According to Woolworths, the rollout will result in up to 70% of the retailer’s fleet being powered by electricity which according to the figures from the trial, will have on an annual basis the potential to save 700,000kgs of tailpipe carbon emissions.
“Last year we announced bold new sustainability goals and ambitions, which included the goal to have zero nett carbon emissions by 2040 so we are very much looking forward to being the first retailer in South Africa to embark on such an extensive rollout of electric panel vans to support our growing online business,” says Liz Hillock, Woolworths head of online and mobile.
She adds, “Over the last three years we have invested over R1bn in our digital capabilities, providing new and innovative experiences to meet the evolving needs of our customer as well as differentiate our services which has resulted in an exponential growth of online sales. This latest investment in electric panel vans, enables us to continue to grow our online business and deliver the Woolies difference, but with a lower carbon footprint.”
Woolworths made the announcement to coincide with World Environment Day 2022, celebrated this year on Sunday, 5 June, which calls for transformative changes to policies and choices to enable cleaner, greener, and sustainable living in harmony with nature. According to Professor Kenneth Gillingham at Yale School of Environment, the adoption of electric vehicles offers the opportunity to play a key part in the decarbonising of the economy.
Explaining how the vans will be powered Hillock says, “Electricity will be sourced as far as possible from renewable sources maximising the opportunity to utilise solar at DSV and additional chargers co-located at strategic Woolworths store locations. We will work closely with DSV and Everlectric to plan, position and negotiate the installation of these charging stations to leverage off existing renewable/solar installations co-located at the selected malls/retail locations.
“Should there be any exception to renewables recharging, DSV and Everlectric will work with an audit firm to procure renewable energy certificates (RECs) to offset any indirect grid energy emissions.”
Ndia Magadagela, Everlectric CEO comments, “At Everlectric, we believe that the South African logistics sector is ready to transition to a cleaner, more environmentally friendly and sustainable future. We are delighted that Woolworths is taking a leading role in sustainable logistics in retail by committing to this substantial rollout of our electric panel vans.
“We see the global renewable energy and electric vehicle trends manifesting, and we know that it is only a matter of time before the existing internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles are replaced by EVs due to their enhanced efficiencies and economic benefits.”