Tesco to go 100% renewable

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 15th May 2017

Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer by sales and one of the largest owners of retail space in the world has committed to using 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and confirmed its ambition to be a low-carbon business.

The decision, announced via the multinational’s website and coming a week after Elon Musk launched Tesla’s solar roofs, includes a set of ‘tough targets’ as part of a commitment to help limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees, as set by the Paris Agreement.

For its UK and Ireland stores, the move accounts for almost 1% of the UK’s total electricity consumption (2.8 Terawatts).

Tesco Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tesco, offers current accounts, loans, credit cards, savings and insurance products.

ShareAction, the campaign group, welcomed the move and hoped that other supermarkets would follow suit.

Clare Richards, campaigns manager at ShareAction, said: “There is a clear business case for phasing out reliance on fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable electricity. In setting its own timeline to source 100% renewable electricity by 2030, Tesco is sending an important message that it sees its future business stability and profitability in driving down emissions at pace.”

In June 2016, an investor coalition that today includes nearly forty institutions representing over $1 trillion AUM wrote to Tesco’s CEO to highlight the benefits of joining the RE100 initiative. ShareAction followed up by raising the issue at the retailer’s Annual General Meeting, which prompted further engagement in support of the RE100 initiative.

Julie Fox Gorte, senior vice president for sustainable investing at Pax World, a sustainable investment consultant and member of the investor coalition says: “Pax World commends Tesco’s commitment, and thanks ShareAction for leading this critically important work. Especially in these times of uncertain policy leadership from some governments, private sector action to lead efforts to avoid catastrophic climate change is needed and welcome.”

Kené Umeasiegbu, head of climate change and sustainable agriculture at Tesco, said: “This plan balances price stability, cost-effectiveness and support for creating additional renewable capacity. Investor support and ShareAction’s work, including direct engagement with our leadership, helped amplify strategic conversations and accelerate this journey.”

Emanuele Fanelli, Responsible Investment Manager, Aegon Asset Management, said: “Aegon, as a member of the investor coalition, welcomes the signal that Tesco is sending to the rest of the market in setting ambitious science-based targets. To adequately address climate risk, reductions must occur across the food and retail sectors.

“We look forward to seeing other companies throughout the supply chain respond to this lead and commit to their own low-carbon transitions.”

The RE100 initiative – coordinated by the Climate Group in partnership with CDP – aims to amplify corporate demand for renewable electricity in order to encourage investment and legislation that supports the development of renewables infrastructure.

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