Pick n Pay's initial steps to address environmental issues in the 1980s culminated in 2007 with the launch of its Sustainable Development Vision and Action Plan. Although the plan commits the organisation to a number of environmentally-friendly goals, a particular focus is on reducing carbon emissions. Pick n Pay has identified climate change, and the carbon emissions that are contributing to the global phenomenon, as presenting a risk not only to the business, but to broader sustainability as well. The plan commits the organisation to reducing its overall carbon footprint – and specifically its energy consumption – by 20% per square metre of trading space by 2012 (based on 2007 baseline figures).
At the same time, however, the company intends to increase its trading footprint by 12% a year over the same period. The biggest challenge for Tessa Chamberlain, general manager for sustainable development at Pick n Pay, lies in the conundrum of balancing these two goals. Can Pick n Pay achieve both, or will achieving one goal necessarily compromise the other?