Case Study: Tesco


Create a system to capture and record life cycle footprint data on a range of products for Britain’s largest retailer, Tesco, and in turn communicate this information to consumers.

Our Approach

Tesco is a British-based international grocery and merchandise and services chain and Britain’s largest retailer by both domestic and global sales. Employing over 440,000 people worldwide and with group sales of over US$100 billion, it is the third largest grocery retailer in the world. 

The business is based on delivering a consistently strong customer offer on every visit and every transaction by focusing on the Group's core purpose: to create value for customers to earn their lifetime loyalty.

The company recently joined the Carbon Trust’s product carbon footprinting and labeling initiative to implement supply chain carbon footprinting on products ranging from milk to light bulbs.

ERM helped Tesco develop systems to capture and record complex supply chain footprint data on materials, energy, transport, emissions and waste.

In December 2007, 11 ERM consultants then worked with nine Tesco suppliers to calculate the footprint of selected Tesco own-brand products.  The Carbon Trust certified the results against the (then draft) BSI Publicly Available Specification for the assessment life cycle GHG emissions of goods and services (PAS 2050), which in turn draws on ISO standards for life cycle assessment.

Twenty Tesco own-brand products were trialed with the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Reduction Label in stores. The Label quantifies carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gas) emmitted across the product's life cycle.

Since this pilot work, ERM has calculated carbon footprints for more than 500 Tesco own-brand products and is continuing to work with Tesco’s suppliers to generate efficiencies in data collection and calculation procedures.  The target this year is to increase the number of product footprints to over 1000. 
In addition to working with Tesco in the retail arena, ERM is on the British Standards Institute, Carbon Trust and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs group of consultees for the new PAS 2050 standard for assessing life cycle GHG emissions of products.  We are also working as part of European and global initiatives in this field.

Benefits and Value

Tesco aims to be a global leader in engaging consumers on big picture climate change issues. ERM’s assistance is making it easier for Tesco to raise consumers’ carbon literacy and help customers to reduce their carbon footprint.

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