KPO is breaking sales records while halving its emissions
Almost 120-year-old Cooperative KPO was the first regional cooperative ever established in Finland. Today, it is the only company that both has its headquarters in Ostrobothnia and has reached over one billion euros in sales. The company is part of the national S Group retail cooperative and has over 128,000 co-op members and 150 business units including, for example, hypermarkets, restaurants, hotels, and car dealerships.
While KPO has increased its sales by hundreds of millions of euros, it has also halved its emissions between 2019 and 2022.
“KPO’s goal is to be carbon negative by 2025. We are renewing the energy technologies of almost a hundred units. However, almost all our properties already use 100 percent renewable energy that we get from our own wind parks, solar panels, and geothermal heating systems. We were actually the first supermarket chain to fully utilise geothermal heating and LED lighting. For 30 years, KPO has also been investing in recovering excess heat from refrigeration equipment”, says CEO Kim Biskop.
KPO’s history’s biggest single investment, the new Prisma hypermarket Liisanlehto was opened in Vaasa in 2022. Out of Finland’s over 70 Prismas, Liisanlehto is the most energy-efficient.
“Liisanlehto is completely carbon neutral. There are over 3,000 solar panels on the hypermarket’s roof. Together they produce almost 20 percent of the needed electricity. The rest of the electricity comes from our wind parks. In addition, the property uses geothermal heating and LED lightning.”
What is more, after its renovation, KPO’s Original Sokos Hotel Royal Vaasa will be the most energy-efficient Sokos Hotel in the country.
“The hotel follows in the footsteps of the new Prisma. It will get most of its electricity from wind and solar power, and geothermal heating will be the main form of heating. Heat will also be recovered from wastewater by using technology that is still very new in Finland”, Biskop states.
The renovation project is the largest investment in Vaasa’s tourism infrastructure in decades.
While investing in cutting its emissions, KPO has also strived for developing an even broader service portfolio to better respond to customer needs.
“Sushi bars, bakeries, juice extractors, self-service checkouts – we have improved our customers’ shopping experience in multiple ways in recent years. We also introduced a scan and go service in our Prisma hypermarkets. Customers can scan and pack products while they are shopping, which speeds up the checkout process. The service was actually first piloted back in 1996, but I guess it was too ahead of its time”, Biskop smiles.
Together with the S Group’s other regional cooperatives, KPO has participated in developing online services as well – including the online store and mobile apps, such as S-mobile, ABC-mobile, Sokos Hotels, and S-Business.
“For example, S-mobile offers a wide range of features from calculating the carbon footprint of your shopping cart to price comparison. ABC-mobile, on the other hand, is targeted towards the customers of our ABC gas stations. The app allows customers to book a car wash, pay for fuel, and order food in advance, among other things. These digital services both help us serve our customers better and make our operations even more transparent.”
As one of the largest companies in Ostrobothnia, KPO is also a significant employer. The company is among the biggest summer employers in Finland – it has over 1,200 summer workers every year.
KPO invests heavily in employee benefits, and for ten years, the company has been in Finland’s top five when it comes to job satisfaction.
“With our skilled personnel, we continue to develop our services to meet the requirements of a carbon-free future and respond to the evolving needs of our customers.”