With such a large number of supermarkets in the UK vying for market share, this is one of the most fiercely contested industries around. At present Tesco are the leaders (with over 6k stores) of the big four which include the likes of Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons. With this competition has come the pressure to extend opening hours, which Tesco has done by opening 24 hours a day from Monday-Friday.
Why concern should be shown?
Although Tesco may already have systems in place to manage their energy efficiently, maximising output and voltage optimisation, there are other chains lagging behind under continued pressure to strive to compete with these big guns! The fear is that with competition so rife, and with other superstore chains playing ‘catch up’, costs therefore need to be focused on following Tesco’s lead in extending opening hours, and therefore increasing energy usage. This would result in all large superstores lighting, fridges, checkouts, heaters and more left on for extended periods of time. Therein lies the problem that such voltage management and energy saving measures to save wasted energy and costs may not be prioritised (or high on the boards agenda) over the potential for net profit from increased store sales! With more and more stores following this trend in being hot on the chase of Tesco’s heels, this will no doubt satisfy the public’s hunger and appetite for a 24/7 service from supermarkets showing flexibility. Such naivety from large supermarket chains and the public on the wider environmental impact that this competition could cause could have serious repercussions, not just in supermarkets not meeting energy targets, but also from further damaging sustainability targets and their corporate images longer term. Supermarkets would argue that fair competition is important if chains such as Tesco aren’t going to monopolise the market (which is true) so it is about balancing and managing the expectations of the public, government & EU environmental policies, as well as the environmentalists themselves.
How can Supermarkets be energy efficient?
There are various ways in which supermarkets can cut costs, for instance in dimming lights during opening hours, or by not having lighting covering acres of car parking space in the early hours of the morning. After all, how many of us want to food shop between the hours of 12am-6am? More can still be done however at peak times of operation such as maximising voltage optimisation and management, in-turn saving supermarkets hundreds of thousands of pounds per annum. There are services and products on the market to help do so such as the noted PowerPerfector VPO system which is designed to cut energy usage by over 20%, as well as the carbon footprint! VPO could play a huge part for large corporations balancing the needs of consumers, whilst also reaching for and targeting industry sustainability recognition through awards! After all, every supermarket has a responsibility and a need to meet their corporate social responsibilities.