Tesco, the world’s fourth-largest retail chain, announced the installation of possibly the world’s largest solar roof, a $13 million, 820,400-square-foot panel, to cover the new USA distribution center in California. The solar investment is only one part of Tesco’s new determination to become a "leader in helping to create a low-carbon economy." A five-part plan unveiled last week costing nearly $1 billion includes labels to help customers discern which products most impact climate change…
Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy promised "a revolution in green consumption" and outlined the company’s investment — a cost of £500 million (nearly $1 billion):
- Putting new labels on all of its 70,000 lines that will enable shoppers to compare the carbon costs in the same way they can compare calorie count.
- Cutting emissions from its stores and distribution centers by 50% by 2020. All new Tesco stores worldwide set to open between now and 2020 will emit at least 50% less carbon than an equivalent store today.
- Reduction of transportation miles and associated carbon emissions by pledging to import by air less than 1% of products compared with the current 2-3%.
- Working with key suppliers such as Unilever to reduce Tesco’s indirect carbon footprint.
- Offering more efficient electrical products at lower prices, and promoting products that use less energy.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Marks and Spencer, another huge British retailer, said last week it will spend 200 million pounds ($392 million) going "green" over the next five years. It is pledging to ensure that all its packaging and clothing will be biodegradable or compostable, with none of its waste going to landfill sites. It will also label all products on its shelves that have air shipped from growers as well as outfit some stores to test whether food waste can provide power, with the aim to become carbon neutral by 2012.