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Achieving Net Zero Carbon Emissions

The Issue With Carbon Emissions
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average supermarket emits the equivalent of 6.4 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually via refrigerants and electricity consumption—that’s equal to the emissions from 635,000 passenger vehicles driven for one year!
As a leading food retailer with 200+ supermarkets across five states, Giant Eagle is committed to improving our climate impact. Our goal is to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040, with an initial target of 50% carbon dioxide reduction by 2030.

In the past eight years alone, Giant Eagle has demonstrated our leadership by reducing carbon dioxide emitted throughout our operations by 22%. This was accomplished through numerous efforts, including the conversion of approximately 60% of our truck fleet to alternative energy, LED retrofitting and more efficient heating and cooling.
Our zero-carbon goal includes the electricity, refrigerant and fuel used to make our stores, retail support centers and corporate offices operate, as well as the energy needed to move goods and people with our truck fleet.

To reach our goal, we need to achieve the following:

  • 100% conversion of Giant Eagle’s 200+ truck fleet to alternative energy
  • Infrastructure improvements that target carbon reduction and energy efficiency, such as IOT solutions and greener HVAC systems
  • Smart lighting solutions that use automation and innovation
  • Investments into green energy solutions including direct green power purchasing agreements and other renewable power investments
  • Investments into negative emissions technologies which include carbon capture, soil sequestration and reforestation

Investing in Wind Energy

In July 2022, Giant Eagle invested in wind generation assets that produce enough green energy to power our Giant Eagle, Market District and GetGo locations in central Ohio. This wind power, generated from turbines, amounts to an estimated 60 million kilowatt-hours annually, equivalent to offsetting the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of 7,500 homes for one year.

“Investing in wind energy allows Giant Eagle to shift 15% of our organization’s brown energy, or energy produced by fossil fuels, to a clean, green fuel source,” said Eric Orwell, Director of Procurement Operations. “Evolving our energy-buying strategy supports our goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions in a reliable, cost-effective way, while also supporting our local markets.”

The wind farm producing this power is in Scioto Ridge Wind Farm in Ohio’s Hardin and Logan Counties. With the success of this renewable power purchase, our teams are considering investing in additional wind assets and other forms of renewable energy. “We are always striving to be more sustainable,” said Orwell. “With each advancement in renewable energy solutions across our platform, we significantly reduce our impact on the environment and help build healthier communities where we operate.”

GreenChill Achievements

Giant Eagle earned the GreenChill Superior and Exceptional Goal Achievements for reaching our annual and stretch refrigerant emissions reduction goals in 2021.

GreenChill, a voluntary EPA program, presents awards each year to partners within the food retail industry that demonstrate “exceptional environmental performance as demonstrated by their efforts, leadership, and initiative towards reducing refrigerant emissions.” The GreenChill Partnership helps food retailers transition to environmentally friendlier refrigerants, reduce harmful refrigerant emissions and adopt greener refrigeration technologies and environmental best practices.

We have earned 13 GreenChill achievements since the program began in 2007—a testament to our decreasing negative impact on the ozone layer and the impact of our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2040 throughout our company’s operations.

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