Tesco withdraws from Carbon Trust labelling system

06th February 2012 - Fine Cut

Supermarket giant Tesco has opted out of a Carbon Trust labelling scheme just over four years after signing up for it.

Industry commentator Laura Elliot wrote on International Supermarket News that the system would have seen each product sold by the company given a carbon footprint, yet it was eventually worked out that it would involve 250 years research to complete the project.

Ms Elliot noted that the move may actually be quite smart, since the scheme feels a little out-dated for only listing the carbon footprint and not the makers' impact on land use, water or farming practices. This suggests that future custom labels may need to cover a more diverse range of topics.

Martin Chilcott, chief executive of online sustainability firm 2degrees, has been working with Asda and Tesco on their supply chains.

Commenting after the announcement, he said: "It's only four years, but the Carbon Trust process has become something of an anachronism. Tesco is not saying it doesn't want to stop carbon foot-printing, but you can't do it with 70,000 lines with the time it was taking."

According to The Grocer's environment and health expert Ian Quinn, a British Retail Consortium (BRC) report has shown that retailers are increasingly leaving initiatives such as the one run by the Carbon Trust in favour of supply-chain methods of cutting emissions.

The BRC study demonstrated that UK firms in the sector have "smashed" green targets in terms of transportation, refrigeration and construction.

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