Tesco's bid to bag green credentialsEnergy usage and recycled materials on the agenda

11 May 2006

Supermarket giant Tesco has unveiled a plan to boost its green credentials and its image with local communities.

The UK's biggest supermarket chain aims to cut the number of plastic bags given to customers by nearly a billion each year, and switch to bio-degradable bags, under a ten-point plan to be more eco-friendly.

The strategy was revealed just 24 hours after the Office of Fair Trading announced a probe into the GBP 95 billion UK grocery sector over fears that large supermarket chains such as Tesco are abusing their market dominance.

Recyclable store

As part of the new plan, Tesco said it will build a store made entirely from recyclable materials and will also be able to generate energy.

The Tesco in the Community strategy also includes cutting stores' energy usage and reducing deliveries to the chain's Express convenience stores, to help cut congestion. Shops will get a facelift to help them blend in better with their local setting.

The supermarket giant also plans to improve the way it consults with local communities before building new stores.

Tescopoly

A website called Tescopoly, supported by several campaign groups, monitors the store's behaviour and has criticised its impact on local shops.

Another of the 'big four' supermarket chains - Asda - is also now faced with a website dedicated to monitoring its practices.

Asdawatch looks at the supermarket's policies on issues such as employment, food sourcing and store expansion. Aimed at shoppers and run by the anti-poverty campaign group War on Want , it claims that Asda's policies are starting to mirror those of its US owner Wal-Mart.

The site says: 'Asda Wal-Mart is fast building a reputation for exploiting workers in developing countries, for damaging local communities, and for adopting ruthless anti-union policies.'

An Asda spokesman said the website was 'not a bad effort, although we reckon Tescopoly is far better. We look forward to them adding a comments section so our 12 million customers can say why they like coming back week after week.'