Tesco sometimes takes a few knocks in the press. Most recently for not allowing people wearing pyjamas into their stores and another for asking a father, for safety reasons, to leave a store because he was balancing his six-year old child on his shoulder. Frankly I don’t want to shop were people are running around in their old flannel pyjamas (it’s never going to be sexy French lace nighties) so I for one applaud this decision and as for the dad with his kid on his shoulders, sure it’s petty but we have a government obsessed with health and safety rules and a big brother mentality. So no need to shoot the messenger in this case the Tesco security guard.

Over the past 18 months I’ve become a fan of Tesco. As a company they have achieved incredible results in a very competitive industry. Tesco have streaked ahead of their competitors over the past 20 years because they understand what their customers want and shrewd management and marketing have kept them ahead of the competition. At the end of last year I had the privilege of being invited to do my Mind the Gap keynote presentation on generational marketing at the Tesco Marketing away day and I got further insight into Tesco, you can read about these insights here.

This week Tesco launched the world’s first “zero-carbon” emission store as part of its bid to be a carbon neutral company by 2050. The shop, in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, is timber-framed rather than steel, and uses skylights and sun pipes to cut lighting costs. It also has a combined heat and power plant powered by renewable bio-fuels, exporting extra electricity back to the national grid. In addition the refrigerators – one of the biggest blackspots for food retailers trumpeting their green credentials – have doors to save energy and harmful HFC refrigerant gases have been replaced. The new store, cost 30% more to build, but it uses 50% less energy, and with oil costs on the increase the business case sells itself.

To coincide with the Ramsey opening, the supermarket chain said it intended to spend more than £100m with green technology companies, although Leahy was unsure of the level of supermarket’s current spend on this.

Tesco has been at the forefront of the grocers’ race to be green. The UK’s biggest supermarket has provided £25m of funding for the University of Manchester to set up a sustainable consumption institute, and has a 10-point community plan, with pledges to increase local sourcing and to consult local communities in an attempt to be viewed as a good neighbour.

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