Tesco fast tracks emissions target with solar push

A woman pushes a shopping cart as she walks past a Tesco supermarket in Hatfield, Britain

Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco will set up solar farms, fit more solar panels in its stores and roll out electric vehicles, bringing forward a target for its UK business to be net zero carbon emissions by 15 years to 2035, it said on Friday.

Supermarket groups are responding to growing consumer demands for less waste and more action on the environment.

Britons have become increasingly aware of the urgency of addressing climate change, spurred on by campaigners including veteran naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough and Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg.

Tesco TSCO.L said a new partnership with renewable energy investor, Low Carbon, will see three solar farms set up in Anglesey, Wales, and in Essex and Oxfordshire in southern England.

The farms will generate up to 130GWh of energy per year, enough to power 44,828 three-bedroom homes, and help Tesco procure more renewable energy with additional energy for the national grid.

Tesco has committed to use only renewable electricity by 2030, saving 30,308 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking 14,457 cars off the road.

Tesco said last year it would begin sourcing renewable energy from five onshore windfarms.

It is fitting thousands of solar panels across its UK store network, with 60 stores fitted out so far.

It has also put 30 electric delivery vans on the road in Greater London this month, and plans to have a fully electric home delivery fleet by 2028.

To support the wider adoption of electric vehicles across Britain, Tesco is also rolling out 2,400 charging points for customers across 600 stores.

Tesco said the initiatives bring forward its ambition to reach net zero in its UK operations to 2035 from 2050 previously.

Rivals Sainsbury’s SBRY.L and Asda WMT.N are both targeting becoming net zero by 2040 – a decade ahead of the British government’s own target.

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