Tesco electric van

Tesco has unveiled a series of initiatives to tackle emissions caused by electricity production and transport as it looks to become net-zero by 2035.

The supermarket giant 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-bedroom 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 it said it will save 30,308 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking 14,457 cars off the road.

The current project follows Tesco'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 retailer also revealed it has put 30 electric delivery vans 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, it is 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 said it will have boosted the UK’s electric charging network by 14 per cent.

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

Jason Tarry, Tesco UK and ROI chief executive, 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.”