Sainsbury's was one of the first four organisations to achieve the Carbon Trust Standard for Water, helping to pilot the methodology. This made them the first retailer to obtain independent certification that they are taking action to measure, manage and reduce water use year on year.
Water stewardship is one of Sainsbury's key environmental targets and it forms part of its industry-leading 20x20 Sustainability Plan, which is the cornerstone of the company's business strategy. The retailer has been working closely with the leading water management specialists, Waterscan, and is on track to achieve its target of a 50 per cent relative reduction in its water use by the end of March 2013, which is a saving of 393 Olympic sized swimming pools each year.
Over the past year Sainsbury's has focused on identifying and eradicating underground water leaks by installing automatic meter loggers on incoming water metres. For example, it identified a leak at its supermarket in Wigan saving 21 Olympic sized swimming pools worth of water each year (53,710m3 or over £130,000 per annum). It has also been carrying out comprehensive audits to improve water efficiencies throughout its estate and fitting low flush toilets and pre-rinse spray taps in all its stores.
Rainwater harvesting is being installed in all new stores as standard and it is currently looking at retrofitting rainwater harvesting units in existing stores. For example, a unit retrofitted at Sainsbury's Swansea now supplies water for toilet flushing in the store and has achieved an annual mains water consumption saving of 1,300m3. Sainsbury's has also invested in car wash water reclaim units at 66 of its stores saving nine Olympic sized swimming pools worth of water each year (22,674m3).