In November 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed Asda Group’s website, looking for information on what the company was doing to reduce its climate change impact. Ethical Consumer was looking for the following:
1 a) For the company to show that it has a reasonable understanding of its areas of climate impact and how to ameliorate them, and appears to be taking steps to do so
Asda Group’s website included a blog post entitled “Asda's commitments to tackle climate change”, which gave details of steps the company was taking to address its climate impact including energy saving measures including installing more efficient refrigerant and lighting systems in its stores
1 b) For the company to have relevant sector-specific climate policies in place
An important climate policy for the supermarket sector is phasing out HFC refrigerants. No statement was found committing Asda Group to phasing out HFCs.
1 c) For the company to not be involved in any particularly damaging projects like tar sands, oil or aviation, to not be subject to damning secondary criticism regarding its climate actions.
Asda was found to be a retailer of petrol, and therefore was considered to be involved in a particularly damaging industry.
2) For the company to report its scope 1&2 emissions annually
A document entitled Asda’s Carbon Footprint 2018 was downloaded from the company’s website. This contained greenhouse gas emissions data for that year. The document did not define emissions categories by scope, but as it implied that it included “energy usage (mainly electricity), transportation of goods and refrigerant gas usage; the remaining is distributed over business travel, water and waste”, it was accepted as covering scopes 1 and 2 (and some which would be categorised as scope 3).
3) For the company to report scope 3 emissions, covering at least tier one suppliers (all greenhouse gases, which means reporting in CO2e, not just CO2).
Scope 3 emissions data covering supply chain emissions was not found
4) For the company to have a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in line with international agreements (counted as the equivalent of at least 2.5% cut per year in scope 1&2 emissions), and to not count offsetting towards this target.
Asda had a target to reduce scope 1 & 2 emissions by 50% by 2025 from the 2015 baseline. This equated to a cut of 5% per year on average.
Overall, Asda Group received Ethical Consumer’s Worst rating for carbon management and reporting and lost a full mark under the Climate Change category.