Sir Terry Leahy, the group’s chief executive, today told a conference in London that the supermarket giant would focus on consumer behaviour as it aims to become a zero-carbon operation by 2050.
In the short term, Tesco’s key consumer-facing measure will be to introduce a new form of BOGOF deal called ‘Buy One Get One Free – Later’ in which consumers will be able to pick up the free product when they need it, rather than at the time of purchasing the first product.
For the company’s suppliers, including packaging groups, meanwhile, the key project will be to achieve a 30% reduction in the carbon impact of the products in Tesco’s supply chain by 2020.
Tesco already publishes the carbon footprints of 114 products on their labels and is aiming to work out the carbon footprints of 500 products by the end of the year.
Leahy said: “Of course, we are taking action because it is the right thing to do, because we don’t want our children and grandchildren to face the chaos of climate change.
“A low-carbon strategy is also vital if we are to minimize the risk to our business: the physical threat of climate damage to our supply chains, the resulting economic damage; and the serious effects of rushed and inefficient regulation if we fail to act in time and governments are forced to take draconian action.”
He added: “For Tesco a revolution in green consumption is a fantastic opportunity: once and for all to break the link between consumption and emissions, and in doing so to satisfy a new consumer need, and grow our business.”
Other measures announced by Tesco today include:
– using green systems and technology from Tesco businesses in developed countries in its operations in developing countries;
– working to identify and communicate clear ways in which customers can halve their personal and domestic carbon footprints by 2020;
– the creation of a Tesco Home Energy and Emissions Service that will help customers to cut emissions and bills at home through energy saving and use of renewable energy;
– extending green Clubcard points to encourage environmentally friendly purchasing;
– support for a universal accountancy standard for carbon in products and services which will, Tesco said, provide a basis for carbon co-operation between businesses and promote carbon numeracy among consumers.
Leahy was speaking at the launch of a new report from Manchester University’s Sustainable Consumption Institute entitled ‘Consumers, business and climate change’.
Other speakers included Conservative leader David Cameron, Unilever chairman Paul Polman, Coca-Cola Company chief executive Muhtar Kent, Reckitt Benckiser chief executive Bart Becht and SC Johnson chief executive Fisk Johnson.