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We’re proud of our success in food retail. Together with our retail partners we serve about a third of the Irish population, supplying everything from daily food requirements to regional artisan specialities.

However, this is a business that makes a lot of demands on the environment. Delivering food to shops, keeping it fresh and supplying an appealing shopping environment for over a million customers can, if not managed carefully, use up a lot of energy. But we don’t want to compromise our reputation for efficiency and good service. What can we do?

In fact, we’ve been answering that question for some time. Our retail partner, and Ireland’s leading grocery retailer, SuperValu has a strong track record of introducing energy-efficient equipment to its independent stores. Energy-saving refrigeration cabinet doors and LED lighting are already making a difference to energy usage in a number of major SuperValu stores across the island of Ireland.

Of course, there is always more we can do. Which is why solar panels will be installed in up to 30 of SuperValu’s stores over the next two years – and why SuperValu is committing to the reduction of energy consumption across its estate by 20 per cent over the next two years.

These solar PV panels won’t just supply a portion of the electricity the stores need. Some of the electricity generated by the solar panels will also be used to supply energy to electric car charging points at selected stores.

These are not isolated initiatives. Solar panels and energy-efficient stores help us and our partners to reduce the environmental impact of our businesses, but we are also doing a lot more.

Our ambition is to be the most trusted and most sustainable brand in Ireland. This ambition has inspired a sustainability strategy which we call Taking care of our world. It brings together a number of environmentally friendly initiatives, like using renewable energy, reducing food waste, and cutting down on packaging. In fact it goes much further – for example, supporting local food entrepreneurs, offering healthy food promotions and working with food redistribution charities. And that’s far from all, as a quick look at our sustainability pages of our website will make clear.

This isn’t just an Irish challenge, of course; it’s a global one. In 2015, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were published. They included guidelines on what businesses could do to make their operations more sustainable. Musgrave became one of the first companies globally to embed the UN principles in its sustainability strategy. We have, in fact, placed them at the core of our day-to-day business activities.

So, yes, we are proud of our success in Ireland’s food retail business. But we are equally proud that this success goes hand in hand with a strategy that is clearly addressing the sustainability challenge.

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