Tesco in carbon footprint u-turn

Tesco is said to be dropping the Carbon Trust carbon reduction logo from its packaging, as the British Retail Consortium (BRC) prepares to update on the retail sector’s sustainability progress.


The supermarket started including the carbon reduction logo on its packaging in 2006, but has since decided that it can not justify the expense to calculate it.

Tesco is also said to be disappointed that other supermarkets did not follow and include the carbon reduction calculations for products on packaging.

A Tesco spokesperson says the supermarket remains committed to carbon foot printing and “and effectively communicating” it to customers but says that it is reviewing a range of options.

She adds: “We know our customers care about product sustainability but there is a real challenge to effectively explain this often complex message in a meaningful way”.

The move is a blow for the Carbon Trust, which aims to help companies boost the business returns of cutting carbon emissions.

PepsiCo, which also includes carbon labelling on its Walkers crisps, remains committed to the initiative despite “not seeing the take up we would have liked”.

Martyn Seal, European director for sustainability at PepsiCo, says that measuring its carbon impacts have helped shape PepsiCo’s sustainability strategy and communicate its efforts to consumers.

Last summer The Carbon Trust claimed that half (47%) of consumers would shun brands that did not label their carbon footprint. The figure from a survey in March 2011 claimed that the number of consumers who said they would avoid brands that did not measure or reduce their carbon footprint had doubled since the previous year.

The organisation also claimed that 21% of consumers would pay more for brands that use carbon labelling.

Last year, the Woodland Trust launched its own carbon accreditation scheme to help brands communicate their efforts to reduce carbon through a UK based initiative.

Waitrose was one of the first supermarkets to use the scheme to plant trees each time customers use its on-line grocery delivery service.

Tomorrow, (31 January) the BRC will publish its third annual report on the retail sector’s progress against the original sustainability commitments set in 2008.

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