Published on: April 27, 2006
• As part of an overall environmental effort, Tesco has announced that it will create an environmental fund that is the equivalent of $175 million (US), part of which will be used to build what it is calling "the greenest store in the world," a UK unit that will be built completely out of recycled and recyclable materials.
Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy called the fund "a big investment, and said that it is “a very interesting and potentially very important development. Everyone is concerned about energy, about carbon, about energy security. The cost of energy has gone up for everybody and Tesco is no exception. We've had to deal with huge rises in energy costs in the last year so, of course, this has really stimulated within the business a search for alternatives.''
Leahy said that the company has pledged to reduce by half the amount of energy used in its stores by 2010, compared to that used in 2000, through the use of wind turbines and solar panels in addition to more conventional energy sources, and clear ceilings to reduce the use of artificial light in stores.
Not every one was buying into Tesco's view of the world. Sandra Bell, a spokesperson for an organization called Friends of The Earth, said: "If you look at the impact the measures will have on the global business you could call it greenwashing." She suggested that this was just an attempt by Tesco to clean up its image problems in the UK, where it has been under fire for what some view as too-rapid expansion and the victimizing of small independent retailers.
Leahy said the environmental policy was a long-term effort, not a quick public relations fix.
• The Wall Street Journal
reports this morning that Tesco has moved into the fifth position in the list of global retailers, bumping Kroger into the sixth spot.
Wal-Mart remains in the top spot, with Carrefour in second place, Home Depot in third, and Metro AG (of Germany) in fourth.
• At the same time it announced that it generated the equivalent of $1.7 billion (US) with its UK online operation, up almost 32 percent compared to a year ago, Tesco "is set to launch a huge Internet expansion," with a focus on the sale of nonfood items ranging from furniture to major appliances to electronics.
It may be a measure of Tesco's growing dominance of the UK marketplace that even as it was growing its online business, a study came out this week saying that the overall online grocery market in the UK has remained steady – or stagnant – at five percent of the total, even as the number of people using such services has increased five percent since 2003.