Climate Change

We can play a positive role in tackling climate change and help create a revolution in green consumption. There is now an overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is happening. Scientists tell us that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases are a key factor, and that urgent action by governments, businesses and individuals is needed to combat it. This means there needs to be less reliance on fossil fuel, and that we must nurture the idea of a low-carbon society.

At Tesco Ireland we are working with our customers, suppliers and partners to create a greener environment and raise public awareness of environmental issues. Tesco Ireland is playing its part in tackling one of the gravest threats we all face – climate change. That’s why one of our Group policies is to "put the environment at the heart of everything we do". We are committed to a long-term programme of practical steps to reduce our energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Our goal in sustainable consumption is to drive the trend towards green consumerism by using our power and reach to make it cheaper to go green.

Tesco’s approach to climate change has three parts:

  1. Leading by example: We will keep cutting our own emissions as a business, working on energy efficiency and using new technology to produce renewable energy at our stores and depots. We have committed to becoming a genuinely zero-carbon business by 2050.
  2. Working with others: We will work even more closely with our suppliers to reduce emissions embedded in the products that we sell by 30% by 2020.
  3. Empowering customers: We want to help customers lead low-carbon lives by making green products more affordable, more available and more attractive. Working with others, we will also identify clear ways in which our customers can halve their personal and domestic carbon footprints by 2020.
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Measuring our Carbon Footprint

We have measured our direct carbon footprint to establish a clear baseline from which to track progress in reducing our emissions, and enable us to identify those areas of our business we need to prioritise. We included energy use in all Tesco stores, distribution centres and offices as well as emissions from primary distribution, business travel and our Tesco grocery home shopping delivery vans. We also included the impact of the HFC gases used for refrigeration. We recognise that we also have an important role to play in reducing our indirect carbon footprint and are examining ways to help our suppliers and customers reduce their emissions too.

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Measuring our Carbon Footprint

Energy efficient Design & Technologies

All our stores are built to the highest energy efficient standards and, in the case of our new stores, feature cutting edge energy efficient technologies including the following:

Combined Heat and Power Units: We installed our first Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit at our store in the Nutgrove Shopping Centre in Dublin in August 2007. The gas burning unit generates electricity for the store while simultaneously recycling the waste heat used in the generation process. This recycled waste heat is then used to provide central heating and hot water for the store. It is estimated that the CHP will save 656 tonnes in carbon emissions each year. We plan to roll out more CHP units in the future.

Lexan Film: This is being installed on fridge glass doors in our frozen food aisles to reduce the energy usage of the refrigerated cabinets. Fan motors are also being replaced with energy efficient motors that use 80% less energy.

PIR & LED Lighting: Lighting in all staff areas of stores is being changed from wall switch-controlled lighting to PIR lighting. PIR (Passive InfraRed) lighting uses motion detection sensors to automatically switch off lights when no one is in the room. Tesco has also started introducing energy efficient LED lighting units in it’s stores and trialling LED units in such areas as loading-bay, delivery-yards, cold-storage areas and car-park to evaluate light quality, long term performance and ease of installation.

Energy Boards

Energy Boards: Tesco are installing touch screen energy boards in its locations across the country. The energy boards are placed in the staff areas of each store and display which sections, such as the bakery, petrol station, lighting or heating, are consuming the most energy. Not only do the monitors get employees involved, but also help to further reduce the stores’ carbon footprint by removing the need for reams of paper data that detail the store’s energy consumption.

Wind Power: In November 2010, Tesco received permission to construct our first wind turbine at out distribution centre in Donabate, County Dublin.

Clerestory Lights & Hybrid Framing: To minimise the use of artificial light, Tesco Swinford opened in 2010, has been built with clerestory lighting, a series of windows which are placed high on the side of the building to allow natural light into the top of the store. The store has also been built using a hybrid timber and steel frame and timber cladding to maximise the use of sustainable building materials, along with low carbon cement.

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Energy Champions

In 2011, Energy Champions were appointed in all Tesco stores across the country. Energy Champions monitor energy use, complete energy audits and provide staff with energy awareness information. Energy Champions offer the crucial link with staff by identifying simple, positive steps we can all take to save energy across our stores. They are supported by posters, stickers and videos encouraging behavioural change, such as switching off lights and turning off taps. When we all work together, these small changes can make a big difference.

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Tesco Ireland Eco-Store

Tesco Ireland’s new store in Tramore, Co Waterford, has incorporated many eco initiatives. The Eco-Store uses 45% less energy than a supermarket of a similar size. It has set a new benchmark for green technology and construction in retail in Ireland. Key features include ecologically sound construction materials, new technology to create self-sufficiency for heating and hot water, solar panels to generate electricity, air retrieval and recycling measures. We are committed to tackling a wide range of issues from reducing packaging to making green choices easier and more affordable for our customers.

Tesco Ireland Eco-Store

Tesco Tramore was the first supermarket in Ireland to be designed to the internationally recognised PassivHaus standard. This form of design focuses on reducing energy consumption using the very highest levels of insulation throughout the building as well as recycling over 70% of the heat used in the store’s ventilation system. A state of the art tri-generation Combined Heat and Power Unit heats and provides additional electrical power for the store. This state of the art gas burning system generates electricity and then uses the waste heat used in the generation process to heat the store. In summer this process will also help provide chilled water.

The 30,000 sq ft structure is supported by a wooden frame with timber harvested from sustainable forests. This feature has saved over 400 tonnes of carbon dioxide when compared to a conventional steel frame for a building of similar size. Sky lights will increase the amount of natural light entering the store while solar panels will help power the bank of cash registers. An environmentally friendly carbon dioxide refrigeration system will be used in all fridges and freezers using 15% less energy than a conventional system.

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Tesco Ireland Carbon Neutral Store

Tesco Ireland Carbon Neutral Store

As part of Tesco’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint, 2011 saw the opening of Tesco Cabra as the first Zero Carbon supermarket in Ireland and the fifth within the Tesco Group worldwide. Cabra is a zero-carbon store, which means that the store emits zero net CO2 from its operations. It was designed to use as little energy as possible and any energy that we do need is generated on site. A Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant provides this energy and runs on bio fuel from renewable sources e.g. vegetable oil. Any excess energy is exported to the National Grid.

The store features a host of cutting-edge, environmentally-friendly technologies, which help to maintain a zero carbon footprint from the store’s operations. Environmental features at the Cabra store include:

  • Refrigeration which used CO2 to cool the freezers and fridges rather than traditional refrigerant gases
  • A CHP plant that heats the store and generates electricity very efficiently
  • Cold air retrieval that recycles cold air from refrigerated aisles to cool warm areas in the store
  • Rainwater harvesting that uses rainwater from the roof in the store’s toilet
  • Roof Lights that allow natural light into the building
  • Dimmable lighting system that adjust to the natural daylight coming into the store
  • Motion sensitive lighting that automatically switch off when no-one is in the room or storage area.
  • Energy efficient lighting with daylight sensing technology
  • New high efficiency electrical motors that use brushless technology
  • Building control systems which optimise energy consumption

While the operational energy is approximately 45% compared to a standard store built in 2006, the principle behind the design of this building was to develop a store with a Zero Carbon operational footprint. This means that while there will be some saving in certain areas, such as the LED lighting system in the car park, other areas may end up being more costly, such the Bio-diesel used to fuel the CHP unit, which is more expensive than more conventional methods.

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Transport/Supply Chain

Tesco Ireland aims to reduce CO2 emissions in our distribution transport operations and some of the initiatives that Tesco have taken include:

  1. An improved centralised distribution network, reducing the number of journeys needed to take products to our stores.
  2. Use of route scheduling software to maximise delivery schedule with plan do review process to increase trailer fill and track planned miles versus actual travelled.
  3. ’Double Deck’ trailers, were introduced during 2007 and are used to make deliveries to selected long-distance stores and carry almost 45% more cases of goods than conventional trailers.
  4. In 2011, we replaced 80 delivery vans, with the new vans being 20% more fuel efficient than their predecessors.
  5. Increased supplier collections: we are increasing the number of cases collected from our suppliers on Tesco vehicles by 25%. Instead of travelling back to distribution centres empty, our trucks - where possible - pick up goods from our suppliers en route, saving a journey and reducing the overall food-miles of our products.
  6. We have increased our local supplier base to reduce our food miles/carbon footprint.
Transport/Supply Chain

Tesco Ireland won the Green Transport Award in 2008 in recognition our commitment and performance in tackling our environmental impacts throughout our distribution network.

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Making Green Living affordable

Tesco Ireland is making green choices easier and more affordable for our customers. We are making a conscious effort to increase the number of green products in our stores.

Green Living

These include:

  • Energy-saving light bulbs
  • Our ’Naturally’ range of cleaning products. These have been developed to have a lower impact on the environment and include everything from washing-up liquid to fabric conditioners
  • Recycled products such as kitchen towels and toilet rolls
  • The BNatural skin care products from our health and beauty range

Advice on greener living and how customers can cut their carbon footprint is also available on the Tesco Greener Living website In addition, we are developing labels for Tesco own-brand packaging to tell you if what you’ve bought can be recycled, re-used or put in the compost bin.

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Sustainable Packaging

We are always looking for ways to minimise product packaging, whether in store or from our suppliers.

  • Our reusable plastic crates - known as Green Trays - were introduced into our distribution chain as an environmentally-friendly method of delivering products to our stores. The hard-wearing plastic crates, which last an average of 10 years, take the place of secondary cardboard and plastic packaging in distribution.
  • At any given time, we have 1.5 million Green Trays carrying produce between our suppliers, depots and stores. These trays have already eliminated over 36 tonnes of waste secondary packaging from Tesco Ireland’s operations - the equivalent of 12 million cardboard boxes a year.
  • We are introducing sustainable packaging by increasing the recycled content of our packaging to minimise its environmental impact.
  • This strategy includes concepts such as compostable packaging on organic fresh products, which is currently available on our organic mushroom products.
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At Tesco Ireland we aim to develop worthwhile partnerships with governmental bodies and NGOs concerned with tackling climate change. We participate in IBEC’s Environmental Policy Committee and Sustainable Enterprise Group, and we also work closely with Sustainable Energy Ireland.

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What you can do

Recycling is a key issue for our customers. And Tesco Ireland aims to make recycling an important part of the customer’s shopping trip by providing accessible recycling points at our stores.

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WEEE Products

Tesco Ireland accepts WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) products from consumers free of charge. Take-back is on a one-to-one basis. In other words, the appliance being returned needs to be of similar type or have performed the same function as the new item purchased.


Tesco has also run very successful recycling days in many of its stores, where members of the public can drop off old or unwanted electrical items for free. In 2011 over 387 tonnes of electrical waste was collected at Tesco Recycling Days, equivalent to 17,590 televisions. To date, since the first Tesco Recycling Day in our Tullamore store in October 2007, we have collected over 1000 tonnes of electrical waste - that’s 638,000 electrical items or enough kettles, toasters and televisions to fill every seat in Croke Park, the Aviva Stadium, Thomond Park and Pairc Ui Chaoimh more than three times.

recycling day

In 2011 Tesco won the "Best WEEE and Waste Battery Recycling Event of the Year 2011" award at the REPAK Recycling Awards.

In 2012, Tesco will run 47 Recycling Collection days at its stores around the country in conjunction with WEEE Ireland and ERP Ireland. Find your nearest Tesco store and dates on the table below, and bring along old or unwanted electrical items for free. Events will normally run from 10am to 4pm but you should check in store for full details.

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Tesco Recycling Days 2012
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Mobile Phones and Inkjet Cartridges

Recycling your old mobile phones and inkjet cartridges is as simple as picking up a recycling envelope in store at Tesco. You will also find a recycling envelope inside every Tesco Mobile phone and SIM pack.

Last year, we collected and recycled 19,404 units of mobile phones and inkjet cartridges. This resulted in over 2.5 million Green Clubcard points being awarded to customers! We’ll give you Green Clubcard Points for being greener, or you can ask us to make a donation to our Charity of the Year for you. Green Clubcard Points are the same as Clubcard Points. We call them green because the way you collect them helps the environment in some way.

Mobile Phones and Inkjet Cartridges

Whenever you recycle a working mobile phone that is on our acceptance list, you can choose to collect 500 Green Clubcard points or ask us to donate €5 to our Charity of the Year on your behalf. For a non working mobile phone that is on our acceptance list, you will still receive 100 Green Clubcard Points or you can choose to donate €1 to our Charity of the Year.

You can also collect 100 Green Clubcard Points whenever you recycle any inkjets on our acceptance list or choose to donate €1 to our Charity of the Year. By recycling these cartridges, we can reduce the amount of harmful waste going to landfill sites.

To view our acceptance list and for full terms and conditions, please visit

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Bring Banks

Tesco Ireland is the country’s largest provider of Bring Centre recycling banks for consumers hosting over 194 Bottle Banks and 112 Clothing Banks. We support the Rehab recycling scheme by providing bottle banks where consumers can bring bottles, jars and other waste glassware for recycling. Many of our stores also provide consumers with facilities to recycle waste plastics and clothing. In addition to working with companies like Rehab, we continue to work in partnership with local authorities to improve and extend the facilities at our stores.

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Tesco Ireland offers a free scheme to collect customers’ used batteries in store by providing dedicated recycling tubes for household batteries.

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Environmental Awards

Tesco Ireland is proud to have won a number of awards in recognition of its environmental achievements and continuing efforts. Some of the recent awards include:


Repak Recycling Awards 2011 - Tesco won the “Best WEEE and Waste Battery Recycling Event of the Year 2011” award.

Repak Excellence Awards 2010 - received for our efforts to become the first Irish retailer to reach 100% recycling of packaging and store waste.

National Energy Awards 2007 - We were commended in the Energy Manager of the Year category and for our Energy Awareness Campaign at the Sustainable Energy Ireland National Energy Awards

Best Example of Energy Management in a company with more than 50 employees this was presented at the EnviroCom Awards 2007, organised by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Chamber of Commerce.

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