When it comes to climate change, we can all contribute to making things better for us and for generations to come.
Tesco recognises that climate change is a critical global issue, which most scientists agree is caused largely by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activity, such as burning fossil fuels in our homes, vehicles and industries.
If we don’t act now, the resulting rise in global temperatures could increase the likelihood of extreme weather as well as trigger a negative impact on ecosystems, food, water and our health.
As a responsible business, Tesco is committed to reducing our own emission of greenhouse gases and to work with our suppliers and customers to help them reduce theirs.
To do this, we must gain a better understanding of how our actions impact the health of the planet. One way to understand the environmental impact of the products we sell is to calculate the carbon footprint of our products.
Over the last five years we have footprinted over 1,100 Tesco products. This has helped us to reduce our impact on the environment, and also to provide advice that could reduce your household carbon footprint and save you money on energy use.
What is a product’s carbon footprint?
A product’s carbon footprint is a measure of its total global warming impact. It is calculated by measuring the total emission of six greenhouse gases, and then converting these emissions into an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide (CO2e).
A product’s greenhouse gas emissions are assessed across its full life-cycle – or ‘cradle to grave’. This includes emissions from the extraction of raw materials, agriculture, processing, packaging, distribution, retail, use by customers, and disposal.
For example, in a typical 420g can of Tesco baked beans, the energy used to cook the beans in manufacture contributes 30g CO2e and 120g CO2e comes from the energy and raw materials used to make the can. In a pint of milk, 73% of the carbon emissions come from dairy farming – largely the result of cows burping methane and the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers.
What have we measured and why?
We have footprinted a selection of products across the store to represent the things our customers commonly buy, such as bread, milk, fruit and vegetables, and items that are known to be energy intensive, such as light bulbs.
What is Tesco doing to reduce carbon emissions?
Tesco is working to reduce carbon emissions because we believe it is the right thing to do for a responsible business seeking sustainable profits. For instance, we have invested to make significant use of railway transport across the UK instead of lorries, saving 15 million kg of CO2e each year, and we have converted the fridges in 100 stores to work on natural refrigerants (rather than fluorocarbons) so that any leakages have a much lower impact on global warming.
To find out more about our carbon reduction targets and our plans to achieve them, read our most recent Corporate Responsibility Review on the Tesco plc website.
How can you reduce your carbon footprint?
There are some simple ways you can reduce your carbon footprint at home. For example:
- If you’re baking 1 or 2 baked potatoes, cook them in a microwave
- Boil your vegetables with the saucepan lid on to save energy
- Make sure you always recycle cans, bottles, plastic packaging and containers when possible
- Compost used kitchen towel when possible
- Ensure your dishwasher is full, and lower the water temperature, before running
In the product list below you will find some further hints and tips on how to reduce your carbon impact when using our products.
You can also find more advice here:
- The Carbon Trust is an independent advisory service supporting green development.
- Love Food, Hate Waste offers hints and tips about making the most of the food you buy.
Details of individual product carbon footprints can be found here.