Walmart Canada and Amazon Fresh have joined Target in announcing new sustainability-focused stores that use CO2 (R744) refrigeration in North America.

Walmart Canada, a division of U.S.-based Walmart that runs 408 stores throughout Canada, including 71 in Quebec, plans to open a 140,000ft2 (13,006.4m2) Supercentre store in the Marché Central section of Montreal, Quebec, in the summer of 2023.

New features at the Walmart Marché Central Supercentre will include:

  • A transcritical CO2 system
  • LED lighting with advanced lighting controls throughout the store, backroom and offices
  • A 125,000ft2 (1,1612.9m2) “green roof”
  • Ultra-low flow lavatories, urinals and water closets
  • Recycled content within building materials and low VOC finishes
  • Integration of additional electric vehicle charging stations

“Montreal is an extremely important market for us and we’re incredibly excited to be growing in Quebec and offering even more shopping options for our customers,” says Cyrille Ballereau, Walmart Canada Regional Vice President for Quebec, in a statement. “We’re also implementing several sustainability features because Walmart’s goal is to make as light a footprint on the planet as we can. We can’t wait to open this store next year as we continue to grow in Quebec.”

One of Walmart’s major competitors in the U.S., Target, announced on March 17 that it is using  CO(R744) refrigeration at a retrofitted Vista, California, outlet that it is calling its “first net zero energy store.” Target said it will rollout CO2 refrigeration chainwide by 2040.

Amazon Fresh Seeks net zero certification

Meanwhile, Amazon Fresh, the brick-and-motor division of the online retail giant Amazon, announced it has opened a 35,000ft2  (3,251.6m2) store in its headquarters city of Seattle, Washington (U.S.), that uses CO2-based  refrigeration.

The CO2 system will reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 38 metric tons per year compared to a conventional system, said Amazon Fresh.

Amazon Fresh, which also offers online delivery, operates 26 stores in the U.S., including four in the Seattle area. It has 17 stores in London in the U.K. Amazon also runs Amazon Go convenience stores.

Among the other sustainable features in the store are additional doors for refrigerated cases, skylights and LED lighting and free electric vehicle charging, with all electricity generated by renewables. Shoppers also have the option to avoid checkout lines with Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology.

As a result of its upgrades, “we expect the store will save nearly 185 [metric] tons of CO2e each year, equivalent to driving around the Earth 18 times in a standard passenger vehicle,” said Amazon Fresh

Amazon Fresh is seeking zero-carbon certification for the new store from the International Living Future Institute, making it the world’s first grocery retailer to do so, said Amazon Fresh. To achieve this certification the store must be energy efficient, have all electricity provided by renewable energy, demonstrate a reduction in the embodied carbon of building materials, and prove that all carbon emissions associated with the manufacturing and construction process have been neutralized.

“We know many customers are prioritizing sustainability in what products they buy and where they choose to shop,” said Stephenie Landry, Vice President of Amazon Grocery, in a statement. “With our newest Amazon Fresh store, we are taking the next step on our path to becoming a net-zero carbon business by 2040, and we welcome customers to experience this firsthand while shopping with us in this store.”

Amazon plans to power its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025. Under its Climate Pledge program, Amazon has made a commitment to be net-zero carbon across its business by 2040.

EV charging at Amazon Fresh store

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