Ireland | Climate change

Climate change

We recognise climate change as the biggest environmental threat the world faces.

We have a long-standing commitment to tackling climate change, with an ambitious plan for energy-efficiency projects and energy-management measures across our operations in Ireland.

Tesco Ireland is a proud signatory of the Business in the Community Low Carbon Pledgeand we aim to become a zero-carbon retailer by 2050. Our policies are aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as European and national frameworks.

Our climate change commitments, governed by our Little Helps Plan, are:

  • To achieve a 35% absolute carbon reduction from operations by 2020 (60% reduction by 2025, and 100% by 2050).
  • Tesco suppliers to achieve a 7% absolute reduction in carbon emissions across their business by 2020 (covering both agriculture and manufacturing emissions).
  • To achieve a 25% reduction in carbon emissions per case of goods delivered by 2020 (2011/12 baseline).
Progress to date

We have made significant progress towards our targets to date, resulting in a 24% reduction in energy use over the past 5 years and a 31% reduction in carbon emissions. Some of the measures taken to date include: 

Refrigeration, lighting and heating

Since 2016, we have made significant energy efficiency upgrades to the fridge, lighting and heating systems across our stores.

We have led the way in retail refrigeration by moving to phase out higher Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerant gases like 404a and replacing with lower CO2 impact gas 448a. We installed Aerofoil Shelf Edge technology to transform the performance of fridges in stores. This is similar technology to that used to streamline air flow on a Formula One car - using aerodynamics to guide cold air more efficiently down the front of the fridge, it results in substantially less cold air loss, lowering energy use and reducing carbon emissions.

Food Waste Management

We were the first retailer to partner nationally with FoodCloud in 2014, and through the donation of over 14 million meals we’ve saved over 18,900 tonnes of carbon from the waste process.

We are the only retailer in Ireland to publish independently assured food waste data and we have successfully achieved zero food waste to landfill since 2009. 

In 2020, we introduced a new way to manage food waste from stores, backhauling it to a single point before sending it to anaerobic digestion with Irish company Green Generation. This process change means less trucks on the road collecting bins from stores, and an annual reduction of 250 tonnes of CO2.

Renewable Energy

We source 100% renewable energy to power our network of stores, offices and distribution centres.

And, as part of our partnership with Green Generation, we have also become the first Irish retailer to purchase renewable gas made from our own surplus food to power stores. 

Green Generation process any food surplus - which is not donated to our surplus food charity partner FoodCloud, or given free of charge to colleagues – and the outputs are fed into the gas network. We then purchase the renewable gas outputs via Naturgy, taking a circular economy approach to minimising our carbon footprint.

Facilitated by Gas Networks Ireland, this will reduce our carbon emissions by 1,200 tonnes annually, with enough renewable gas created from our food surplus to power six of our stores in Ireland.

We also produce energy via our wind turbine at our Distribution Centre at Donabate – this generates 1.5million KWh per year, of which 10% goes back to the national grid.

Grocery Home Shopping 

We have implemented a new scheduling / planning system for Grocery Home Shopping introducing smarter routes for our vans, resulting in less miles travelled and fewer carbon emissions.