Tesco – Reducing Energy Use


Tesco plc is a British-based international grocery and general merchandising retail chain. It is the largest British retailer by both global sales and domestic market share with profits exceeding £2 billion.

In 2008, the company overtook German retail giant Metro AG to become the world’s third largest retailer, the first movement among the top five since 2003.

Originally specialising in food, it has diversified into areas such as clothing, consumer electronics, consumer financial services, retailing and renting DVDs, CDs, music downloads, Internet service, consumer telecoms, consumer health insurance, consumer dental plans and software.

We are doing more to use less energy.

If we’re serious about cutting our carbon footprint (and we are) we have to cut our energy use. So we’ve made an important commitment: by 2010 we want our stores to use 50% less energy than they did in 2000.

We’re also spending £100 million to develop renewable energy and other green technology for our stores and our deliveries.

We aim to halve energy use by 2010 – and we’re nearly there!

By 2010 we aim that our stores will use 50% less energy than they did in 2000. The great news is we’re on track to do this by 2008 – two years early! Most of our stores are now using energy efficient technologies that include timers on lights and energy efficient bakery ovens. All our staff now receive training in saving energy from the Carbon Trust, and we have an energy saving champion in each store too.

New greener stores

All new Tesco stores built between 2006 and 2020 will have on average at least 50% fewer emissions than a typical store built in 2006.

‘Probably the greenest supermarket in the UK’ The Grocer

Our new 50,000 square foot store at Wick near John O’Groats is purpose built to have a carbon footprint 50% smaller than stores of a similar size. You can’t miss it – it has 5 wind turbines on the roof! The store is also pioneering the use of other green technologies such as water cooled refrigeration units with energy-saving LED lighting, 50% more efficient bakery ovens that save enough electricity to power one million light bulbs an hour and roof top rainwater collection for use in toilets and car washes that saves an estimated 1 million litres a year. And those five wind turbines, together with photovoltaic roof cells, generate enough electricity to power the tills and reduce overall energy consumption by 10%.

Our new Shrewsbury store, opened in April 2007 has cut emissions by 60% compared to a standard store of comparable size and has a fleet of zero emission battery powered delivery vans capable of saving 100 tonnes of CO2 a year on top of the 6,000 car journeys each van saves every year. We’ve also opened energy efficient stores in Swansea and Diss, Norfolk.

And we’re not just going green in the UK! Our Rama 1 store in Thailand has solar panelling over the whole roof, while our environmental store in Turkey will have an earth and glass roof and use geothermal power.

These new greener stores are great places to test green technologies like renewable energy. That way we can find out which ones work so we can use them in all of our stores. With a bit of luck and a lot of work, every store can be a green store.

Cutting C02 on store deliveries

In 2006 we cut our C02 emissions by 10% on each case of goods delivered to our stores. We want to cut this by 50% over the next five years. How? Well our lorries and vans hardly ever travel empty, and we’re using more and more double decker trailers which carry more products per journey. We’re also taking more lorries off the road and delivering by rail. We’ve also recently started to use canals to deliver goods.

The Tesco Express train – On track to cut emissions

The Tesco Express is our very own train and carries stock between our distribution centres in Daventry and Livingston. One train journey by the Tesco Express can carry the same as 28 lorries, saving over 14,560 lorry journeys every year. That’s over 5 million fewer lorry miles and 180,000 freight tonnes off the road each year.

Zero emission home deliveries

In April 2007 began making deliveries using battery-powered vans. Each van will save 21 tonnes of CO2 a year, the same as driving 51,000 miles in a car.

Turning water into wine deliveries

When we talk about making moves to go take better care of our environment, we really mean it. That’s why we’re the first major UK retailer to turn back the clock and move some of our freight onto the UK’s extensive canal system, helping to clear up traffic congestion at the same time.

In October 2007 we started to use barges to transport wine from Liverpool to Manchester, along the famous Manchester Ship Canal, slashing carbon emissions by around 80%. But that’s not all; this solution takes 50 lorries off the roads every week, which results in a phenomenal 1.1 million decrease in heavy lorry journeys in the UK. It’s all part of our aim to halve the amount of emissions for every case of goods delivered in our name by 2012.

We estimate around 600,000 litres of our New World wine will make the 40 mile journey down the historic waterway every single week. Coming from as far away as Australia, California, Chile and Argentina, the containers would normally have been unloaded in Southern Ports before being driven by lorry to Manchester for further distribution.

Taking a load off

And it’s not just about making the most of our underused canals either. By looking at the bigger picture, we’re reducing the environmental impact of a nice drop of plonk in other ways too. The wine we’re importing is delivered in bulk, before we bottle it less than a mile away from where it’s unloaded. So as well as keeping jobs Britain, we’re also reducing the amount of packaging (in the form of glass bottles) we’re transporting. To give you an idea of the kind of difference this makes, one 20ft wine container on a barge contains enough wine to fill 32,000 75cl bottles of wine. If we were transporting the wine already bottled, they would need nearly two and a half as much space. This means by moving containers full of wine instead of bottles of wine we’re saving 1,800 container journeys every year. And it also means over 20,000 tonnes of glass not being imported from wine producing countries every year, and all the emissions that that would cause.

Francis Power of Sea and Water (a group that campaigns for improved use of our water network for freight) said, “Tesco are to be commended for their vision, leadership, and commitment to reducing the environmental impact of modern consumer expectations.” And like all bold moves, it comes from co-operation. The new system was brought about through the partnership of Tesco and Kingsland Wines and Spirits, and the cooperation of Peel Ports and the Port of Liverpool.

So the next time you’re raising a glass of New World wine from Tesco, you can enjoy it all the more knowing that together we’re doing everything we can to keep emissions down.

£100 million for new green technology

We’ve set up a £100 million Sustainable Technology Fund to find more practical ways to use renewable energy like solar and wind power, and to help develop the green technologies of the future. For example we’re investing in a technology that could turn food waste into power. We’re working with the Carbon Trust and Brunel University to develop trigeneration combined heat and power technology (which captures and reuses heat) for our stores and distribution centres that could save over 10,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.

Our carbon footprint

In January 2007 we said we would measure and publish our carbon footprint as part of our commitment to tackling climate change. So here it is, as promised. The direct carbon footprint for the Tesco Group during the financial year to February 2007 was 4.13m tonnes of carbon, or 0.3% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Our footprint measurement includes energy use in all Tesco stores, distribution centres and offices, plus emissions from Tesco delivery vans, distribution vehicles, business travel and the HFC gases used in our freezers and refrigeration units. It was measured to guidelines set out by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Steps to a smaller footprint

Even before we measured our footprint, we promised to halve the amount of energy we use in our stores by 2010. We’re building more environmentally friendly stores, working to cut C02 emissions on each delivery and trialling natural refrigerants at three of our stores with the aim of finding an alternative to HFC refrigerants. Plus we’re investing over £100 million to develop the green technologies of the future.

So far our carbon intensity has fallen during 2006/2007. Our footprint in tonnes of CO2 has not gone up though our sales have increased and we have opened more stores. You can find out more at

We’re in this together to help you make a difference

We’re very pleased to be part of ‘Together’. We’ve teamed up with lots of household names like British Gas and O2, and we’re all working together to make it easier for you to be a little greener, starting right now!

What is Tesco doing?

Installing energy saving light bulbs is one of the easiest things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and save money at the same time. As part of Together we have halved the cost of our energy saving light bulbs. We’re also offering you a bigger choice and making sure they’re available in all of our stores.

Lightening the cost of going green

Energy saving light bulbs use up to 80% less energy than a standard bulb and each one saves you around £9 on your electricity bill. If you fit ten bulbs, that’s £90 every year. And if every household in the UK fitted just three, we’d save enough electricity to power all the street lights in the country. We’re aiming to get 10 million energy saving bulbs into UK homes by 2008.

Join in

Changing to energy saving light bulbs is a great first step to reducing your carbon footprint. To find lots of other things you can do today, join in at

What are the other brands doing?

  • B&Q is making it easier and more affordable to insulate your home with lower prices and free advice.
  • Barclaycard Breathe is a new credit card that rewards you when you make green purchases. Also, 50% of all profits from the card go to projects that help to tackle climate change.
  • British Gas now offer the greenest electricity in the country and offer free home energy surveys that could help you save ½ a tonne of C02 a year.
  • M&S is encouraging you to wash your clothes at 30°C and have relabelled their clothing range to remind you.
  • O2 has launched new SIM only tariffs to encourage you to not to take a new handset if you don’t have to. They’re also encouraging their customers to not upgrade their handset when renewing their contract.
  • More Than offers eco insurance policies with a 30% discount for eco friendlier cars.
  • Sky is making it easier for you to save energy as new Sky+ and Sky HD boxes now automatically switch to standby when they are not being used.

It’s easier to deal with climate change if we do it together

Making Tesco Direct greener

In order to make our Tesco Direct catalogue operations greener, the 12,000 tonnes of paper required for the catalogue production was transported from the paper mill in Italy to our two European print sites by train. By using rail transportation instead of road we saved in excess of 500 tonnes of CO2 emissions. All our paper is sourced from sustainable managed forests.

Visit Tesco’s Official Website.