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The John Lewis Partnership has committed to making its transport fleet zero carbon by 2045.

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By the end of 2019, UK stores could have vegetables grown in store.

John Lewis has confirmed that it is working with Lettus Grow to install aeroponic containers to grow the plants in store. The company is based in Bristol and is currently growing vegetables such as red cabbage, kale, salads and micro-herbs in a disused railway tunnel. The vertical growing units are soil free, meaning they can easily be placed in supermarkets allowing customers to pick their own salad or vegetables.

Aeroponic technology

John Lewis has selected Lettus Grow as one of its six JLab start-up companies, chosen from 160 companies that applied. Lettus Grow use aeroponic technology to grow the vegetables in cylinders and spraying them with a mist of water-borne nutrients. As the plant is grown in certain conditions, with year-round light, there’s no need for chemicals or pesticides, this also increases the rate of production.

German company, Infarm is also looking to expand into the UK market. It currently operates with retailers in Europe and has a presence in more than 100 shops. Each individual farm is connected remotely to ensure the best possible environment for growth. Minimising the distancefrom planted location to farming location also increases the freshness of the crop. The Infarm units can be placed in supermarkets, restaurants, bars or even warehouses.

Part of a bigger trend

This trend for testing produce being ‘farmed’ in-store has already been seen in stores in Italy and Germany, and the vertical farming approach is represented by companies such as GrowUp Urban Farms in the UK. There are challenges to be overcome, particularly relating to scale, and the capital investment required is significant.


Waitrose & Partners is implementing a new design of shelf edge strips to accelerate its sustainability plans.

Waitrose will be fitting the Wirth Research (WR) EcoBlade™ in stores from March, and it will reduce the energy consumption of refrigerators by up to 25%.  As well as maintaining a consistent fridge temperature to ensure optimum product quality, the aisles will also feel warmer and there will no longer be a need to install doors on the fridges.  


Source: Waitrose

Small change, big impact

Tor Harris, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, for Waitrose & Partners, said “We know there is always more to do, but applying this design means we're motoring forward in our efforts to reduce our impact on the environment. To deliver an energy saving of such significance through changing our shelf edging is fantastic and another example of how we continue to find innovative ways to achieve our goal to make our shops more sustainable.”

Nick Wirth, President and founder of Wirth Research, and a former Formula 1 team owner said “We are delighted to receive this significant endorsement from Waitrose & Partners. It is another major step forward in air management and the reduction of energy consumption in buildings.”

Aerodynamics

The Ecoblade uses twin blades to reduce cold air escaping to the aisles using the same technology that is used to channel airflow more efficiently around racing cars, which enables them to corner at high speeds.  This is the first project that WR and Waitrose & Partners will be partnering on to find innovative ways to reduce energy consumption in stores.  This undertaking with Wirth Research shows further commitment from Waitrose to reducing emissions in store and delivering against their sustainability goals.

Waitrose has created a virtual shelf signposting a range of goods made by B Corps certified businesses. These companies are committed to ensuring that they balance profit and purpose, and consider the impact of business decisions on the environment and communities.

B Corps certified companies are dedicated to using business as a positive force, and the values of these companies are rooted in the B Corp Declaration of Independence.

Source: Waitrose

The range of B Corps goods needs to be searched for on the Waitrose website, once the virtual shelf is located, a range of almost 50 products is available to the shopper. These products range from chocolate and popcorn to pet food and household cleaning products.

What is a B Corps?

B Corps uses its profits to achieve a greater end. It’s focused on providing a more positive impact for its employees, communities and for the environment. In order to be a certified B Corporation, the business must attain the highest levels of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Within the UK there are currently 166 certified B Corps, with more pending certification. 2,700 are certified globally.

Consumer are demanding higher standards from food and grocery businesses and there’s an opportunity for retailers to capitalise on this movement. Tim Westwell, Pukka’s co-founder said, "When we each make small changes in our daily lives, our efforts add up to a much larger cumulative action.”

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