In July 2020 Ethical Consumer searched the Tesco Plc website for an environmental report or policy. Ethical Consumer viewed the company's list of policies and downloaded its Little Helps Plan Report 2019/20.
An environmental policy was deemed necessary to report on a company's environmental performance and set targets for reducing its impacts in the future. A strong policy would include two future, quantified environmental targets, demonstration by the company that it had a reasonable understanding of its main environmental impacts, be dated within two years and have its environmental data independently verified.
Its Little Helps Plan covered four main pillars: Climate Change, Agriculture, Marine and Forests. Tesco had policies on the following environmental issues: packaging, pesticides, carbon, energy and the sourcing of beef, soy, seafood, palm oil, timber and cotton. The company also had addressed some issues around toxic chemicals in relation to its F&F clothing brand. However, as the company had received worst ratings for toxic chemicals for its own brand cosmetics/personal care and electronics it was not considered to have demonstrated a reasonable understanding of its main impacts.
Tesco had a number of targets including:
Source 65% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and 100% by 2030
Achieve zero net deforestation in our sourcing of raw materials by 2025 (This included a target for all wood, paper and timber to be FSC/PEFC certified or from recycled sources by 2020).
Halve packaging weight by 2025 (2007 baseline)
Halve food waste in our own operations by 2030 (2013/14 baseline)
The company's Annual Report had carbon and food waste data verified by KPMG, however, no mention of independant verification was found in the Little Helps Plan Report despite it providing performance data on a broad range of environmental issues. It was therefore not considered to have a fully verified environmental report.
As Tesco had a report dated within two year and had at least two adaquate environmental reduction targets, it received Ethical Consumer's middle rating for Environmental Reporting and lost half a mark in this category.
LHP Report 2019/20 (2020)