After an excellent start establishing their business in Sweden, Lidl has been actively working to strengthen their brand, and a part of this work is to develop sustainable solutions.
Lidl started in Sweden in 2003 and the company had humble beginnings, having to make changes in order to adapt to the Swedish market. But today Lidl has not only adapted, it is a leader in the industry and a major player in sustainability, even though many don’t understand how low cost and sustainability work together.
“Sustainability is an integral part of our business and to offer high quality goods at a low price, Lidl needs to be resource efficient and cost effective in everything we do including how we build.
– Katarina Rosenqvist, Sustainability and Communications Manager at Lidl Sweden –
A project that really highlights how hard Lidl has worked with environmental and sustainability issues is the new store in Växjö. BREEAM-SE played an important role in the development of Lidl’s new store concept, including in terms of energy use and the green areas in and around the building.
In the parking lot there are charging posts for electric cars, charging poles for electric bicycles and a bicycle pump. Inside the shop there are displays about public transport, so customers can keep an eye on when the next bus runs. Lidl is not only sustainable in itself, but also encourages its customers to be.
“We have been working to change our image, and the Växjö store is the ultimate expression of what we stand for. To achieve this, we wanted to certify the building and we stuck to BREEAM because the system is nationally adapted and a little more comprehensive”
– Johan Augustsson, Real Estate Director at Lidl Sweden –
On the store roof there are solar cells that cover about 30 percent of the store’s energy needs. It is estimated that no heating energy is required from outside because of the solar cells and the heat from the refrigerators. Additionally, different ecozones have been built to suit different species, signs have been set up that visualize and explain to the public what the different ecozones mean. For example, the ecozone “Holken” is adapted for birds, and on the roof an area for plants to grow. Everything has been planned to preserve the biodiversity in the area and even bring more.
In addition to all the environmental and sustainability benefits of certifying a building, environmental certification also strengthens the brand – both externally to real estate companies, tenants, municipalities and other stakeholders, but also internally for employees.
“An external certification is very important and we would like to highlight our certification as much as possible. We feel that we have had other opportunities to profile ourselves through environmental certification. The work has created an incredible commitment and it has built an internal pride with us at Lidl, it is clear.”
– Johan Augustsson and Katarina Rosenqvist –
It is also felt that there has been increased curiosity for what Lidl has achieved in sustainability issues and for the skills now available in the extensive work on a new store concept. By working hard, structured and targeted, Lidl has now become a leading industry player in sustainability. Lidl’s energy consumption is roughly half of the industry segment – due to the fact that their buildings are compact, take on heat from refrigerated ice cages, have smart ventilation and reduces resource consumption.
“As far as our branding work is concerned, we still have a bit left on our journey, but we know we are doing really good things and we want the customer to feel that they make a sustainable choice when entering a Lidl store. This is where environmental certification helps”
– Katarina Rosenqvist –
In the future, Lidl’s sustainability efforts will continue – the ambition of the brand is to certify all the stores that they own against BREEAM.