World Environment Day - Raise Your Voice, Not the Sea Level

Tesco Tackles Carbon Emissions to Reduce its Impact on the Environment

We know that without sustained, collaborative action that climate change will have a critical impact on our planet and the way we, and future generations, all live our lives. And since greenhouse gases drive climate change, reducing their emission is fundamentally the right thing to do for a responsible business.

Tesco store in Ramsey which was the first zero carbon store in the world

World Environment Day on 5 June provides an opportunity to focus the world’s attention on what we can all do to protect the environment. Global retailer Tesco has reiterated its commitment to reduce its impact on the environment. Climate Change Manager, Julian Lings said ‘By reducing our impact on the environment, we will not only help to ensure the long-term future of our business, but also for the millions of people we work with in our supply chain.  We have suppliers in over 70 countries around the world.  Our success and the security of our supply chain depend on the resilience of these suppliers. Through our network of local experts in sourcing countries, we are acutely aware of the challenges that our suppliers face, not least from those posed by changing climatic conditions.’

Tesco has been working to understand the carbon footprint of its business and the products it sells. This research shows that a significant proportion of its emissions occur in its own value chain. As a result, Tesco has set itself the target of reducing the carbon emissions from the products it sells by 30% by 2020. However, even large retailers cannot do this alone and Tesco are also working with their suppliers to cut emissions, often in innovative ways.

For example, Tesco use an online engagement platform, which has over 4,000 members around the world, to assist suppliers to find the best ways to reduce their carbon emissions through information, case studies, webinars and on-site visits to member organisations.

Tesco’s progress on carbon reduction, both in its own operations and in the supply chain is just one example of how it is reducing its impact on the environment.  The retailer is acutely aware of its impacts on other natural systems beyond the climate – especially through the products it sources.  These include impacts on forests, marine environments and farmlands, among others.  Tesco’s sustainable sourcing agenda looks at how it can address these impacts.  For example, it has mapped the top raw materials in the products it sells which have the biggest impacts on forests.  This has led the business to focus on palm oil, timber, soy and cattle products.  Of course, slowing down and reversing adverse impacts on forests also has positive impacts on the climate since forests play a key role in regulating the earth’s climate.

Tesco continues to work with experts around the world and is improving its understanding of its own impacts, and what it can do to address them.  It continues to strive to strengthen supplier relationships and make longer-term commitments that encourage investment and innovation on both sides. As Lings makes clear ‘We know that only by working together with our suppliers, peers and other stakeholders, we will be able to contribute to building a sustainable future for all.’

For more information on the above initiatives, please contact Julian Lings at