Tesco’s Big Green Plans Labeled a Failure
Back in January 2007, the then CEO of Tesco, Sir Terry Leahy, pledged to develop a program that would place carbon labels on the more than 50,000 products the retailer sold.
In May 2008, Tesco said it was finally getting underway with its carbon labeling program. It would start by labeling 20 store brand items covering four categories (detergents, orange juice, potatoes and light bulbs).
Now comes word from the company that it has decided to end the program saying it was too complicated and costly.
According to a report by The Grocer, Tesco found that it took several months to determine the carbon footprint of a single product. The retailer also thought it would be joined by other retailers pursuing a greener path and that never happened.
"We expected that other retailers would move quickly to do it as well, giving it critical mass, but that hasn’t happened," Helen Fleming, Tesco’s climate change director, told The Grocer.
David Metcalfe, chief executive of Verdantix, told the Financial Times, "I wouldn’t criticize Tesco for stopping this because no retailer anywhere in the world has found this a successful way of engaging consumers."
Tesco said it remains committed to the “ambitious and stretching” goal of reducing its carbon footprint to zero emissions by 2020, according to the Financial Times.
- ‘Frustrated’ Tesco ditches eco-labels – The Grocer
- Tesco Measures Its Carbon Footprint – RetailWire
- Tesco drops carbon-label pledge – The Guardian
- Tesco steps back on carbon footprint labeling – Financial Times
Discussion Questions: Will the end of Tesco’s carbon labeling program damage its credibility on sustainability issues? Is there a future in carbon labeling for the retail industry? What do you think Tesco should do next?