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Tesco - Supply chain carbon management

Our work with Tesco, one of the world's largest retailers, has seen it set ambitious green targets, addressing the energy efficiency of its entire business, and engaging suppliers – reducing their own emissions as well as Tesco’s own supply chain carbon impact.

Tesco store

Tesco employs 472,000 people globally, many more people work in the firms and businesses supplying their stores, and every week they reach millions of customers around the world. When Tesco does something, the world takes notice. 'Doing more, to emit less' sums up Tesco's approach to climate change, and the results are starting to have a radical ripple effect, encouraging green growth locally, nationally, and even at a global level.

The company believes that retail businesses can play a powerful role in tackling climate change, and in doing so generate new opportunities, jobs and businesses. It is determined to play its part, so has set itself ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions in every major area of its activities - from the supply chains of its products and services to the impact of its buildings and deliveries. 

We are committed to using our scale for good and this initiative is just one way we can do that, helping our suppliers make energy savings. The Knowledge Hub is already established as a great forum for our suppliers to share what they’ve done to reduce their impact on the environment and help others to do the same through online discussions and site visits. Our suppliers have told us that cost and lack of knowledge can be the biggest barriers to making investment in energy savings. The Buying Club will address these concerns and support them in reducing their carbon footprint in a really practical way.

Chloe Meacher, Tesco Climate Change Manager

Playing a leadership role

Tesco are now playing a leadership role in bringing the problem of climate change to the attention of its suppliers, customers and competitors around the world, setting ambitious targets, and developing new collaborations to help cut carbon through its supply chain.

Tesco's targets address the three ways in which it has an impact on carbon emissions: First, the emissions produced directly by heating, cooling and lighting stores and moving goods to them; Second, the emissions produced by suppliers as they grow and manufacture the goods customers want; Third, emissions produced by customers as they consume the products they buy. 

Tesco's targets are:

  • To halve the emissions per square foot from stores and distribution centres by 2020 compared to 2006
  • To reduce distribution emissions per case of goods delivered by 25% by 2020 compared to 2011
  • To reduce the emissions of the products in their supply chain by 30% by 2020 compared to 2008
  • To help customers to find ways to halve their carbon footprint by 2020

Tesco know reductions here will only be achieved through genuine, open source collaboration, and are ready to play their part in this and encourage their suppliers to do the same.

Helping suppliers unlock energy efficiency savings

The Carbon Trust has worked with Tesco and 2degrees to develop a collaborative Buying Club for Tesco’s suppliers, to help suppliers to invest in energy efficient lighting equipment and installations, providing access to substantial discounts and advice.

The Buying Club has been made available to the 700 plus businesses that are members of the Tesco Knowledge Hub – a global online community for Tesco suppliers which encourages them to share information, experiences and best practice in carbon reduction.

The scheme takes advantage of the collective purchasing power of the suppliers in the Knowledge Hub to negotiate discounts on energy efficient lighting equipment. This can deliver savings of up to 25 per cent on the cost of equipment, and potential savings of up to 80 per cent on energy bills.  Members of the Buying Club also benefit from the Carbon Trust’s expert advice and guidance on the equipment they need and the energy savings they could make.

Following a competitive tendering process Eaton Cooper Lighting and Safety was selected as the provider of LED and low-energy fluorescent lights, with Briggs & Forrester Special Projects as the installer.

Collaboration on energy saving measures

A successful pilot with four of Tesco’s suppliers was run from February to September 2013, looking at the lighting of a total area of approximately 570,000 square feet. The results of the pilot showed that it had helped cut lighting costs by up to 80 per cent in some cases. One of the suppliers involved, Typhoo, was able to save nearly 900 tonnes of carbon emissions from just a single factory site.

Feedback from those who took part showed that power of collaboration can remove barriers and concerns to investing in energy saving measures - such as confusion over the huge range of low energy lighting providers, and quality and price.

Tesco are now exploring how this concept could be extended to other areas and cover a wider range of energy saving equipment.

Read more on the Tesco website.

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