Following the Competition Commission’s supermarket enquiry, the big retailers are putting plans in place to convince their customers about their green credentials. Industry commentators wonder whether this is a genuine attempt by retailers to change for the better, or just a bandwagon for them to hop onto.
One of the strongest statements has come from Marks & Spencer, when it announced its five year strategy to become the UK’s most environmentally friendly retailer. Its detailed 100-point plan, developed with Jonathon Porritt, former director of Friends of the Earth, embraces climate change, waste, fuel, transport, raw materials, fair trade and healthy living. Announcing the measures, M&S chief executive Stuart Rose said he hoped that the £200m cost of the programme would be offset by increased sales.
Tesco’s plans include the use of ‘air freighted’ stickers to alert consumers to the provenance of their flown produce and its pledge to spend £100m on developing green energy technologies. The retailer is also planning to put a label showing the ‘carbon footprint’ of each of Tesco’s 70,000 product lines. Researchers from Oxford University will be paid £5m to advise Tesco’s decision makers on how to make it a reality.