Britain's biggest retailer Tesco has promised net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
That’s across its operations - together with those generated by the products it sells and its supply chains...
which makes up more than 90% of its total emissions footprint.
Tesco’s CEO Ken Murphy told Reuters that to help achieve the 2050 goal, the company plans to expand its use of a train service to bring goods from Spain into Britain.
''So we're one of the few, if not the only grocery retailer in the UK that uses rail extensively. And not only has that helped us during the HGV challenges that we've had during the summer, but over the last number of years, we now ship about $65,000 a year by rail. And the ambition is by November, December, time to increase that to 90,000 containers a year. And just to put it into context, by shipping 65,000 by rail, we save about twenty two million road miles a year.’'
The plan would help protect deliveries should another truck driver shortage hit Britain again in the future.
The company also said it would encourage its suppliers to use low-carbon fertilizer and alternative animal feed such as insect meal…
and speed up its efforts to tackle emissions from refrigeration and heating too.
''There's no doubting that the last three months in particular have been quite challenging from a supply chain perspective. I'm really pleased to say, though, that Tesco coped really well in a crisis. And despite the various challenges, we've been doing a fantastic job of getting food on the shelves and managing availability really well and also managing food waste really, really well. So there's no doubt it adds an element of challenge. But we're coping really, really well as a business.''
Tesco's plan failed to impress environmental campaigner Greenpeace UK.
Head of forests and food, Anna Jones, accused the company of greenwashing, and called the announcement ''hot air’’ and an ''attempt to buy time.’’
Tesco's announcement comes as supermarket groups find themselves under growing consumer pressure
to produce less waste, less plastic, and take more action on the environment.
Just days after Tesco's news, Marks & Spencer revealed an even more ambitious plan - to become fully net zero in carbon emissions by 2040.