UK retailer Sainsbury’s plans to invest a minimum of £5 million (€6 million) over the next four years in start-up businesses commercialising innovative, sustainable technologies aimed at reducing operational carbon emissions and water consumption.
The retailer has teamed up with Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) to scout and invest in early-stage companies, across a range of sectors and not limited to the Sainsbury’s supply chain.
The Sainsbury's Innovation Investments initiative is part of Sainsbury’s investment towards achieving Net Zero in its operations by 2035, the company noted.
Patrick Dunne, Sainsbury’s property and procurement director commented, "We are committed to reaching our Net Zero target of 2035 and are proud to be doing our part in leading the way to create solutions that will reduce carbon emissions and water usage not just in our stores, but across the entire sector.
"We know that reducing emissions and water use is a critical part of tackling the climate crisis and to achieve this, we understand the importance of investing in pioneering technologies that can be adopted by all retailers. Tackling an issue of this scale requires collaboration and we’re really excited to not only invest in these businesses but also provide a pathway to in-store use, working towards a more sustainable future for everyone."
Sainsbury's Innovation Investments
Sainsbury's Innovation Investments is part of the retailer's ongoing partnership with WAE, a technology and engineering services business.
In 2017, Sainsbury’s commenced the process of installing Aerofoil technology to its fridges in-store.
Developed by UK start-up Aerofoil Energy and WAE, the energy-saving technology has been rolled out across its entire estate and has resulted in an estimated 15% energy reduction, with other retailers following suit.
Matthew Burke, director of Williams Technology Ventures stated, "Embracing new and unproven technologies is a necessary requirement to meet Net Zero and many of these products and services will emerge from the technology start-up community. [Sainsbury's Innovation Investments] will accelerate the commercialisation of these technologies through the opportunity of investment, trial, and deployment across Sainsbury’s vast estate and operations.
"In doing so it will act as a springboard for wider and rapid technology adoption by customers across retail and other sectors who all share common Net Zero challenges. With WAE’s focus on sustainability, and expertise in technology and engineering combined with early-stage technology investing, we are delighted to be supporting Sainsbury’s journey to Net Zero with the launch of this unique investment initiative."
The retailer hopes to announce its first investment before the end of 2022.