For the fourth consecutive year, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) GreenChill program has recognized ALDI for having the most GreenChill Certified Stores of any other food retail company. This year, ALDI once again snagged the EPA’s Store Certification Excellence recognition, continuing its grocery industry leadership in environmentally friendly refrigeration. The EPA also awarded 21 ALDI stores with Store Re-Certification Excellence honors for receiving GreenChill store Certifications for five consecutive years. GreenChill Certification is awarded to stores that replace standard commercial refrigerants with environmentally friendlier refrigerants that keep their greenhouse gas emissions as close to zero as possible.
In the first half of the year, 19 ALDI stores received their first GreenChill Certification, with more than 100 more stores planning to apply for their first Certifications by the end of 2022. This could bring the total number of Certified ALDI stores across the country to nearly 610. Among these newly Certified stores was the 500th store to switch over to environmentally friendly refrigerants, located in Mobile, AL, which received the Platinum Certification, the highest level available. This milestone is significant because CO2 refrigeration systems require high pressure to operate, which is challenging to achieve in warm, humid climates.
“We share our customers’ passion for protecting the environment, so working to reduce our carbon footprint is a major focus for us. Being recognized as a leader in sustainability by the EPA time and time again makes our work stand out and is something truly special,” said Dan Gavin, vice president of national real estate at ALDI. “We’re working to decrease our overall impact on the climate more and more each day, with each step bringing us that much closer to becoming ‘real zero,’ or completely emissions-free. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for ALDI and our planet.”
The transition to natural refrigerants has lowered the global warming potential of emissions from ALDI, decreasing the impact ALDI has made on the climate. That’s because a store with regular refrigerated spaces typically leaks about one-quarter of its gases each year, meaning it can emit 875 pounds of harmful hydrofluorocarbons or industrial chemicals, annually, equivalent to the carbon dioxide produced by around 300 cars. To receive GreenChill Certification, stores must achieve a store-wide annual HFC refrigerant leak rate of 15 percent or less, in addition to meeting other Certification criteria. This represents at least a 33 percent reduction in HFC emissions compared to the average supermarket.
“ALDI continues to lead the industry in GreenChill Store Certifications, with more currently Certified stores than all other grocery retailers in the nation combined,” said Kersey Manliclic, EPA GreenChill program manager. “It’s an impressive achievement and one that contributes to a cleaner environment for everyone. EPA encourages all food retail companies to pursue GreenChill Store Certification.”
Earlier this year, ALDI released its first-ever Corporate Responsibility Progress Report, which outlined progress towards its environmental goals. For example, ALDI is aiming to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2025.
In addition to evolving its refrigerants, ALDI is taking other steps toward a smaller carbon footprint, such as:
- Installing rooftop solar panels that produce green electricity in 120 stores and 12 distribution centers (with plans to add 60 new stores and one new distribution center this year).
- Using environmentally friendly building materials and energy-efficient appliances in new and remodeled stores.
- Making green electricity purchases to offset 100 percent of any energy used that ALDI hasn’t produced itself via its on-site solar and wind.
ALDI is also working to reduce its use of plastic and increase the recyclability of its packaging. To date, 62 percent of ALDI-exclusive packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable. ALDI also plans to eliminate all plastic shopping bags from stores by the end of 2023 and to reduce operational food waste, all while ensuring its products are responsibly sourced and remain affordable.
“This is just the beginning,” added Gavin. “We plan on remaining at the forefront of sustainability and have some promising ideas on how we can keep reducing our environmental impact even further.”