Supermarkets have been experimneting with the concept of sustainability stores for some time. Tesco even unveiled what it billed as its first carbon zero store as far back as 2010. Yet the onset of the Covid19 pandemic, coupled with the increased pressure from consumers and indeed stakeholders for retailers to adopt more sustainable practices, has put it firmly on the agenda once more.
Asda has responded by opening a sustainability concept store in Leeds, which attempts to address key environmental issues as well as provide a template for how the company might innovate in this area in the future.
The store, which is in Middleton Leeds, features product refill options, loose and unwrapped produce, extensive recycling facilities and a community zone for pop ups and partnerships with charities.
The opening of the store is to highlight the company’s new plastic reduction strategy that aims to remove three billion pieces of plastic from Asda’s own-brand products by 2025. The company has also pledged to generate zero carbon emissions by 2040, reduce waste by 50 percent and have a net regenerative impact on nature no later than 2050.
The retailer also hopes the store would “help shoppers reduce, reuse and recycle with ease”, yet insists that customer would pay no more for sustainable products
Among the Innovations at the store are
- 15 huge refill stations offering customers a selection of more than 30 household staples sold in refillable format.
- Products include a selection of different Kellogg’s cereals, PG Tips tea bags, Quaker Oats, Lavazza and Taylors of Harrogate coffee beans, Vimto cordial and Asda’s own brand rice and pasta.
- The refill zone includes popular brands of shampoo, conditioner, Persil laundry detergent, hand wash and shower gel from Unilever brands such as Simple and Radox sold in refillable format – a retail first.
- 53 fresh produce lines in total sold in loose and unwrapped format including 29 new lines such as cauliflowers, mushrooms, apples, cabbages and baby plum tomatoes. In addition, all Asda plants and flowers are sold either unwrapped or with a paper wrapping.
- Removal of the outer plastic wrapping on several popular Heinz and Asda Brand canned multipacks including beans and soups.
- Recycling facilities for items that are difficult to recycle in kerbside collections such as crisp and biscuit packets, plastic toys, cosmetic containers and toothpaste tubes.
- Asda’s first reverse vending machine for cans, plastic and glass drinks bottles and a hanger recycling facility that will be rolled out across all stores.
- The store will also showcase sustainable fashion lines through George including clothing made from recycled polyester and coat hanger-less denim.
- A new community zone for pop ups and partnerships with charities; the first is a three-month trial with the Salvation Army of a Drop and Shop outlet for customers to donate their unwanted clothing and bric-a-brac seven days a week.
- A partnership with Pre-Loved, a vintage wholesaler who will be selling
“Today marks an important milestone in our journey as we tackle plastic pollution and help our customers to reduce, re-use and recycle,” Asda chief executive Roger Burnley said.
“We have always known that we couldn’t go on this journey alone, so it is fantastic to work in tandem with more than twenty of our partners and suppliers, who have answered the call to test innovative sustainable solutions with us.
“This is an issue that matters greatly to our customers – our own insight tells us that more than 80 percent believe that supermarkets have a responsibility to reduce the number of single use plastics in stores.
“We want to give them the opportunity to live more sustainably by offering them great product choices and value, underpinned by a promise that they won’t pay more for greener options at Asda.