Sainsburys Delivery

Sainsbury’s is calling on all sustainable tech start-ups to help improve supply chain efficiency

Sainsbury’s is launching an investment programme to support sustainable startup businesses.

The supermarket is pledging to support small businesses looking to commercialise eco-friendly technologies that reduce carbon and water use via its new Sainsbury’s Innovation Investments scheme.

Sainsbury’s will invest a minimum of £5m over the next four years into the chosen startups, with the first investment expected to be announced before the end of 2022.

The main focus will be on early-stage companies putting forward solutions to tackle excessive operation carbon emissions and water usage across the whole supply chain – not just limited to Sainsbury’s own operations – from refrigeration to ventilation.

Candidates must be able to prove their technologies work in order to receive the financial boost that will help them commercialise their innovations on a large scale.

Why Sainsbury’s is investing in green technology startups

“We are proud to be doing our part in leading the way to create solutions that will reduce carbon emissions and water usage not just in our stores, but across the entire sector,” said Patrick Dunne, Sainsbury’s property and procurement director.

“Tackling an issue of this scale requires collaboration and we’re really excited to not only invest in these businesses, but also provide a pathway to in-store use, working towards a more sustainable future for everyone.”

This is part of Sainsbury’s pledge to reach net zero in its own operations by 2035, a goal the retailer says it is on course to meet.

Sainsbury’s Innovation Investments is part of the company’s ongoing partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), a technology and engineering services business that will be responsible for scouting the startups.

A previous collaboration with WAE saw Sainsbury’s install innovative aerofoil technology to its fridges in-store in 2017, which resulted in an estimated 15% energy reduction, according to the supermarket.

“Embracing new and unproven technologies is a necessary requirement to meet net zero and many of these products and services will emerge from the technology startup community,” said WAE director Matthew Burke.

“Sainsbury’s Innovation Investments will accelerate the commercialisation of these technologies through the opportunity of investment, trial and deployment across Sainsbury’s vast estate and operations.”

Burke added it would allow Sainsbury’s to act as a “springboard” for wider technology adoption by other players across retail and even other sectors who share common net zero challenges.