stable and reliable renewable energy for Albertans.  

Here’s the best part – this solution will completely eliminate the carbon footprint of our electricity purchases in Alberta, and, cut our nationwide enterprise operating emissions by 17%.  

So no, we don’t always know how we will achieve our climate-related goals.  But by being early adopters when great solutions are available, we’ll get there.  After all, delivering on our purpose – helping Canadians live life well – demands nothing less.