Materiality

The world faces a myriad of important challenges and we believe that to make a positive contribution we must prioritise and focus on the key sustainability issues relevant to Tesco and our stakeholders. For this reason, every year we ask stakeholders and colleagues about their interests, concerns and expectations to help shape our business and ensure our Little Helps Plan continues to address our material issues.

Engagement helps us better understand how our decisions impact our stakeholders. It also helps us gain an insight into their needs and concerns, while providing us the opportunity to share learnings. We are committed to listening to all stakeholder groups and do so in a variety of ways.

Customers and investors frequently approach us with questions, and we maintain an open-door contact mechanism via our: cr.enquiries@tesco.com mailbox. Beyond requests for information, we also proactively engage with stakeholders, hosting supplier days, deploying colleague and customer feedback surveys, as well as ESG events for investors, analysts, and banking partners.

The feedback we receive ensures our Little Helps Plan continues to focus on the right things and provides a strong framework from which to manage sustainability related risks, maximise opportunities and continue to make a big difference.

In 2020/21 the key sustainability issues relevant to Tesco and our stakeholders were heavily influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic which heightened the focus on certain issues, including:

Healthy, sustainable diets

COVID-19 has disproportionately affected people with underlying health conditions, highlighting more than ever the importance of a healthy lifestyle. With many families’ budgets being squeezed during the pandemic, it has never been more important for us to provide affordable, healthy food.

Climate change

While COVID-19 restricted industry and travel throughout 2020, climate models still show that global temperatures will only be around 0.01°C lower by 2030 as a result of the pandemic. The world is still on track to warm by almost three degrees by the end of the century.

Protecting nature

Nature is being lost at an alarming rate, and COVID-19 has been linked to increased exploitation of natural resources. Since 1990, the world has lost an estimated 420 million ha of forest. The pandemic has also been linked to an acceleration in global deforestation, as economies struggle and people in some parts of the world turn to logging for income.

Equality

COVID-19 has proven to be a major challenge to gender equality. Women are overrepresented in sectors like retail, care, and domestic work, where jobs cannot be done remotely. As a result, these sectors have been the worst affected by the crisis. 

Human rights

Millions of workers worldwide are reported to suffer human rights abuses. The impact of the pandemic has been unequal, entrenching existing inequalities and widening others.

Waste   

It’s estimated that around a third of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted, causing 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. With hospitality shut down by COVID-19, farmers and growers have been faced with the need to discard food grown for the sector.