ALDI logistics vehicles in front of a regional distribution centre

Environment

“We aim to minimise the ecological footprint of our entire business. We strive to become a climate-neutral company and are therefore committed to the continuous reduction of our greenhouse gas emissions.”

CR Principles

Content

Shopping aisle in an ALDI SOUTH store with chest freezers and shelves

Focus: modern refrigeration technology

The refrigeration technology used in our stores, regional distribution centres, and logistics vehicles essentially influences the achievement of our climate protection goals. On the one hand, the discharge of refrigerants into the environment cannot be entirely avoided. On the other hand, refrigeration systems are responsible for a large share of our energy consumption.

Using modern, environmentally sound, and climate-friendly refrigerants is an essential approach to reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Until very recently, the refrigerants used were almost exclusively halogenated hydrocarbons, i.e. compounds of hydrocarbons and substances such as fluorine and chlorine. Compared to carbon dioxide, the potential of these F-gases to contribute to the greenhouse effect (global warming potential, GWP) is up to 4,000 times higher. Moreover, several refrigerants are suspected to accelerate the depletion of the ozone layer. 

For this reason, refrigerants with a significantly lower GWP, such as carbon dioxide (GWP of 1) or ammonia (GWP of 0), are increasingly used. At present, approximately 25% of our stores are equipped with carbon dioxide-based refrigeration systems for the chiller cabinets and storage areas, and ammonia-based refrigeration systems are used in the majority (2016: 83%) of our regional distribution centres. All new free-standing chest freezers within our stores which are not connected to the central refrigeration system operate on propane, which possesses a low GWP and does not deplete the ozone layer. Moreover, we are successively replacing the refrigerants used within our logistics vehicles with modern alternatives. In all our refrigeration systems, including those in chest freezers and logistics vehicles, we monitor any refrigerant leakages in order to identify and repair defects at an early stage.

Within our modern refrigeration systems, efficient technology, electronic controls, and continuous monitoring of electricity consumption help us to save both costs and energy and thereby avoid unnecessary emissions. The use of LED lighting in chest freezers and chiller cabinets also contributes to saving energy. In addition to being more energy-efficient, LED lighting also emits less heat. Further energy savings are achieved by optimising the temperature settings of our refrigeration equipment. Reliable technology enables us to reduce cooling performance without running the risk of exceeding the required minimum temperatures. Increasing the temperature in a chest freezer used at ALDI SOUTH from -21 to -19 degrees Celsius alone can reduce energy consumption by 200 kWh per year per chest freezer. This corresponds to an overall energy saving of 10%. 

Our efforts are coming to fruition. At present, we are using a refrigerant with a GWP of less than 2,200 for medium-temperature refrigeration in 75% of our stores and aim to increase this share to 100% of our stores by 2025. Currently, some of our refrigeration systems are so efficient that we can no longer use their exhaust heat in order to heat our stores and thus need to consider alternatives. Our leading position with regard to the use of modern refrigeration technology has been confirmed multiple times: the non-governmental organisation Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) awarded us the title of 'Green Cooling Leader' in Europe in 2013, 2014, and 2016, and we received the 2016-2017 ‘Best of the Best’ award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill Partnership.

A hand opening a chest freezer in an ALDI store

Refrigeration technology is important in distribution centres, during transport and in the stores.

Percentage of stores with medium-temperature refrigeration systems (coolers/chillers) using a refrigerant with a GWP < 2,200 

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Please find all information in the table view.
Percentage of stores with medium-temperature refrigeration systems (coolers/chillers) using a refrigerant with a GWP < 2,200  2017
Percentage of stores GWP < 2,200 75
Percentage of stores GWP > 2,200 25
Please find all information in the table view.

The damage potential of refrigerants is reported as Global Warming Potential (GWP). The GWP value indicates a refrigerant’s potential greenhouse effect in comparison to the same amount of carbon dioxide (CO2).