Tesco boss calls to cut red tape on green investment

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Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy has called on governments around the world to work with private companies to ensure innovation in low-carbon growth is not hindered by red tape.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Sir Terry said governments needed to create the regulatory environment to allow private companies to lead the way in bringing about sustainable economic growth, working to make green choices cheaper, simpler and more attractive to consumers.

“Regulation has its place in setting the right framework for action on climate change, for example through an effective carbon price. But I believe in the power of the market and in people’s creativity to tackle major challenges. Governments can help create the right framework, but they cannot match the energy and innovation of the market.”

Announcing the opening of two zero-carbon stores in Thailand and the Czech Republic, Sir Terry told representatives of government and industry, it was private companies like Tesco that will lead the way to greener economies.

“As economies develop, we need to do our best to make their growth as green as possible. We opened the first zero-carbon store in the UK last year and we’re now applying the lessons we’ve learned across the world. We’re sharing our experience with suppliers and working with them to address key challenges such as deforestation and how to control emissions from refrigeration.”

While consumers in industrialised economies are responsible for two-thirds or more of carbon emissions, this can’t be allowed to happen in emerging economies, Sir Terry said: “The challenge is to tap into consumer power. Encourage consumers to go green, not just by saving energy but buying products with a low carbon footprint – if we can do that, then we will create a mass movement in green consumption.”

Tesco said it was leading by example. The new stores located in Bang Phra, Thailand, and Jaromer, Czech Republic, will help Tesco reduce carbon emissions across its global business by 50% by 2020. Tesco aims to be a zero-carbon business by 2050.

The zero-carbon hypermarket at Jaromer will open next month. The store has a distinctive timber structure and roof, with wooden cladding to minimise the carbon associated with building the store.

The Bang Phra zero-carbon store, set to open in the second half of 2011 in Chonburi province, will generate renewable energy onsite from 10 wind turbines plus a solar farm with panels located on the shop roof, car park canopies and neighbouring vacant land.

Tesco’s new Leadership Academy in Jungu, Incheon, South Korea, will also be a zero-carbon development and will open in July 2011.