Water is a precious resource – and we need to preserve it. In the summer of 2022, France was hit by a drought the likes of which it had not seen since 1959. The winter of 2023 then saw rainfall that was among the lowest ever recorded in history.
Given just how urgent the situation is, Carrefour had already taken the initiative and introduced a number of water-saving solutions back in 2022 to keep consumption to a minimum. These included installing water-saving devices in its sanitary facilities and introducing a closed cooling circuit for its refrigeration facilities.
Carrefour stores in France consume just over 1,000,000 m³ of water: 739,000 m³ of water per year for hypermarkets and 421,000 m³ for supermarkets.
Stores need water to operate on a day-to-day basis – and it is used for three purposes in particular:
- Food production: baking bread and pastries, and producing ice for the fish counter;
- Washing shopping trolleys, shopping baskets and waste containers;
- Refrigeration production: operating the vacuum pumps for the closed refrigeration units, and cooling the stores in the event of the fans getting overheated.
Carrefour is now raising its target and is bolstering its initiatives, introducing new ones that will further reduce the amount of water that it wastes:
- producing just the right amount of ice and installing units with white walls at the fish counters;
- deploying water-saving guns across the cold water network so that flow can be adjusted to meet needs;
- installing ovens with steam cleaning systems when the time comes to replace equipment;
- investing so as to optimise the way in which the internal network is managed, and adopting best practices in this regard (diagnostics to tackle water leaks, etc.)
With this new action plan, Carrefour is aiming to reduce its water consumption by 10% by 2025, compared with 2022 levels – that is equivalent to 40 Olympic swimming pools. This action plan sits alongside the internal communications campaign that was launched in stores in early July – its aim is to raise people's awareness of good environmentally friendly habits that they can get into to save water.