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A Derbyshire retailer has saved more than £600 a year by implementing a series of sustainability-focused changes in his store after joining forces with NFRN Elite Partner Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I (SBF GB&I).

The incredible savings help show that by making changes that benefit both their local community and the wider world, convenience retailers in the UK could cumulatively save an astonishing £28.3million  every single year.

At the start of 2020, SBF GB&I partnered with Energy Saving Trust, a trusted organisation that helps people and businesses save energy every day, to implement a series of sustainability-focused changes in Amit Patel’s 900sq ft. store in Derbyshire. With those changes complete, the impact that they have had is now being revealed.

The project team made a range of changes both large and small in Amit’s store, designed to show that starting your sustainability journey is something every store can do, without having to spend thousands of pounds.

“The project is aimed at helping independent convenience retailers understand how they can become more sustainable. Crucially, they highlight the importance of progression, not perfection,” said Andrew Pheasant, Head of Regional Accounts at SBF GB&I.

“We know that not every store is in a position financially to invest in replacing their chillers, but our work in Amit’s store shows that not every change has to be as large as that to make a real difference. If the UK’s 46,388 convenience stores made these sustainability-focused alterations, the total savings across the channel could be up to £28.3M per year.”

Andrew Tod, Insight & Analytics Manager at Energy Saving Trust, says: “Working with Amit on this project was a really great experience, and we’ve created a great template that all small businesses can use to improve their own sustainability credentials.

“It’s great to know that by making changes in store, the convenience retail channel could save millions of pounds. It’s also important to note that areas that retailers might not have thought about – improving the shelving in your storeroom, for example – can have a huge impact on your CO2 emissions, saving retailers time, money and reducing energy use.”

Amit Patel, of Premier Town Street in Sandiacre, says: “This project has been fantastic to work on. I’m already seeing the benefits of the changes – both in terms of my energy savings and the feedback from my shoppers, who love what I’m doing and the way the store looks now. Thinking more about how we impact the environment is incredibly important for many reasons, and I urge all retailers to look at how they can start doing just that”.

The project ties in with the Suntory vision of Growing for Good – being a company that always benefits its community as it grows. The company has an ambitious target to move to using only 100% sustainable plastic bottles by 2030, as part of a wider 2050 environmental vision, aiming to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across the entire value chain.

“Not only will these changes save Amit money on his overheads, but they also make the store a more welcoming and inviting place for his local shoppers to visit. It truly is Good For Business,” added Pheasant.

SBF GB&I is hosting an intimate event in London at which Amit Patel will talk about the changes made in store, alongside a representative from the Energy Saving Trust. If any retailers would be interested in putting themselves on the shortlist to attend, please email us at SBFtrade@hanovercomms.com.

The changes made over the course of the project were:

  • Replacing an old 800W oil-filled radiator behind the counter with a new halogen heater providing directional heat
  • Installing a new door-closing mechanism for the front door of the shop, to keep heat locked in
  • Updating an old TV used to display CCTV footage with a more modern, energy-efficient model
  • Installing new lighting throughout the store, replacing ten-year old 30W LED tube lights with more energy efficient LED panels and less of them
  • Introducing a sensor to ensure that lights in lesser-used areas like the storeroom are turned off automatically when they aren’t being used
  • Replacing two open-fronted chiller units, one more than 15 years old and one which broke down, with newer models with doors that are more efficient
  • Installing new shelving in the storeroom, allowing better stock management, increase stock capacity and reducing cash & carry journeys and deliveries
  • Implementing new processes to ensure that stock is managed effectively, waste is reduced, and any potential energy-losing faults are spotted early to maintain energy efficiency
  • Introducing new PoS materials to help advertise the changes to customers to build local loyalty.

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