Tesco prepares to go green

Green issues are expected to play a more important role in the Tesco brand during the next few years, as the supermarket steps up its focus on corporate social responsibility.

Tesco comms bosses have held meetings with a number of PR agencies with a view to burnishing the firm's CSR credentials.

Tesco UK press manager Nicola Ward confirmed that pitches took place on Tuesday, but did not name the agencies pitching or give any details of the brief itself.

The firm recently appointed Tim Mason to the role deputy CEO, giving him responsibility for branding, company values and climate change.

It is also currently advertising for the role of a press manager specifically focused on handling sustainability news. 'As a global business, we have an important role in helping to minimise climate change,' reads the advert.

One leading green PR expert advised that Tesco needed to develop a 'single sustainability strategy' while also focusing on reducing customers' emissions instead of just their own.

Futerra CEO Lucy Shea added: 'Tesco should have an aim to cut its customers' own carbon footprints by 50 per cent by 2020.

'It could do this through some innovative product development - products that have been designed so as to actively reduce customers' emissions.'

Tesco has a long tradition of running high-profile CSR activities, particularly its vouchers-for-schools campaigns that have been going for 19 years.

Other CSR initiatives have included opening the world's first zero-carbon supermarket in Cambridgeshire, last year.

Tesco has pledged to cut emissions in the products in its supply chain by 30 per cent by 2020.

In December 2010, Tesco came fourth in the UK CSR Online Awards, which audited the CSR comms of the FTSE 100's 30 largest firms. But for many years, Tesco has come under fire from campaigners for forcing the closure of local shops and transforming city centres in to 'clone towns'.

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