Tesco takes action to hit net zero in UK by 2035

To help bring forward its ambition to become net zero in the UK by 2035, 15 years earlier than planned, Tesco is taking new action to help tackle the two biggest sources of emissions in the UK – electricity production and transport.

Tesco is launching a new partnership with renewable energy investor, Low Carbon, that will see the creation of three new solar farms in the UK.

The solar farms in Essex, Anglesey and Oxfordshire will generate up to 130GWh of energy per year, enough to power 44,828 three-bed homes, and help Tesco procure more renewable energy with additionality for the grid. The work is part of the retailer’s commitment to use 100 per cent renewable electricity across the Tesco Group by 2030 and will save 30,308 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking 14,457 cars off the road.

The current project follows the supermarket’s announcement last year that it would begin sourcing renewable energy from five onshore windfarms. This is in addition to fitting thousands of solar panels across its UK store network, with 60 stores fitted out already.

The announcement coincides with the news that Tesco has put 30 electric delivery vans (pictured) on the road in Greater London this month, with plans to have a fully electric home delivery fleet by 2028.

To support the wider adoption of electric vehicles across the nation, Tesco is also rolling out 2,400 charging points for customers across 600 stores, with 400 stores due to be fitted with the chargers by the end of 2020. By the time the programme has concluded, Tesco will have boosted the UK’s electric charging network by 14%.

The new initiatives, targeting the biggest sources of UK emissions, will put the business on course for net zero in its UK operations 15 years ahead of the UK government’s deadlines. Tesco is also working collaboratively with suppliers to support them to report on and make their own carbon reduction commitments, in line with the Paris Agreement goals. It has set a deadline to reduce supply chain carbon emissions by 35% across food and manufacturing by 2030, and 15% for agriculture.

Jason Tarry, Tesco UK and ROI CEO, said, “In 12 months’ time, the UK will host the most critical climate change summit of the decade, known as COP26. At Tesco we want to play our part. That’s why we’ve brought forward our ambition to reach net zero in our UK operations by 15 years and made a series of new commitments to help us achieve that target, including reaching a new milestone today in our journey to using 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.”

Tanya Steele, CEO of WWF UK, with whom Tesco has partnered in its ambition to halve the environmental impact of the average shopping basket, said, “It’s great news to see Tesco, as one of Britain’s flagship businesses, not only bringing forward the date of its longer-term commitment to net zero, but also pushing ahead with real action in the here and now to confront the climate emergency. Renewable energy and electric vehicles are essential ingredients for the economic recovery we want to see in the UK.”

Roy Bedlow, Chief Executive and Founder of Low Carbon, said, “We are delighted to support Tesco in its journey towards sourcing 100% of energy from renewable sources by 2030. Renewable energy generation at scale is central to Low Carbon’s business model and is a critical element in the fight against climate change. Partnering with forward thinking companies like Tesco will help speed the adoption of renewable energy at scale on the path to achieving a truly low-carbon economy.”