Tesco wins top award for cutting carbon emissions

1 May 2014

Tesco has won a top award for its outstanding contribution to environmental performance.

Tesco has won a top award for its outstanding contribution to environmental performance.

The award recognises Tesco’s successful efforts to cut carbon emissions across its freight transport operations. Tesco has cut transport emissions per case delivered by as much as 14% in the UK in the last two years, on top of a 50% reduction achieved between 2006 and 2012.

Steve Strachota, Distribution Director for the UK and Ireland, said:

“It is fantastic to have been recognised by industry for the hard work we have done to reduce our impact on the environment.

“We’ve made more use of sea and rail travel, and made sure delivery lorries are as full as possible before they set off. And we have introduced cutting-edge technology, like aerodynamic trailers and dual-fuel vehicles. It’s not only good for the environment - it makes our business more efficient too.

“At Tesco we will continue to lead the way with our climate change strategy, moving forward with our ambition of becoming a zero-carbon business by 2050.”

These reductions have been achieved thanks to reducing journeys made by road as well as Tesco’s ‘F plan’. Delivery lorries are now fuller, they drive for fewer miles and fuel economy has improved.  In 2013 alone, Tesco cut over 8 million miles from the UK roads by following the plan.

Myles McCarthy, Director of Implementation at the Carbon Trust, said:

“Tesco was one of the first major UK businesses to set ambitious targets for taking action on climate change and carbon emissions, looking not only at its own footprint, but those of its customers and supply chain. The achievements recognised by this award demonstrate how that commitment is now resulting in real environmental successes.

“Freight transport is one of the largest contributors to the UK’s direct greenhouse gas emissions, so it is great to see Tesco using its scale for good by setting an example on how environmental impact can be reduced at the same time as making their business more efficient."

New distribution centres are positioned in Dagenham and Reading so lorries don’t have to drive as far, and we are trialling new vehicle technology including dual-fuel lorries that can run on both diesel and biogas and more aerodynamic trailers.

The use of trains and ships instead of lorries is being expanded by Tesco right across Europe. All the containers arriving on ships from the Far East into the deep sea port of Bremen now travel by rail to Tesco’s distribution centre in Slovakia rather than road. And Tesco is using more sea routes – like Gdynia in Poland to Teesport in North Yorkshire, a move which has reduced road miles by over 80%.

Tesco is also working together with its suppliers to reduce emissions across the whole supply chain. In the UK, Tesco operates five trains that pick up and deliver goods from suppliers including Highland Spring, Coca-Cola and Red Bull.

The award is for “Outstanding Contribution to Sustainability and Environmental Performance” and it was presented at the 2014 Multimodal conference - the UK and Ireland's leading freight transport and logistics exhibition.

Case study #1 – Making more use of trains

In the UK, Tesco has five trains running at least six days a week carrying goods all over the country, and over 50% of the goods moved from its rail-enabled National Grocery Distribution Centre at Daventry are transported by rail.

Tesco’s first European project started in 2012 with containers of goods it receives from the Far East, which arrive in Europe at the deep sea port of Bremen in Germany. After trialling the service with a few containers, Tesco now transports all these goods by rail instead of road to its Slovakian distribution centre, for onwards distribution around markets in across Central Europe, removing over 4 million road miles each year.

Case study #2 – Making more use of the sea

Tesco is exploring how it can use not only rail, but also short-sea shipping, to transport goods both around its European operations but also to the UK.

Instead of transporting general merchandise from Poland to its distribution centre in Middlesbrough by road, Tesco now uses a short-sea route from Gdynia in Poland direct to Teesport, right next to the Middlesbrough distribution centre. In addition to reducing road travel by over 80%, Tesco estimates that it also saves over EUR 300k per year.

Case study #3 – Shifting goods in Turkey

Another example of long distances travelled with minimised emissions is the journey that products from Turkey take to the UK. First, they are transported by boat from Istanbul to Trieste in Italy. From Trieste, the containers travel by rail to Cologne in Germany before being transported by road for the final leg to Daventry in the UK. In future, Tesco aims to extend the rail leg further by using the channel tunnel to deliver all the way to Daventry by rail. Turkish products for Tesco’s central European businesses also travel by rail to its Slovakian distribution centre which serves our central European markets.

Steve Strachota continued: “Our shift to rail and short-sea to bring goods from Europe to the UK not only reduces our impact on the environment but also gives us a more reliable service at no extra cost.”

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