Knowledge for better food systems

Tesco at Forum for the Future

At a speech made at an event organised by Forum for the Future in January 2007, Sir Terry Leahy, chief executive of Tesco, announced that Tesco would adopt a range of measures designed to cut carbon emmissions.
At a speech made at an event organised by Forum for the Future in January 2007, Sir Terry Leahy, chief executive of Tesco, announced that Tesco would adopt a range of measures designed to cut carbon emmissions.
  • Start looking at how to carbon label all the 70,000 products it sells.
  • In the meantime, label air freighted foods as such and reduce the proportion of products it flies in from around 2-3% to less than 1% (while further considering how best to address the economic development in the third world vs air miles issue).
  • Cut energy use in stores and distribution centres by 50% by 2020 4. Cut CO2 emissions associated with its distribution network by 50% within 5 years.
  • Convert all of Tesco's lorry fleet to run on a 50% biodiesel mix.
  • Halve the price of energy efficient lightbulbs.
  • Develop a simple 'carbon calculator' for children in partnership with the Royal Society of the Arts.
  • It would also be setting up a 'sustainable consumption institute' based at the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University, and working with others, such as the consultancy ERM, to achieve these changes. Leahy was clear that they are still considering how they are going to develop a 'universally accepted and commonly understood' measuring system for carbon since this is a notoriously difficult task, but that this was a challenge they had definitely set themselves to achieve. (NOTE given the importance of GHGs other than CO2 in the food chain, it is hoped that they are using carbon as a shorthand for greenhouse gases, otherwise the label will be very distortive especially for meat and dairy products).
 

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