July 30, 2012
Climate change is one of the greatest threats mankind faces. It transcends national boundaries, and threatens to affect us all in many different ways: from risks to supply chains, to the direct impact that changes in the climate will have on our customers’ lives and the operation of our stores. Retail businesses can play a powerful role in tackling climate change. We are determined not only to play our part, but to play a leading role.
On the way to our overall goal of becoming a zero-carbon business by 2050, we have set ourselves a number of targets.
We have set ambitious targets to reduce our own footprint, reduce the emissions from our supply chain, and help our customers to reduce their footprints too.
Reducing our carbon emissions is the right thing to do for a responsible business seeking sustainable profits. It conserves energy, saves money, helps deliver energy security and better resource efficiency. Plus our customers want to see us play our part.
So we have set ambitious targets to reduce our own footprint with the ultimate aim of being a zero-carbon business by 2050, without purchasing offsets. That means reducing our energy and fuel use as far as possible and using renewable sources to supply the energy we do need.
The work we have done so far has been independently recognised as world-leading. In September 2011, Tesco was named the top retailer in the Carbon Disclosure Project’s UK FTSE 350 and Global 500 reports for our carbon reporting and performance.
Our global direct carbon footprint in 2011/12 was 5.66 million tonnes of CO2e. We continued to decouple our business growth from the growth in our carbon emissions: while our net sales area grew by 9%, our carbon footprint increased by only 5%. See how we calculate our carbon footprint.
Our customers’ carbon footprint is around 100 times greater than our direct carbon footprint. There is therefore a real opportunity to tackle climate change by helping our customers to make small changes that together can make a big difference.
We’re committed to working with customers to lead a revolution in green consumption. We know that it has to be easy and affordable to make green choices. Here are some of the areas we are focusing on.
Across a number of our markets we are helping to educate the next generation about climate change.
In the UK, we give out over one billion green Clubcard points, worth over £10 million, every year to customers who reuse carrier bags, recycle aluminium cans at our automated recycling machines, recycle printer cartridges and mobile phones, choose bagless home delivery, or buy home insulation or renewable energy through Tesco Home Efficiency.
In 2011, we trialled green Clubcard points in Slovakia, offering them to customers who reused carrier bags. The trial saved over 30 million bags, and in 2012 we decided to extend the scheme, giving green Clubcard points to customers who buy reusable bags or energy saving products.
Similar green Clubcard point schemes have also been rolled out in Poland, Malaysia, Thailand, Korea and Turkey.
Tropical rainforests are being destroyed at the rate of one football pitch every four seconds. It’s an issue our customers care about and we recognise our responsibility to protect our world. Together For Trees, our partnership with the RSPB, gives UK customers the opportunity to donate their green Clubcard points and Clubcard vouchers to save rainforests all over the world. For more information, please take a look at our website.
In 2012, for the second year running, Tesco was the headline partner for Climate Week UK. This national event helps show people how they can take small actions to help combat climate change. We supported Climate Week 2012 through ‘Climate Week Cuisine’ activities, sharing low carbon recipes and tips. The event is supported and endorsed by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, former UN Director General Kofi Annan and former US Vice President Al Gore.
We have set ourselves demanding targets both to reduce carbon emissions in the products we sell by 30% by 2020, and to find ways to help customers reduce their carbon footprints by 50% by 2020. We believe that carbon labelling plays a really important role in helping us deliver these targets. We have labelled over 500 products since 2008 and our aim is to find a way to footprint and label products faster and more cost effectively. We are learning from the labelling we have already undertaken and are working with the Carbon Trust and other partners to improve our systems so that we can do even more to help our customers make greener choices.
In 2007, Tesco committed £25 million to create the Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) at the University of Manchester. The SCI is a multidisciplinary centre of global excellence, researching major national and international issues associated with sustainability and encouraging consumers to adopt more sustainable lifestyles. Among its flagship projects, the SCI is focusing on understanding and changing consumer behaviour, and identifying new technologies and innovations across the supply chain. For more information, see www.sci.manchester.ac.uk