Tesco targets net zero emissions from its supply chain and products by 2050

Date : 24 September 2021

Wassim El Attar

Supply Chain Analyst

Tesco has pledged to becoming net zero across its value chain by 2050, including those generated by the products it sells and across its supply chains, in line with the United Nations’ objective to keep global warming below 1.5°C.

In addition to a new Group-wide net zero target of 2035 for all its own operations

Tesco has also committed to a new Group-wide net zero target of 2035 for its own operations, bringing it into line with the ambition set last year for its UK business alone.

According to Tesco, its 2050 commitment covers emissions across its entire value chain (often referred to as Scope 3 emissions), including the sourcing of raw materials and food production, where emissions are generated through agriculture and manufacturing; in the use of Tesco products, including food waste; and in people’s dietary choices, where an increase in the amount of plant-based food is required to cut emissions.

Tesco said emissions from its products and supply chain make up more than 90% of its total emissions footprint. It will also ask its suppliers for their support in the transition to a low carbon economy.

Over the next year, the retailer will build a plan for achieving its new targets, which includes the following activities:

  • Supporting all suppliers to establish a net zero ambition and set science-based targets
  • Accelerating operational decarbonisation across key emissions hotspots such as refrigeration, heating and transport
  • Trialling innovations with suppliers to reduce emissions from agriculture, including the use of low-carbon fertiliser and alternative animal feed such as insect meal
  • Cutting emissions associated with customer’s diets, including increasing the sales of plant-based products
  • Advocating for collaborative industry action and support from Government

It’s vital we take action now

Tesco Group CEO Ken Murphy commented: “In this critical year for tackling climate change, it’s right that we set out this ambitious commitment to cut emissions across our entire value chain. We don’t yet have all the answers and we’ll need support from our suppliers and wider society to meet our targets, but it’s vital we take action now.

Building on the good progress we’ve made in cutting emissions in our own operations, we’re also setting out a Group-wide net zero target of 2035. These new commitments will bring an unprecedented level of transparency to our emissions footprint and will allow us to identify and tackle those areas where urgent transformational change is needed.”

Meanwhile, Tesco Chief Product Officer, Ashwin Prasad said: “Emissions from our supply chains and the use of our products account for most of our emissions. It’s vital we continue the good work in our own operations but also drive collective action with our suppliers to achieve these new commitments.

We’re encouraged that 100 of Tesco’s largest suppliers have already reduced manufacturing emissions by 20%, but we know we all have further to go. Which is why today I have written to all Tesco suppliers to ask for their support in the transition to a low carbon economy.”

It's important to note that Tesco became in 2009 the first business globally to set the ambition to become a zero-carbon business by 2050. In addition, all its recent commitments are against a 2015 baseline.

Check our Tesco hub and waste and sustainability hub for more related content.