Improving energy efficiency in our stores and distribution

Tesco has a long-term ambition to become a zero carbon retailer by 2050 and we have a number of initiatives across the group to make our stores and operations more energy efficient and reduce our impact on the environment.

One of these initiatives is our commitment to switch the refrigerant gas used in 1,200 of our UK stores to a lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) gas. The switch will lead to a 40% reduction in refrigerant emissions for the 1200 Tesco stores covered. In 2016, refrigerant emissions accounted for 15% Tesco’s direct carbon footprint. We have already converted the first 60 stores and hope to roll this out to the remaining stores in the next three years.  In June 2017, we were awarded a Green Cooling Leader award by Environmental Investigation Agency for our continued drive to move away from HFCs.

In 2016/17 we also invested in LED and fans efficiency, which we are expecting to result in a 89 gigawatt-hour reduction in consumption during 2017/18.

Energy engagement and behaviour change

The way in which colleagues operate equipment has a significant impact on store energy consumption. Behaviour change and colleague engagement initiatives play a key role in helping us reach our 2050 target. To help us understand what behaviour changes can make a difference to our energy consumption, we have launched colleague engagement programmes in several markets.

In Scotland, for example, we have run an Energy Ambassadors programme to help reduce energy usage in our stores. Joining forces with Global Action Plan in 2015, we provided environmental training and employment opportunities to 36 unemployed young people.

Throughout 2015 the ambassadors worked shoulder to shoulder with over 3,000 Tesco colleagues, having over 8,000 conversations across 120 stores in Scotland. The ambassadors gave energy efficiency support and advice and assessed behaviours.  From 70 assessed behaviours, 5 were identified as key behaviours to reduce energy use:

  • Close chiller night-blinds
  • Switch off ovens between bakes and cooks (Bakery and Deli)
  • Switch on/off the hot pie and deli stands at the correct times
  • Shutdown procedure for non 24hr stores and Night procedure for 24hr stores
  • Close back door between deliveries

This Energy Ambassador programme led to more colleagues understanding how their jobs contributes to energy use and saved up to 2% of energy across the engaged Express stores. In November 2015, the programme also won Employee Engagement and Behaviour Change initiative of the year at the edie Sustainability Leaders Awards 2015. Tesco have taken the learning’s from the Energy Ambassador Programme and are currently working with Global Action Plan on a second Energy Awareness Programme for colleagues in Retail.

Elsewhere, the Malaysia business in July 2015 launched the ‘Energy Hot House’ initiative with the Operation Director and all Store and Distribution Directors signing a pledge to support saving energy for the business. With regular communication and by implementing a system to track progress colleagues have changed their behaviour but have also identified energy savings opportunities within the stores.

Distribution efficiency - The F Plan

Around 14% of Tesco’s own operational carbon footprint comes from our distribution activities. To help us towards our ambition of becoming a zero carbon business by 2050, we have an interim distribution efficiency target:

  • 25% reduction in carbon emissions per case of goods delivered by 2020 (2011/12 baseline).

To help us achieve this, we launched the “F Plan” across the Group, a simple strategy to underpin every operational efficiency activity within Tesco Distribution. The strategy is based on four pillars:

  • Fuller cages and/or pallets – maximising the amount of goods delivered each journey
  • Fuller trailers and/or containers – maximising the amount of goods delivered each journey
  • Fewer miles – reducing the number of miles we have to drive
  • Fuel economy – increasing the distance we can drive for each litre of fuel used

The F Plan was pioneered in the UK but it is now followed throughout the Tesco Group.