Debenhams plans to go 100 per cent renewable

Debenhams has announced a deal with Scottish Power to supply all its stores with electricity from renewable sources.

Under the two-year deal announced this week, Scottish Power will supply 35MW of electricity to all 178 of Debenhams stores across the UK. The deal has been agreed on a flexible purchase basis enabling Debenhams to be able to purchase electricity at set amounts throughout the life of the contract.

According to Nigel Palmer, Debenhams' retail operations director said that the company is approaching improvements in its sustainability with a step-by-step approach across its entire business. "This agreement to power our stores with 100 per cent green electricity is part of a long term strategy," he said. "We will be seeking to continually improve our green performance by setting new targets for our 20,000 staff to meet."

Although Debenhams move to renewable energy will no doubt be welcomed by environmental groups, some campaigners have argued that retailers - and supermarkets in particular - will have to change their business practices to become truly sustainable.

A recent report by the Food Ethics Council found that despite supermarkets' increased focus on climate change, carbon emissions from across the food sector are continuing to rise.

Total greenhouse gas emissions for the UK food sector climbed three per cent in the year 2005-06, largely as a result of an increase in total consumption. To combat this raise, retailers may be forced to limit the choice and availability of products which come with a higher than average carbon footprint, the report claimed.

For its part, Debenhams, which sells some food items, claims it has recently introduced a "super cube trailer" for its delivery trucks which its says will double the capacity of the normal 45ft trailers allowing the retailer to reduce the number of deliveries to stores by 40 journeys a week.

Scottish Power Renewables agreement with Debenhams comes shortly after the power company announced it was evaluating sites around Scotland and Northern Ireland for the development of what it is calling "the world's largest tidal stream projects".

Scottish Power claims it now has over 400MW of renewable energy projects in operation with a further 1000MW planned or under construction.

"We recently increased our own renewable energy targets, and we now plan to be generating 1,800MW of electricity from renewable sources by 2012," said Jim Paterson, sales and marketing director at Scottish Power.

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