Tesco’s strategy for climate action

Date : 08 April 2021

Lucy Bellotti

Retail Analyst

Tesco has identified five areas where it believes it can make the most difference: cutting waste, reducing emissions from energy and transport, sustainable food production, net zero climate ambition and sustainable diets.

Tesco claims ‘Food production is linked to 70% of biodiversity loss on land, and globally, emissions from food waste are higher than from any country on earth, except for US and China’.

Net zero climate ambition

Tesco claims it became the first business to set an ambitious zero-carbon by 2050 target, globally in 2009. The retailer also committed to science-based climate targets on a 5-degree trajectory, following the aspiration of the Paris agreement.

Tesco has published clear targets, which uses 2015 as a baseline, including:  

  • An aim to reduce carbon emissions in its own operations; 35% by 2020, 60% by 2025, 85% by 2030, 100% by 2035 in the UK and by 100% by 2050 across the whole group
  • It plans to decrease its supply chain carbon emissions by reducing 35% of CO2 produced in its food and manufacturing sector by 2030 and agriculture sector by 15% by 2030. The retailer has partnered with WWF to reduce the environmental impact of food, including supporting suppliers that are reducing food waste in their operations

Reducing waste

Tesco is aiming to decrease packaging and food waste throughout its operations, by focusing on, Remove, Reuse, Re-use and Recycle schemes. It also partnered with Loop to enable it to be able to offer shoppers products in reusable packaging.

The group has also highlighted the importance of its commitment to reduce food waste. As part of this aim it is looking to make sure no edible food is wasted, which has seen it partner with FareShare to redistribute over 100m meals to local charities since 2012. In addition, the retailer has worked alongside its suppliers to save 200,000 tonnes of food from going to waste.

Partnering to confront climate change

Ken Murphy, Tesco’s CEO highlighted how businesses cannot tackle climate change alone and further stated, ‘In this critical decade for tackling climate change, it’s vital we challenge ourselves to be more ambitious in our aims and accelerate progress against them. At Tesco, we’re playing our part by creating a better basket for our customers and the planet’.

Focusing on sustainable diets

Tesco claims ‘meat production accounts for 14.5% of global greenhouse gases.’ The group has developed plant-based ranges, which support healthy diets for shoppers and reduces the environmental impact. The retailer has launched Wicked Kitchen and Plant Chef to support a sustainable diet and is committed to increasing sales of plant-based alternatives by 300% by 2025.

Want to know more?

Visit our sustainability page. Subscribers can also access our reports on Tesco and sustainability reports including:

IGD Tesco Business Update 2021


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