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Tesco commits to use 100% renewable electricity by 2030

Kené Umeasiegbu

Head of Climate Change and Sustainable Agriculture
Welwyn Garden City

15 May 2017

Tesco announces tougher science-based carbon reduction targets for its stores and distribution centres (DCs) to help combat climate change.

As a food retailer, our supply chain and long-term business success depend on the health of the natural environment. As citizens and members of the community, our customers and colleagues expect Tesco to play its part in caring for the planet. So today we update our goals by publishing tougher climate change targets for our stores and distribution centres (DCs).

Tesco's carbon footprint

Emissions from stores and DCs make-up over 85% of our direct carbon footprint. To meet our new targets, we commit to 100% renewable electricity by 2030.

Ten years ago, Tesco set climate change goals to:

  1. Halve emissions per square foot of our stores and DCs by 2020.
  2. Become a zero-carbon business by 2050.

We've invested over £700 million in energy and refrigeration efficiency in our stores and DCs since 2007. This has reduced emissions by 41% per square foot of our estate. We are on track to achieve our -50% target by 2020. Our efficiency improvements have also cut our electricity bill by £200 million per year. Energy efficiency is not only the responsible thing to do, it saves money too.

Our 50% 'relative' carbon reduction target translates into 10% 'absolute' reduction by 2020. This means we're on track to emit 10% less carbon from our estate in 2020 than we did in 2006. We are very proud of this achievement and will continue to invest in energy and refrigeration efficiency.

Yet, we recognise that this pace of decarbonisation does not put us on track to becoming a zero-carbon business by 2050. So today we publish tougher targets to help Tesco contribute to limiting global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.

UN Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement

Following the Paris Climate Agreement, we worked with external experts to set new, science-based targets which are aligned with a 1.5 degree trajectory and enable us to meet our zero-carbon ambition.

Our new targets are to achieve absolute reductions, based on 2015 levels, of:

  • 35% by 2020
  • 60% by 2025 and
  • 100% by 2050

To achieve these tougher targets, we aim to source 100% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Our interim milestone is to source 65% renewable electricity by 2020. This switch has already begun in our two biggest markets, UK and Thailand. From 2017, we'll switch to 100% renewable electricity in the UK and Ireland, supported by renewable certificates.

In Thailand, we invested £8 million in on-site solar generation in 2016, with plans to grow this in coming yearsWe aim to expand our renewable electricity mix across the Group to include over 50% from grid power purchase agreements (PPAs) and on-site generation by 2030. This plan balances price stability, cost-effectiveness and support for creating additional renewable capacity.

We have joined RE100, the global initiative of businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity. We will work with industry and policy makers in all our markets to stimulate the renewable electricity market.

Working with our suppliers to reduce carbon

In our supply chain, we'll encourage suppliers to set credible science-based targets on a 2-degree trajectory. Or alternatively aim to achieve 'absolute' reductions, based on 2015 levels of:

  • 7% by 2020 and
  • 35% by 2030 (15% for agricultural emissions) – contributing to an overall ‘Scope 3’ reduction of 17% by 2030.

We will support our supplier partners to deliver these reductions. We'll do this through education and collaborative renewable electricity buying clubs.

Our new science-based targets have been approved by the independent Science-Based Targets Initiative which champions science-based target setting as a powerful way of driving the transition to the low-carbon economy.

Our commitment demonstrates our support for the Paris Climate Agreement and UN’s Sustainable Development GoalsThese international agreements represent the strongest hope that we can avoid dangerous climate change and create a sustainable future.

At Tesco, we will continue to play our part to combat climate change, help secure our supply chain and ensure our business continues to thrive now and into the future.

To learn more about how Tesco is reducing its impact on the environment go to: www.tescoplc.com

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