Advertisement

Relating carbon and energy intensity of best-performing retailers with policy, strategy and building practice

  • 25 Accesses

Abstract

Retail stores are amongst the building typologies with the highest carbon (CI) and energy intensities (EI). However, previous studies have only explored best practice EI of food and non-food retailers, without identifying best practice CI threshold values. This paper presents a five-step analysis of CI and EI amongst the highest revenue retailers, benchmarking best and worst performing CI and EI retailers, analysing their nationality, performing a content analysis on their CSR reports and comparing results in terms of differentiation policies, strategies and building practices that can lead to increased environmental performance. Combined CI and EI best practice threshold values were found simultaneously under 346 kWh/m2/y and 115 kg CO2eq/m2/y for food retailers and under 146 kWh/m2/y and 70 kg CO2eq/m2/y for non-food retailers. In terms of policy, best-performing retailers shared a strong top-down management commitment towards sustainability across all business areas (p = 0.04) and an increased use of referential reporting standards, particularly of GRI standards (p = 0.05) and of the GHG protocol (p = 0.01). In terms of strategy, they established ambitious energy goals, such becoming 100% supplied by renewable energy (p = 0.05) or carbon neutral by 2020. As for building practice, LED and photovoltaic technology were the most popular high-performance solutions, but only the use of natural refrigerants (p = 0.001) and gas transfer to CO2 (p = 0.0007) were related to best-performing practice. The variability of CI and EI found in this study shows that it is already possible to reduce the retail sector’s contribution to global GHG emissions considerably. The proposed best practice CI and EI reference levels, linked to corporate policy, strategy and building practice, are useful new tools for retail energy-management, which can further promote sustainability in retail buildings, thus allowing a deeper understanding of how to decarbonize the retail building sector.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Access options

Buy single article

Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.

US$ 39.95

Price includes VAT for USA

Subscribe to journal

Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.

US$ 99

This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  1. Aeon (2015). Aeon environmental and social report. Retrieved October 21, 2016, from https://www.unglobalcompact.org/system/attachments/cop_2015/189821/original/AEON_Environmental_and_Social_Report.pdf?1442556777

  2. Aldi (2015). Aldi North Group Sustainability Report.

  3. Borgstein, E. H., Lamberts, R., & Hensen, J. L. M. (2016). Evaluating energy performance in non-domestic buildings: a review. Energy and Buildings, 128, 734–755. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2016.07.018.

  4. Building Performance Institute Europe (2011). Europe’s buildings under the microscope. Retrieved December 14, 2016, from bpie.EU/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/HR_EU_B_under_microscope_study.Pdf.

  5. Burck, J., Hagen, U., Höhne, N., Nascimento, L., & Bals, C. (2019). Climate Change Performance Index 2020: results. Retrieved from www.germanwatch.orgwww.climate-change-performance-index.org

  6. Carballo-Penela, A., & Castromán-Diz, J. L. (2015). Environmental policies for sustainable development: an analysis of the drivers of proactive environmental strategies in the service sector. Business Strategy and the Environment, 24(8), 802–818. https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.1847.

  7. Choi, D. Y., & Gray, E. R. (2008). Socially responsible entrepreneurs: what do they do to create and build their companies? Business Horizons, 51(4), 341–352. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2008.02.010.

  8. Christina, S., Waterson, P., Dainty, A., & Daniels, K. (2015). A socio-technical approach to improving retail energy efficiency behaviours. Applied Ergonomics, 47, 324–335. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2014.08.003.

  9. CommONEnergy Project (2013a). Re-conceptualize shopping malls from consumerism to energy conservation - Deliverable 6.4 Energy savings result. Bolzano, Italy. Retrieved from http://www.commonenergyproject.eu/uploads/deliverable/file/35/WP6_D6.4_20171010_P04_Energy_savings_results.pdf

  10. CommONEnergy Project (2013b). Re-conceptualize shopping malls from consumerism to energy conservation - deliverable 6.5 IEQ results European Commission DG Research and Innovation CommONEnergy Re-conceptualize shopping malls from consumerism to energy conservation. Bolzano, Italy. Retrieved from http://www.commonenergyproject.eu/uploads/deliverable/file/36/WP6_D6.5_P01_20171129_IEQ_results.pdf

  11. de Fátima Castro, M., Mateus, R., Serôdio, F., & Bragança, L. (2015). Development of benchmarks for operating costs and resources consumption to be used in healthcare building sustainability assessment methods. Sustainability, 7, 13222–13248. https://doi.org/10.3390/su71013222.

  12. Deloitte, & Stores Media (2016). Global powers of retailing. Retrieved November 8, 2016, from https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/consumer-industrial-products/gx-cip-2017-global-powers-of-retailing.pdf

  13. Dixon-O’Mara, C., & Ryan, L. (2018). Energy efficiency in the food retail sector: barriers, drivers and acceptable policies. Energy Efficiency, 11(2), 445–464. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12053-017-9577-5.

  14. Edeka (2016). EDEKA energy efficiency building. Retrieved October 2, 2016, from http://iet.jrc.ec.europa.eu/energyefficiency/edeka-lebensmittelmarkt-rastatt-rheinau

  15. ENDS Carbon - University of Edinburgh Business School (2009). UK supermarkets 2009 carbon benchmark report. Edinburgh.

  16. European Parliament (2018). Directive 2018/844/EU amending directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings and directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency. Retrieved from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32018L0844&from=EN.

  17. European Parliament and European Council (2014). Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 of 16 April 2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases and repealing regulation (EC) No. 842/2006. Retrieved May 6, 2019, from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32014R0517&from=EN.

  18. European Union. (2016). Guidelines for the promotion of nearly zero-energy buildings and best practices to ensure that, by 2020, all new buildings are nearly zero-energy buildings - Commission Recomendation (EU) 2016/1318 of 29 July 2016. Retrieved May 8, 2019, from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306261911007811/.

  19. Ferreira, A. S. (2018), “Combined carbon and energy intensity benchmarks for sustainable retail stores - CSR reports”, Mendeley Data, v1. DOI:https://doi.org/10.17632/gnygmhvv8d.1

  20. Ferreira, A., Pinheiro, M. D., de Brito, J., & Mateus, R. (2018a). Carbon (CI) and energy intensity (EI) dataset for retail stores. Data in Brief, 21, 1329–1333. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.DIB.2018.10.080.

  21. Ferreira, A., Pinheiro, M. D., de Brito, J., & Mateus, R. (2018b). Combined carbon and energy intensity benchmarks for sustainable retail stores. Energy, 165. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2018.10.020.

  22. Fieldson, R., & Rai, D. (2009). An assessment of carbon emissions from retail fit-out in the United Kingdom. Journal of Retail & Leisure Property, 8(4), 243–258. https://doi.org/10.1057/rlp.2009.16.

  23. Galvez-Martos, J.-L., Styles, D., & Schoenberger, H. (2013). Identified best environmental management practices to improve the energy performance of the retail trade sector in Europe. Energy Policy, 63, 982–994. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2013.08.061.

  24. Hahn, R., & Luelfs, R. (2014). Legitimizing negative aspects in GRI-oriented sustainability reporting: a qualitative analysis of corporate disclosure strategies. Journal of Business Ethics, 123(3), 401–420. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-013-1801-4.

  25. Jenkins, D. P. (2008). Using dynamic simulation to quantify the effect of carbon-saving measures for a UK supermarket. Journal of Building Performance Simulation, 1(4), 275–288. https://doi.org/10.1080/19401490802566891.

  26. Jiang, P., & Keith Tovey, N. (2009). Opportunities for low carbon sustainability in large commercial buildings in China. Energy Policy, 37(11), 4949–4958. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENPOL.2009.06.059.

  27. Kim, E.-H., & Lyon, T. P. (2015). Greenwash vs. Brownwash: exaggeration and undue modesty in corporate sustainability disclosure. Organization Science, 26(3), 705–723. https://doi.org/10.1287/orsc.2014.0949.

  28. Levin, K., & Rich, D. (2017). Turning point: trends in countries’ reaching peak greenhouse gas emissions over time. Washington DC. Retrieved from http://www.wri.org/.

  29. Li, C., Hong, T., & Yan, D. (2014). An insight into actual energy use and its drivers in high-performance buildings. Applied Energy, 131, 394–410. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.APENERGY.2014.06.032.

  30. Lidl (2015). Rapports de durabilité. Retrieved September 11, 2018, from https://www.enrouteversdemain-lidl.be/introduction/rapports-de-durabilite/?_ga=2.152622129.923055288.1536665554-1973559847.1536665554.

  31. Miles, M., & Huberman, A. (1994). Qualitative data analysis (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc..

  32. MSCI. (2017). Corporate Responsibility. Retrieved August 29, 2017, from https://www.msci.com/corporate-responsibility.

  33. Natural Resources Canada. (2019). Electricity facts. Retrieved December 12, 2019, from https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/science-data/data-analysis/energy-data-analysis/energy-facts/electricity-facts/20068.

  34. Ochieng, E. G., Jones, N., Price, A. D. F., Ruan, X., Egbu, C., & Zuofa, T. (2014). Integration of energy efficient technologies in UK supermarkets. Energy Policy, 67, 388–393. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2013.12.002.

  35. Parguel, B., Benoit-Moreau, F., & Larceneux, F. (2011). How sustainability ratings might deter `Greenwashing’: a closer look at ethical corporate communication. Journal of Business Ethics, 102(1), 15–28. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-011-0901-2.

  36. Patton, M. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc..

  37. Price, S. (2010). The potential of renewable energy as a risk-mitigating factor. Journal of Retail & Leisure Property, 9(2), 89–91. https://doi.org/10.1057/rlp.2010.4.

  38. Rewe (2017). Rewe group sustainability report 2017 - GRI report. Retrieved October 19, 2018, from www.rewe-group-nachhaltigkeitsbericht.de/2017.

  39. Richman, R., & Simpson, R. (2016). Towards quantifying energy saving strategies in big-box retail stores: a case study in Ontario (Canada). Sustainable Cities and Society, 20, 61–70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scs.2015.09.007.

  40. Santos Ferreira, A. S. (2019). “Relating carbon and energy intensity of best performing retailers with policy, strategy and building practice”, Mendeley Data, v1. https://doi.org/10.17632/82hv54pzrd.1

  41. Schönberger, H., Martos, J. L. G., & Styles, D. (2013). Best environmental management practice in the retail trade sector learning from frontrunners. https://doi.org/10.2791/1775.

  42. Sebi, C., Nadel, S., Schlomann, B., & Steinbach, J. (2019). Policy strategies for achieving large long-term savings from retrofitting existing buildings. Energy Efficiency, 12(1), 89–105. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12053-018-9661-5.

  43. Shi, Q., Yan, Y., Zuo, J., & Yu, T. (2016). Objective conflicts in green buildings projects: a critical analysis. Building and Environment, 96, 107–117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2015.11.016.

  44. Spyrou, M. S., Shanks, K., Cook, M. J., Pitcher, J., & Lee, R. (2014). An empirical study of electricity and gas demand drivers in large food retail buildings of a national organisation. Energy and Buildings, 68, 172–182. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2013.09.015.

  45. Stapenhurst, T. (2009). The benchmarking book: a how-to-guide to best practice for managers and practitioners (1st ed.). Oxford: Elsevier.

  46. Sullivan, R., & Gouldson, A. (2013). Ten years of corporate action on climate change: what do we have to show for it? Energy Policy, 60, 733–740. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2013.05.025.

  47. Suri, H. (2011). Purposeful sampling in qualitative research synthesis. Qualitative Research Journal, 11(2), 63–75. https://doi.org/10.3316/QRJ1102063.

  48. Tassou, S. A., Ge, Y., Hadawey, A., & Marriott, D. (2011). Energy consumption and conservation in food retailing. Applied Thermal Engineering, 31(2–3), 147–156. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2010.08.023.

  49. Testa, F., Iraldo, F., & Daddi, T. (2017). The effectiveness of EMAS as a management tool: a key role for the internalization of environmental practices. Organization & Environment, 31(1), 48–69. https://doi.org/10.1177/1086026616687609.

  50. The Conservation Foundation of Greater Toronto. (2006). Greening Retail: Engaging the retail sector in sustainability: Identifying the greening retail opportunity for canadian retailers. Retrieved from http://www.evanscompany.com/GreeningRetailReportPhase1.pdf. Accessed 14 Dec 2016.

  51. Thompson, B. (2007). Green retail: Retailer strategies for surviving the sustainability storm. Journal of Retail & Leisure Property, 6(4), 281–286. https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.rlp.5100079.

  52. Tuczek, F., Castka, P., & Wakolbinger, T. (2018). A review of management theories in the context of quality, environmental and social responsibility voluntary standards. Journal of Cleaner Production, 176, 399–416. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.JCLEPRO.2017.12.161.

  53. U.S. Department of Energy (2008). Building technologies office. Retrieved November 14, 2016, from http://energy.gov/eere/buildings/building-technologies-office.

  54. United Nations (2015). Adoption of the Paris Agreement. Retrieved from https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09r01.pdf.

  55. Wireman, T. (2004). In E. Genesis solutions (Ed.), Benchmarking Best Practices in Maintenance Management. New York: Industrial press.

  56. WRI, & WBCSD. (2016). Greenhouse gas protocol. Retrieved November 8, 2016, from http://www.ghgprotocol.org/.

Download references

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the reviewers for the important contribution in the improvement of this paper. Support from CERIS and Instituto Superior Técnico is also acknowledged.

Funding

This work was supported by FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia [grant number PD/BD/127852/2016] under the Doctoral Program EcoCoRe—Eco-Construction and Rehabilitation. Support from CERIS and Instituto Superior Técnico is also acknowledged.

Author information

Correspondence to Ana Ferreira.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ferreira, A., Pinheiro, M.D., de Brito, J. et al. Relating carbon and energy intensity of best-performing retailers with policy, strategy and building practice. Energy Efficiency (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12053-020-09840-0

Download citation

Keywords

  • Food and non-food retailers
  • Energy intensity
  • Carbon intensity
  • Corporate policy
  • Energy strategy
  • Best practice