Press Release   •   Feb 03, 2010 14:24 GMT

Tesco yesterday announced it will spend over £100m with UK green technology companies, boosting the economy and safeguarding or creating thousands of jobs.

The UK is fast recognising the benefit of green technology and with expertise in research and development, engineering and innovation is well placed to capitalise on the growth of the industry.  On the back of the recession, this investment is welcome news for small companies across the country.

Many of the suppliers that initially started working with Tesco in the UK are now providing advice on green technology in Tesco businesses across the world. Products include electric car charging points, CO2 refrigeration and combined heat and power plants that generate green electricity.

The news was announced at the official opening of the worlds first zero carbon supermarket in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire.  Tesco has been developing stores with lower carbon footprints since 2005, and Ramsey is the latest step in this journey. The store was built with sustainable wood, LED lighting and a combined heat and power plant powered with renewable fuel. The store has no net carbon footprint and exports back any extra electricity generated to the national grid.

Terry Leahy, Tesco Chief Executive said, “The challenge of climate change can only be faced by collective action.  We want to cut our own carbon footprint and help suppliers and customers do the same.  We’ll be a zero carbon business by 2050 but only by working with our suppliers and others across the industry.

“I’m proud to be opening the worlds first zero carbon supermarket and I believe it’s no co-incidence that it has opened here in the UK where many of the innovations which make its construction and operation possible were designed and manufactured.”

John Gummer, MP opening the store said, "I'm delighted to be opening the world's first zero carbon supermarket.  Business has a huge role to play in tackling climate change.  It is by investing in technology as Tesco have done here in Ramsey that real and lasting change will be achieved.  It is action not words that will defeat global warming."

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said, "The opening of the world's first zero carbon supermarket here in the UK is massively exciting and Tesco's are to be congratulated on this groundbreaking move. Tesco's commitment to spend £100m with UK green technology companies will give a real boost to our low carbon sectors.  The government is determined to work with business to make the UK a global leader in the low carbon economy. This demonstrates a step change in how to approach environmental challenges, integrating low carbon building, resource efficiency and even the potential to put energy back into the grid. This zero carbon store is inspirational and is an excellent example of how business can respond to consumer demand for low carbon goods and services."

Angus Robertson from PowerPerfector, which has supplied Tesco since 2001 with units that optimise electricity supply cutting carbon and cost said, “Tesco’s investment has meant we’ve grown very quickly, in the last year we’ve doubled the number of people we employ.  Their support and investment in our brand new technology also gives other customers the confidence we can deliver.”

For further information, contact the Tesco Press Office on 01992 644645

Notes to editors:
• Tesco will spend £100m with British green technology companies from February 2010 to February 2011.

• Our definition of zero carbon fits the guidance issued by the Communities and Local Government department in July 2008.  The building will demonstrate over a year that the net CO2 emissions from all electricity, gas and refrigerant use is zero - that is, the amount of energy taken from the national grid will be less than or equal to the amount put back through low carbon and renewable technologies.

• Environmental features of the Ramsey store include:
• A timber frame from sustainable sources instead of steel which significantly cuts the carbon associated with building it.
• Combined Heat and Power plant which runs on bio fuels from renewable sources
• In store lighting that dims as the natural daylight increases and roof lights that let the daylight on to the sales floor.
• LED lights in the car park and petrol station. These use less energy and last longer than normal bulbs. This is the first time in the UK that LED lighting has been used to light a car park.
• Rainwater collection facilities on the roof which give us water to use in the car wash and to flush store toilets.
• Refrigerant gases in the fridges, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems that have virtually no environmental impact.
• Solar-powered street lights and crossing beacons.
• Energy-efficient equipment such as low energy bakery ovens.

• 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 and more available, and by improving information through carbon labelling. This builds on existing achievements such as zero waste to landfill and a 50% reduction in carrier bag use. Working with others, we will also identify clear ways in which our customers can halve their personal and domestic carbon footprints by 2020