Tesco to launch carbon labelling trial

Tesco is claiming to be the first supermarket group to launch a major trial on carbon labelling on twenty own brand products.

The products range from potatoes and orange juice to detergent and light bulbs, but the retailer said it was also continuing to carry out work on creating a carbon label for its beef products.

The retailer has developed the scheme with the help of the Carbon Trust. Tesco CEO's Terry Leahy said: "We are delighted to be taking this major step with the Carbon Trust. We want to give our customers the power to make informed, green choices for their weekly shop and enlist their help in working towards a revolution in green consumption. We encourage all of our suppliers and competitors to support the Carbon Trust in this collaboration."

Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, said: "Tesco is one of eight partners to commit to using the Carbon Trust's carbon reduction label and momentum on this important issue is growing week-by-week.

"We hope today's announcement will further catalyse action from other manufacturers and retailers to drive more and more carbon out of their supply chains and products."

Michelle Waterman, Tesco senior commercial manager to agriculture said the challenge for beef was getting the right data from the farms. "We need to make sure the information we are getting is robust first of all. We have 10,000 farmers supplying us and people all farm differently which means they have a different carbon footprint. We have to look at whether we take an average from British farming figures alongside an average from Brazilian farms, for example."