The launch of the BITCI Leaders’ Group on Sustainability & the Low Carbon pledge

In 2016 Musgrave achieved the Business Working Responsibly Mark from Business in the Community Ireland(BITCI). Based on ISO 26000 and audited by the NSAI, the mark looks at how we, as an organisation, treat customers, employees, our suppliers, our communities and the environment. It was an achievement that brought to the fore our strong commitment to sustainability and that allowed us to come together with other leading businesses, committed to working together for positive change. This association resulted in the creation of the BITCI Leaders Group on Sustainability, who today launch the first of their key actions, the Low Carbon Pledge.

Here Chris Martin, CEO Musgrave, explains how our membership of the BITCI continues to support the Musgrave journey to greater sustainability:

“At Musgrave, we have a clear purpose to create sustainable growth for the benefit of partners, colleagues and the company. This purpose is Growing Good Business. We believe that in a world where we are competing for market share and talent, nurturing a culture that thinks long term and has a robust purpose is important. We believe that companies that operate with a clear and driving sense of purpose are more focused and cohesive than those that have profit as their sole measure of success. As a family business with six generations of ownership, we look out further than the next set of quarterly results and are committed to sustainable growth. It’s this ethos that’s informing our business decisions, inspiring our people and transforming our culture. Our Business Working Responsibly accreditation and membership of the BITCI support us in this endeavour, connecting us with other Irish businesses who recognise sustainable business practices as a critical factor to success.

Our overarching ambition is to be the most trusted and most sustainable brand in Ireland; making a real difference to people’s lives and creating a positive impact on the planet by working with our partners to make every community a sustainable community. We launched our 2020 sustainability strategy in 2017 and are committed to delivering on our sustainability ambition. Our recent in-store initiatives, with SuperValu being the first retailer in Ireland to introduce fully compostable and biodegradable produce bags for use by customers, and the switch to compostable cups by our leading coffee brand Frank and Honest are all steps in our journey. And for us the BITCI is a partner on this journey.

Today therefore marks a milestone for us as members of BITCI with the launch of the Leaders Group on Sustainability, a coalition of Ireland’s leading organisations, represented by CEOs of Ireland’s top companies, who are making a commitment to work together to improve the sustainability of the Irish business sector through sharing best practice and creating new ways of doing business.

As a group we recognise the importance of collaboration in order to maintain and build Ireland’s reputation as a place to do business, attract top talent and inward investment and the need to come together to address the most pressing sustainability priorities for the Irish business sector. Sharing experiences and working together we have identified these as:

  • Ensuring businesses take the lead in Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy
  • Removing barriers to social inclusion in Irish industry
  • Adapting to emerging work practices that will transform Irish industry

Our Low Carbon Pledge

Today the Leaders’ Group on Sustainability is taking action on the first of these priorities by making a public commitment to supporting Ireland’s business sector in the transition to a low carbon economy. The Low Carbon Pledge is the first dedicated pledge generated by Irish business to set industry standards on sustainability and reduce carbon emissions, reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions intensity by 50% by 2030.

At Musgrave, for more than 10 years now, we have operated an energy monitoring and targeting system across our building estate and supply our facilities with 100% green electricity. We have also extended this supply agreement to make green power available to our retail partners across Ireland, reducing GHG emissions.

Our company strategies are designed to minimise the environmental and climate change impacts of our operations. We set ambitious annual energy and waste reduction targets and use renewable and alternative energy to cut our emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

As a part of our 2020 Sustainability strategy, ‘Taking Care of Our World’, launched in 2017, we have committed to reduce the carbon intensity of our operations across the island of Ireland by 70% * and by 2025 to reduce the climate impacts of our refrigeration systems by 80%.

These are our commitments.

As part of the BITCI Leaders Group on Sustainability we now have a new opportunity to share our knowledge and learn from other businesses. By doing this we lend our support to bringing as many businesses together as is possible to tackle climate change, set standards in sustainability and play a vital role in Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy.

At Musgrave we are committed to playing a leadership role and to working hard to meet the challenges of managing our own impacts. As a member of the Leaders Group on Sustainability we look forward to sharing our expertise, learning from others and supporting more communities as they strive to bring about positive change. The Low Carbon Pledge is the first step on this journey towards achieving our mutual objectives.

I look forward to continuing to work together for the benefit of the Irish business sector and the future sustainability of our environment.”

*(2006 baseline)

About Chris Martin
Chris Martin is CEO of Musgrave, the leading food retail, wholesale and foodservice business on the island of Ireland.

Founded in 1876 in Cork, by brothers Thomas and Stuart Musgrave, Musgrave is one of Ireland’s longest-running family businesses. With a strong portfolio of market-leading brands, today Musgrave and its retail partners support more than 40,000 jobs, in more than 1,400 stores and offices across seven brands in three markets, with total sales of €3.7 billion.

Under Chris’ direction, the business has focused strongly on partnering with entrepreneurial retailers and innovative food suppliers to develop the retail and foodservice business and has grown the brands to be market leaders.

Prior to joining Musgrave, Chris had developed a strong and lengthy career in retail and leisure including CEO of Mothercare plc, Group Finance Director of Storehouse plc and various roles in ASDA and Pizza Hut. 

As a board member of Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), Chris is part of BITCI’s Leaders’ Group on Sustainability, a coalition of Ireland’s leading organisations that are striving to improve the sustainability of the Irish business sector through sharing best practice and creating new ways of doing business. He is also a member of the policy committee for IGD and has participated in the European Commission review of retail competitiveness and in the future of the Irish food sector through Harvest 2020.

An economics graduate of Newcastle University, he is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

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