Tesco sets a 2050 net zero target for its suppliers and products

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When it comes to climate change, Tesco knows that ‘every little helps’. The retailer has recently strengthened its ambition to tackle climate change by mandating a net zero supply chain by 2050. Making up over 90% of Tesco’s footprint, the value chain comprises emissions arising from the sourcing of raw materials and manufacturing, where emissions emanate from agriculture and energy use; in the use of sold products, including emissions from waste generated and energy used to cook/use products; and from upstream and downstream transportation (see figure below).

This will be  for a demanding feat for the PLC giant and requires significant collaboration with all its suppliers. All suppliers have received a letter this week asking for their support in the transition to a low-carbon economy. The letter states that Tesco can provide assistance with the development of science-based interim targets and long-term net-zero goals. It urges suppliers to identify their emissions hotspots, such as heating, cooling and transportation.  

Figure: Tesco PLC complete emissions footprint (2019/20 data)

This new target comes shortly after a previous commitment to reduce supply chain emissions by 35% by 2035 against a 2015 baseline. This shows a pioneering effort by Tesco, with the new ambition aligning with the UN’s aspiration to keep global warming to well below 1.5 degrees. Over the next 12 months, Tesco will set out a clear plan for achieving its new targets, including how it will decarbonise key emissions areas, such as agriculture, as well as an annual update on progress.

Tesco Chief Product Officer states:

“We’re encouraged that 100 of Tesco’s largest suppliers have already reduced manufacturing emissions by 20%, but we know we all have further to go. Which is why today I have written to all suppliers to ask for their support in the transition to a low carbon economy”