Tesco has announced plans to increase its retail space in China by 30% per year over the next five years. It insists the expansion will not hinder its zero-carbon goals.
Unveiling Tesco’s annual results, chief executive Sir Terry Leahy said the company plans to open 80 new shopping centres in China over the next five years through joint ventures. They will deliver about half of Tesco’s new Chinese retail space and involve capital investment of £2bn. In 2010/11, Tesco plans to open 23 ‘hypermarkets’, nine of which will be in new centres.
Tesco has committed its global operations to becoming zero-carbon by 2050. But its total carbon emissions are rising as a result of overseas growth despite energy efficiency gains (ENDS Report 421, pp 38-42).
Tesco’s climate change manager, Paul van Heyningen, who is on secondment from the energy and climate department (DECC), said: “We don’t see our growth plans as being incompatible with... our zero-carbon target.”
Mr Heyningen said there was potential to reduce stores’ carbon emissions through technology such as renewable energy. He said Tesco has 24 low-energy stores in China. Stores built after 2006 emit nearly a third less carbon than older stores.