How can a retailer supply its own water?

John Lewis and Partners is dipping a toe into the water industry by applying to become its own supplier at some of its stores. The retailer plans to take charge of supplying water to its in England through a self-supply licence.

Straight to the point

If the application is successful, John Lewis will become the first retailer to skip the margin charged by water suppliers and pay direct wholesale prices instead. It plans to work with Waterscan to organise the operation, which could help the retailer reduce its overall water use and meet its sustainability goals.

Opening up the competition 

An increasing number of companies are opting to self-supply rather than buy water from traditional companies after the regulator, Ofwat, opened the market to competition in 2017. Ofwat has said companies that choose to self-supply benefit from cost savings, better control of data and water efficiency savings.

Looking ahead

Water efficiency is a major focus of John Lewis’s sustainability strategy ahead of 2028, in line with targets outlined in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the UK’s 2050 emissions targets. In fact, the company has already achieved a reduction in carbon intensity by 70% and has set further targets around waste, packaging, recycling and reuse and emissions. 

This story shows how John Lewis supports Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, specifically Target 6.4: “By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.”

About John Lewis 

John Lewis & Partners is a chain of high-end department stores operating throughout the United Kingdom that is owned by the John Lewis Partnership. They started with a small store on London’s Oxford Street and now they have 50 stores that are operated by over 38,000 employees. 

Learn more about John Lewis.

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