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Tesco pledges Paris agreement support with 100% renewable electricity target

Tesco has pledged to source all of its global electricity requirements from renewables by 2030 on its path to becoming a zero carbon company by 2050, in an effort to meet the climate change targets set at COP21.

Through investment of over £700 million in energy efficiency in its stores and distribution centres since 2007, the supermarket chain has reduced its emissions by 41% per square foot of its estate, saving £200 million in annual energy savings as a result.

However, despite being on track to deliver on its 2020 targets for emissions reduction, Tesco’s head of climate change and sustainable agriculture Kené Umeasiegbu has today said more must be done to reach the company’s more ambitious targets.

“This pace of decarbonisation does not put us on track to becoming a zero-carbon business by 2050. So today we publish tougher targets to help Tesco contribute to limiting global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees,” he said in a blog published today.

Following the Paris climate agreement in December 2015, Tesco worked with external experts to set new, science-based targets which will see absolute reductions of 35% by 2020, 60% by 2025 and 100% reductions by 2050 compared to 2015 levels.

To achieve this, the company will aim to source all of its electricity from renewable sources after signing up to the RE100 initiative. The transition is thought to have already taken place in the UK and Ireland, where Umeasiegbu says the company switched at the start of the year to renewable electricity, supported by renewable certificates.

The chain will also expand its renewable electricity mix across the Group to include over 50% from grid power purchase agreements (PPAs) and on-site generation by 2030. It says this plan balances price stability, cost-effectiveness and support for creating additional renewable capacity.

Tesco will also seek to push its sustainability practices down the supply chain by encouraging the use of credible science-based targets on a two degree trajectory. Alternatively, suppliers will be asked to achieve ‘absolute’ emissions reductions of 7% by 2020 and 35% by 2030, contributing to an overall scope 3 reduction of 17% by 2030.

Among the ideas floated to deliver these reductions is an education initiative and potential for collaborative renewable electricity buying clubs.