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Greener Greens Electric Vehicles

Retailers prioritise certain small green projects, while neglecting the larger impact of their core operations on the environment. Tesco's promotion of electric vehicles might create a facade of sustainability, but transport emissions are just a tiny part of their overall carbon footprint.

Tesco promotes its ‘Greener Greens’ electric delivery vehicles, using their visibility on the road to boast of lower emissions. However, initiatives like electric vans amount to little more than a greenwash gimmick if they aren’t paired by a holistic approach with a serious emission reduction plans.

Whilst these are better than vans run on diesel, they represent only a tiny saving of Tesco’s total emissions. As promoted in online advertising, these vans are predicted to save ‘82,000 tonnes of carbon per year’ by 2030–about 0.1% of the company’s annual footprint. An astonishing 95% of retailers’ emissions stem from the products they sell, with a significant portion (over a third) directly tied to their most environmentally impactful items, such as meat and dairy. Tesco, annually generates approximately 24.8 million tonnes of C02 every year from meat, dairy and seafood products it sells.

In order to meet its 2050 Net Zero pledge, requiring it to reach carbon neutrality across its whole supply chain, Tesco will need to reduce the quantity of carbon-intensive products it sells, and support emissions reductions across its supply chains. Instead of seeing a reduction in these products, Tesco’s ‘protein split’ (an indicator of its animal protein sales), remains unchanged year-on-year. 

‘Greener’ vans delivering the same polluting products misleads customers by focusing on a small aspect Tesco’s wider polluting operations and distracts from a lack of serious action.

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