Tesco toughens emissions targets

Tesco has been forced to toughen up emissions milestones in order to meet a target of being a zero-carbon business by 2050.

The retailer has pledged to use 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and to halve emissions per square foot for both stores and distribution centres by 2020.

The new goals were necessary because at its current rate of decarbonisation it would miss its 2050 target, it said. “We're on track to emit 10% less carbon from our estate in 2020 than we did in 2006. We are very proud of this achievement… Yet, we recognise that this pace of decarbonisation does not put us on track to becoming a zero-carbon business by 2050,” it said.

Under the new targets, Tesco aims to achieve absolute reductions in carbon emissions of 35% by 2020, 60% by 2025 and 100% by 2050, based on 2015 levels. “Following the Paris climate agreement, we worked with external experts to set new, science-based targets which are aligned with the 1.5 degree trajectory,” it said.

More than 85% of its direct carbon emissions come from stores and distribution centres.

Tesco added it had already begun the move to renewables in the UK and Thailand, its two biggest markets. This includes an £8m investment into on-site solar power in Thailand last year and over £700m in energy and refrigeration efficiencies in UK distribution centres since 2007. 

By 2030 the retailer said it wants half of its electricity to be renewable through a mix of electricity purchased from the grid and on site-generation. It has also signed up to the RE100 initiative, joining companies including Ikea, ABInBev and Apple.

As well as stores and distribution centres, Tesco said it would encourage suppliers to set “credible science-based targets” and would support them in delivering reductions. It aims to reduce supplier emissions by 7% by 2020 and 35% by 2030, based on 2015 emissions.

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