The Delhaize Group's Food Lion Saves $1M by Greening IT

The Delhaize Group's Food Lion Saves $1M by Greening IT

IT isn't usually a focal point for supermarket chains looking to make their operations more eco-friendly, but the Delhaize Group has made green IT a priority and its Food Lion operating company has saved more than $1 million in annual hardware and energy costs through server virtualization.

The Food Lion, which operates 1,319 stores in the U.S. for the international grocery retailer based in Belgium, realized the savings by eliminating 128 servers and creating 320 virtual servers, according to the Delhaize Group's latest corporate responsibility report. The move is also saving the company 1 million kWh a year in electricity.

Recognizing that IT is responsible for about 2 percent of the world's emissions, Delhaize set green IT as one of the company's priorities in 2007 and went to work on its four-point strategy last year. The Delhaize Group includes 2,673 groceries in the U.S., Belgium, Greece, Romania and Indonesia.

In addition server virtualization, the company's green IT campaign focuses on data center temperature, client virtualization and responsible disposal and recycling of equipment.

For example, the Hannaford chain, which also operates in the U.S., is exploring use of hot and cold aisles to achieve power savings by allowing slightly higher temperatures without compromising performance.

In the area of client virtualization, the Delhaize operating companies are piloting the transfer of computing power from desktops to data centers.

And when it comes time for equipment to be replaced, the IT departments of all the group's operating companies deal only with computer recyclers that have been certified as using safe practices, according to the CR report. Hannaford donates computer equipment that still can be used to schools and nonprofits, and Food Lion is considering the possibility of donating used PCs to computer education programs for at-risk youth.

Starting this year, Delhaize will separately measure and track its IT carbon footprint in addition to assessing the carbon footprint for the entire group. The group measured its carbon footprint for the first time in 2008, the year covered by the latest corporate responsibility report, which was released last week.

The assessment put the group's CO2e emissions at 2.7 million tonnes, or .59 tonnes per square meter of sales area, for 2008. The range of emissions per square meter of sales area for similar international retailers is .21 tonnes CO2 per square meter to .64 tonnes per square meter according to the report.

Image courtesy of The Delhaize Group.