Firstly, congratulations on the opening of your new eco-shop in Great Billing, Northampton, please could you go into a little bit of detail about the eco-friendly features the shop has?

The new Eco-Shop, which has opened at Great Billing, Northampton, is a brand new and bespoke format where we will test innovative solutions and initiatives aimed at delivering real progress in reducing the environmental impact of the company’s operations. Successful new ideas and technologies will then be rolled out across the broader shop estate. The Eco-Shop is our ‘shop of the future’ which contains numerous new initiatives and technologies in an effort to reduce the environmental impact of our operations, focusing particularly on reducing waste, energy and water. The Eco-Shop will offer our full range of products and elements below (which are not inclusive of all initiatives):

  • Recycled flooring which is 100% recyclable and made from 20% recycled vinyl floor
  • Air assisted toilets which reduce water usage by mixing air and water at high pressure, rather than relying on a cistern
  • A SOTA Eco Oven which cooks products fast and uses up to 10% less energy than other models
  • Solar control glass which allows sunlight to pass through a window, whilst also reflecting and radiating much of the heat from the sun, allowing the shop to stay light and cool and reducing the use of air con. The glass is double-glazed therefore acts as a good insulator.
  • A dishwasher which uses 50% less water and 60% less chemicals than the current model fitted in most Gregg shops
  • Front-of-shop refrigerated shelving are the first Category A multideck, which have a global warming potential of 3 as well as a 50%+ reduction in energy

Why has the company decided to open this new eco-shop?

The launch forms part of the Greggs Pledge, our company’s sustainability plan which sets out ten ESG commitments, aligned to UN SDGs, to help make the world a better place by 2025.

Our sixth Pledge is “Building the shops of the future,” with a commitment to open the first Eco-Shop and have 250 of Greggs’ shops featuring elements from this “shop of the future” format by the end of 2022. Longer term, we have set a target for a quarter of our shop estate to feature Eco-Shop elements and, with the proposed initiatives, will continue to reduce the carbon footprint across shops every year, driving the company further towards our Net Zero carbon objective.

How important is it to Greggs as a company to be sustainable?

It’s our duty as a responsible business to stand for more than just profit. In 2021, we published our first Greggs Pledge: ten things that we’re doing to help make the world a better place by 2025. In this report, we shared progress towards those ten commitments and explain what we will be doing next. It is our way of being as transparent as possible on this important journey. Our second report, published in 2022, tracks our progress against our 10 goals and maps out the next year’s targets and our journey towards our 2025 milestones. By publishing The Greggs Pledge we set out clear environmental and social commitments in those areas where we believe we can make the most impact as we seek to build on Greggs strong reputation as a responsible business.

Have you found that many of your customers care about sustainability?

Customers are, rightfully, becoming more ethically motivated in their purchase decisions. There are certain hygiene factors that food-on-the-go retailers are expected to meet, such as: reducing food waste and reducing plastic waste. However, the agenda is certainly shifting and organisations like ourselves must now offer more transparency on how we are making steps towards reducing their carbon footprint, are focusing on making physical stores sustainable and how they are working with the government to hit Net Zero targets. This is where we are proud of our annual Pledge report, so our customers can have confidence that we are a business dedicated to doing good.

If successful, are there any plans to increase the number of eco-shops Greggs will open?

This store in Northampton will be our only store known as an Eco-Shop.

This store will trial new initiatives and technologies which aim to reduce the environmental impact of Greggs’ operations and those found successful will be rolled out through our new shop and refurbishment programs.

Further to your eco-shop, are there any other ways in which Greggs as a company are becoming more sustainable?

We have always been committed to doing the right thing, but we wanted to get more specific about how we channel our efforts and resources into doing good. We reflected on what we could do to have the most positive impact on the world around us and have chosen to dedicate our efforts to three areas: communities, the planet, and our approach to business. We have looked ahead to 2025 and set ourselves ten stretching targets to achieve by then. As part of our commitment to the planet, we pledge to become a carbon neutral, zero waste business. The planet is facing a climate emergency and we acknowledge our responsibility to do everything we can to reduce our environmental impact. It is no longer okay to be responsible for emitting carbon or creating waste. More information on our specific pledges can be found here