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Sustainability Report

5. A year of advances. Generating wealth and well-being
Future generations: the environment

We are aware that our growth needs should not condition the well-being of future generations, and we therefore advocate protection of the environment as part of our day-to-day activities. We also extend this principle to our suppliers and consumers.

We will keep on improving... extending our commitment to programmes geared towards suppliers and consumers to encourage environmentally-friendly processes for recognition, control and minimisation of the impact on the environment.

Environmental management

Environmentally friendly growth

We were the first Spanish distribution company to obtain ISO 14001 Standard certification for an environmental management system, at our Pamplona installation, and this was followed by ISO 14001 Standard certification of our environmental management system by AENOR in 2000 at the Eroski Hypermarket in Artea.

In 1994, ECOPLAN, the first conceptual framework for our Environmental Policy, was created and implemented throughout the entire organisation. From that year onwards, ECOPLAN has been gradually renewed in accordance with our continuous improvement objective, adapting to a new structure, geographical dimension and number of people and consumers, with in-company training being given on the efficient use of resources and workplace waste management, forming a link throughout the organisation.

We participate in the main forums of debate and studies of environmentally friendly, sustainable practices. In 2004 we sponsored the Seventh National Environmental Congress: the Sustainable Development Summit, organised by the CONAMA Foundation, which dealt with the challenges of development and sustainable consumption, the new globalisation, sustainable use of natural resources, waste management and climate change strategies.

The measures taken to minimise our environmental impact were set within the framework of four of the main global scale environmental problems: climate change, use of resources, waste management and biodiversity. To do this, we identified the most significant environmental impacts in each area and line of business and focused our efforts on them, reviewing the Environmental Management Plan each year and adapting it to fulfil our continuous improvement commitment.

Climate change

Climate change is considered to be one of the most serious ecological problems and our contribution focuses on transport activity, while also taking into account indirect CO2 emissions caused by electrical consumption at our installations, and refrigerant gas leaks.

The Sustainable Transportinitiatives, which we are working on together with the Spanish Association for Commercial Coding (AECOC) and as members of the MIRACLE project, are centred on finding alternatives to road transport, giving rise to an annual saving of 168,000 litres of fuel in 2004 by transporting 7,800 pallets by train. We are also studying the viability of using sea transport for shipping goods from Italy and Holland.

Our fleet renewal policies at the Elorrio, Zubieta and Agurain platforms (corresponding to 32% of our turnover) are measures which, in addition to improving our logistics activities, guarantee efficient fuel consumption and fewer emissions of greenhouse effect gases, with the average lifetime of the vehicles being between two and two-and-a-half years.

Optimising despatch and automating route planning between the forwarding and distribution platforms via regional platforms will allow for a reduction in the total mileage travelled. These measures are consolidated with the implementation of a PMGE route-optimising module to attain a reduction of around 4%, both financially and of pollutant emissions. Petrol pumps with vapour recovery systems for refuelling have also been installed at 24 service stations since 2001, reducing the emissions of volatile organic compounds by 2%.

We have also succeeded in minimising our average electrical consumption by 15%, with a consequent saving of 19,250 euros on industrial cooling installations, air conditioning, lighting and bakery ovens as a result of separate lighting systems functioning by areas and time zones, automatic switch-on according to a reading of external lighting by movement sensors and measures for extending the life span of the lighting installations.

We have also put our stakes in the use of renewable energy sources, installing photovoltaic panels as a complementary method of covering our electrical needs. We do this in four centres at present and intend to extend it to the rest of the commercial network.

Use of resources

Natural resources need to be exploited and managed in a more efficient way, to prevent these non-renewable sources from becoming depleted and also to reduce the amount of waste generated through their consumption.

Our main consumption is of electricity for our network of commercial establishments, fuel for the logistics platforms, packaging, water for cleaning and sanitary use, and paper.

Water, is a renewable resource, although it is scarce in some areas of Spain. However, much pressure has been put on it by human use and this has caused deterioration and loss of its quality.

Our commitment has led us to introduce economy measures such as the installation of shower-type hoses and steam cookers in the fish department and timers on the washroom taps in our centres.
These data from the ISO 14001 Standard certified Artea Hypermarket show how far we have developed in this regard. This centre serves as a model for the rest of the commercial network.

Paper-making entails major energy and water consumption, in addition to trees needing to be cut down to obtain cellulose. Taking measures for encouraging economy in its use and later recycling are essential if we wish to reduce the pressure on our forests and eco-system.

We have managed to reduce our consumption of paper, which we use mainly for advertising leaflets and publications, in our offices and for cash register receipt rolls, through measures such as double re-use of office paper, reusable envelopes for in-company mail, the use of chlorine-free or 100% recycled paper for leaflets and publications, and selective mailing schemes.

The manufacture of containers and packaging requires a large amount of plastics, metals and energy. Recovery and recycling will prevent them from being disposed of indiscriminately and avoid much contamination of air and water.

Containers, particularly for fresh produce, and shopping bags (photodegradable since 1991), are now being replaced by reusable packaging, which reduces the material needed and their environmental impact. We are once more giving our customers free reusable bags,certified by AENOR in 2000, which we exchange for new ones when they break. Each bag saves on the use of 15 conventional plastic bags, and they are manufactured with a minimum of 15% of recycled materials and inks complying with the toughest regulations.

Waste management

We are concerned with waste generation at the points of sale and the amount of packaging used by Eroski brand products, and we carefully monitor their characteristics, for example by changing our bottled water containers from PVC to PET bottles.

Eroski Hypermarkets have infrastructures which allow us to selectively separate the waste generated, to dispose of it correctly. The waste separated and managed is as follows:

  • Urban waste and similar: meat waste, used vegetable oils, hard plastic waste.
  • Container and packaging waste: secondary and tertiary packaging (cardboard and plastic), lightweight containers and wooden containers.
  • Bulky waste: scrap and debris.
  • Hazardous waste: paint, bleach, motor oil, fluorescent tubes, grease sludge, batteries, empty containers with hazardous content.


The loss of biodiversity cannot be considered as merely an environmental problem, as it also has profound repercussions on economic and social development.

Eroski contributes to preventing the loss of biodiversity by using sustainable agriculture procedures for its fresh produce and wood products from sustainably-managed forests (as the loss of forest ecosystems on a global level is another of the main casues of the climate change).

Widening our responsibility

Motivation for promoting environmentally-sound practices

Actuando sobre la cadena de suministro

Since 1999 we have been making environmental diagnoses of our suppliers and sub-contracted companies, and we have proceduralised this in a tough statement of conditions. Among the environmental requirements, which are particularly critical in the case of fresh produce, are recycling of hothouse plastics and phytosanitary treatment containers, limitations on the use of phytosanitary products for fruit and vegetables, regulation of the amounts of nitrates for treating soils and prohibition of feed containing drugs for meat products.

To guarantee compliance with these environmental requirements and others concerning hygiene, health and origin, all suppliers of Eroski NATUR products undergo a control programme involving several inspections per year and samples being taken for waste control.

We also work with five transport companies environmental management system certified who are all ISO 14001 Standard certified, and by 2005. This means that 90% of our transport another three who are due to have their will be certified.

The e+5 programme. Environmental rating of suppliers and sub-contracted companies

The Eroski Group participates in a programme for the environmental classification of suppliers and sub-contracted companies, developed by the Fundación Entorno and which provides 135 of our suppliers with a procedure for phasing in environmental management systems. The requirements are as established in the ISO 14001 Standard and there is an external classification audit whereby a certificate is issued.

In 2004, the Eroski Group, together with the companies Coca Cola, Gas Natural and Ericsson, and in collaboration with Fundación Entorno, obtained the Garrigues Award for Sustainable Environmental Management for this initiative of extending environmental management to suppliers and sub-contracted companies in accordance with e+5 methodology for large companies.

We are now able to assess and improve our suppliers´ environmental actions by means of this system, and can therefore act on our commitment to contributing to sustainable development and the social demand for environmental protection.

Further information from

Raising consumers' ecological awareness

The level of awareness of environmental issues is high, and we are committed not only to implementing environmentally friendly management practices but also to publicising them, so that we succeed in disseminating the importance of environmentally concerned lifestyles.

As well as integrating the environmental variable in our working procedures and products, we also wish to instil these values in the consumers through a large variety of awareness-raising activities and specific measures for encouraging and facilitating environmentally friendly practices.

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