A pledge to halve the price of energy-efficient light bulbs was today unveiled by Tesco as part of a £500 million initiative to fight climate change over the next five years.
Reducing the cost to customers of going green will be a central part of the supermarket giant’s environmental vision, meaning more energy-saving products will be included in Tesco’s Value range.
Other plans include labelling every product with its carbon footprint, and putting an airplane symbol on those transported by air to enable customers to track the impact of what they buy.
Chief executive Sir Terry Leahy said the UK’s biggest supermarket would lead a ‘revolution in sustainability’.
Among the proposals is the creation of a Sustainable Consumption Institute which will commission research by Oxford University.
Admitting he was an ‘unlikely campaigner’ on climate change, Sir Terry told the Forum For The Future he would help create a ‘low-carbon economy’ in which comfort, activity and growth no longer depend on carbon.
‘That is a monumental challenge. It requires a revolution in technology and a revolution in thinking.
‘We are going to have to re-think the way we live and work.’
Tesco will seek to restrict air transport to less than 1 per cent of products but also give priority to overseas trade with developing countries to help alleviate poverty.
Incentives for customers to go green will include promotions through the Green Clubcard scheme. Electrical goods that use less energy and ‘intelligent plugs’ which switch off when the appliance is not being used will be among the products involved.
Customers will be able to check Tesco’s carbon footprint online and the chain is producing a Kids Carbon Calculator with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Royal Society of Arts to teach children about the energy they use.
Sir Terry Leahy said work to reduce the carbon emissions of Tesco’s stores and supply and distribution networks would continue.
The charity Forum For The Future, which has advised Tesco on sustainability for several years, welcomed the proposals.
Its Chief Executive Peter Madden said: ‘This is big stuff. When you have a company as powerful as Tesco and a boss as influential as Sir Terry Leahy giving serious attention to climate change, the rest of business has to listen.’
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