Armed Forces to get a better deal from UK's biggest retailer

28 Oct 2014

Tesco has become the first supermarket to sign the Ministry of Defence’s Armed Forces Corporate Covenant.

Tesco has become the first supermarket to sign the Ministry of Defence’s Armed Forces Corporate Covenant.

Tesco has a proud record of supporting the Armed Forces dating right back to the retailer’s founder Jack Cohen, and signing the Covenant means Tesco has made a public commitment to do more to support serving personnel, veterans and reservists.

Tesco is one of the biggest employers of reservists and former service personnel, and the retailer has today pledged to:

  • Seek out veterans who have left the armed forces for employment with Tesco;
  • Support spouses and partners of serving personnel to get jobs at Tesco stores in areas with large armed forces communities;
  • Promote service with the Reserve Forces to Tesco colleagues;
  • Give extra special consideration to holiday requests from spouses before, during and after their partner’s deployment;
  • Continue to stock products like Eggs for Soldiers, exclusive Marston’s beer designed by ex-soldiers and exclusive childrenswear by Scotty’s Little Soldiers, proceeds from which go to Forces charities; and
  • Help customers raise more money than ever for this year’s Poppy Appeal, and smash previous records by raising £4.5 million in 2014.

To help boost donations for this year’s Poppy Appeal a special Tesco delivery truck will drive across London emblazoned with details about how to donate, and Tesco will donate £10 to the Royal British Legion for every picture of the truck that is uploaded by members of the public on social media. Over 7000 Tesco delivery vans will also sport specially-designed poppies, and signs on fourteen large Tesco stores in garrison towns will have the ‘o’ decorated with a poppy throughout the Appeal.

Tesco is already one of the biggest employers of both serving and former servicemen and women, with thousands of veterans on the supermarket’s books. The retailer is also one of the biggest employers of reservists and has a record as a forces-friendly organisation – Tesco founder Jack Cohen set up his first market stall with his demob money after coming home from active service during the First World War.

Since 2005, Tesco has also raised nearly £30 million for Armed Forces charities.

Robin Terrell, UK Managing Director for Tesco said:

“We have a long association with the Armed Forces dating right back to our founder, Jack Cohen. Our servicemen and women make sacrifices every single day, and as the UK’s biggest retailer we want to do everything we can to help them out.

“We have huge numbers of serving and former service personnel working for us, and they bring an enormous number of benefits to our business. We are honoured to be the first supermarket to sign the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant, and we will always look to do more for our heroes who regularly put their lives on the line to defend our country.”

Speaking at the signing of the Corporate Covenant, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

“It is great to see one of the UK’s major employers recognise the immense benefits that Reservists and former Service personnel can bring to the private sector and I am delighted that they will be our first supermarket that has signed up to the Corporate Covenant. Tesco now join over 300 companies that have committed to strengthening their support for our Armed Forces communities, bringing about real change for those that have bravely served their country and their families.”

Bryn Parry, Co-Founder and CEO, Help for Heroes said:

“When Help for Heroes was started we asked the public to ‘do their bit’ for the wounded. Tesco, its customers and staff stepped up to the plate and supported Help for Heroes through a number of campaigns including collection weekends, sales of endorsed products and numerous other fundraising activities. Its ongoing support is making a real difference to Serving and Veteran members of the Armed Forces who have suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses.”

Nikki Scott, founder of children's charity Scotty's Little Soldiers, said:

"We're delighted that Tesco has signed the Corporate Covenant today and will be helping the Armed Forces in every community where they operate. Our work as a charity to support the children of our fallen servicemen and women has been generously supported by Tesco's and this latest initiative will ensure that Armed Forces personnel and their families will receive much needed support, help and assistance in the communities where they work and live; something that as a charity we work tirelessly to do."

Nick Donovan from the Royal British Legion said:

“We are grateful to Tesco for their continued support of the Poppy Appeal by allowing poppy collectors into their stores to fundraise, and their recruiting process of encouraging ex-service men and women into the business. With the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the rebasing of troops from Germany and the increased numbers of Reservists expected in society, support from companies like Tesco is vital and we are pleased to see they are signing the Corporate Covenant - a voluntary commitment to support the Armed Forces in every community where they operate.”

The Armed Forces Covenant was launched by the Prime Minister last year, to encourage businesses and charities to do more to show their support for Armed Forces personnel.

It is a voluntary pledge of support for the armed forces community and includes two key principles – that no member of the armed forces community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen, and that in some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate, especially for the injured or bereaved.

Notes to editors

  • This pledge follows on from action Tesco took on 4 August to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War, in which we turned the lights off on the Tesco logos in big stores across the UK
  • 2014 marks the 100 anniversary of the start of the First World War, in which Tesco founder Jack Cohen saw active service.
  • Tesco has also committed to supporting Armed Forces Day and Wear Your Uniform to Work Day as part of the covenant.

For more information please contact the Tesco Press Office on
01992 644645

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