Lidl & McCulla deliver strong green supply chain footprint

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Pictured are Conor Boyle, Regional Director of Lidl Northern Ireland and Ashley McCulla, Chairman of McCulla (Ireland) Ltd as German supermarket chain Lidl becomes first retailer in UK and Ireland to power its delivery trucks with bio-methane generated by in-store food waste in partnership with McCulla Ireland.

The new fleet of eight bio-methane powered trucks marks the first significant business integration between the transport and retail sector and represents a major step forward in its collective move to slash carbon emissions.

In the coming weeks, using food waste collected from all 41 Lidl’s Uster stores, McCulla will start to create fully renewable bio-methane gas at its own anaerobic digester (AD) plant in Lisburn to power a sustainable, next generation transport operation which then delivers produce to Lidl stores across Northern Ireland every day.

The new Compressed Natural Gas powered Iveco S-WAY NP 4×2 tractor-units trucks, supplied by local dealer NI Trucks, will deliver improved efficiencies and reduce carbon emissions on retail deliveries by up to 93% when operating on bio-methane.

Commenting on the initiative Conor Boyle, Regional Director of Lidl Northern Ireland said: “This partnership with McCulla underlines our commitment to developing sustainable and innovative solutions which create real impact in every area of our business. From using renewable electricity to power our stores to advancing our Plastic Pledge and introducing numerous in-store initiatives to reduce waste, Lidl Northern Ireland is leading the way.

We’re thrilled to now be the first supermarket retailer to successfully integrate the first waste-to-energy sustainable transport model. McCulla’s fleet covers more than 2,300 road miles per day, ensuring the safe and timely delivery of fresh and chilled foods to more than 300,000 weekly customers across our regional store network. The introduction of this new ‘green fleet’ operating on fully renewable biomethane as its primary fuel source will save more than 93% in carbon emissions due per bio-methane truck.

We’re proud to work alongside McCulla to pave the way for the sector and for Northern Ireland in driving a cleaner, greener economy through responsible business practice.”

With more than 50 years’ experience in the haulage industry, McCulla is one of the leading providers of ambient, chilled and frozen logistics solutions throughout the UK and Ireland and has been working with Lidl Northern Ireland for the last 5 years. Remaining family-owned and operating from Lisburn and Dublin, McCulla employs 235 staff across a variety of roles, the most recent being employed to manage the company’s new Customs Clearance division.

Ashley McCulla, Chairman of McCulla, added: “Since 2017 we have been producing all of our own electricity from an anaerobic digester (AD) plant at our site in Lisburn but our ultimate goal was always to use energy produced by the AD plant to power our logistics fleet as well. Working with Lidl Northern Ireland, we’ve delivered on that ambition and we’re honoured to be part of a real first for the industry, and for Northern Ireland.

For many retailers dedicated to decarbonisation, transport and logistics can be challenging. However, with our expertise and experience and dedicated partnership with Lidl Northern Ireland, this milestone initiative will deliver major environmental benefits for years to come. Working with a likeminded and forward-thinking partner like Lidl Northern Ireland has been key in the successful delivery of this project. The circular economy nature of the partnership relies on both organisations being fully committed to integrating sustainable new business practices. After months/years of planning and preparation, we’re proud to see our new green fleet finally roll out across the region