Top of the month: Tesco packaging pledge wins plaudits

Tesco upped the ante in the war on plastic in August, with chief executive Dave Lewis saying it would "reserve the right not to list" products with too much non-recyclable packaging from 2020.

As major retailers look to outdo each other’s environmental credentials, Tesco received substantial positive coverage for its announcement, made initially via a comment piece in The Guardian.

It was an effective article by Lewis, positioning Tesco as a force for good in the debate.

The piece outlined the business’ actions to date, including its commitment to eliminate hard-to-recycle material by the end of 2019, and experiments with a trial store that generates less waste, which would be used as a model for the estate.

"We can’t overlook the fact that for too long, packaging on consumer goods has been excessive," Lewis wrote. "We have all looked at the settled contents of a cereal packet and puzzled over the comparative size of the bag and box. Or opened a bag of crisps and wondered why the packaging is twice the size of the contents."

Lewis also reiterated calls for the creation of a "complete and national recycling infrastructure" to increase rates across the UK.

Tesco continues to face major business challenges; it recently announced about 4,500 redundancies at its Metro stores.

In this context, positive coverage linked to concrete environmental proposals that challenge rival retailers and others to do more can only be a good thing.

Honourable mentions

Greta Thunberg: The teenage climate change activist continued her sensational drive to highlight environmental damage, this time from a boat making a zero-carbon Atlantic crossing to attend UN summits

Marmite and Vegemite: Both won the 'battle of the spreads' during the Ashes, with friendly banter between the (respectively) British and Australian brands making headlines

Heinz Tomato Ketchup: Its tie-in with Ed Sheeran may have seemed left-field, but the decision to auction special bottles of the sauce featuring the music star's tattoo designs for charity left a glow of positive publicity

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