Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Lets hope its wind that gets the turbine moving and not hot air! - by Mary Horesh

I would like to congratulate Tesco for taking the first step to reduce their carbon footprint and install a wind turbine at the New Oscott superstore. An unusual step for a Local Shops campaigner! But I really do wonder if this is green washing at work or a real move to tackle climate change.

I would be interested in how much the other Tesco sites turbines actually contribute to the stores electricity? In an article I read in the Sutton Observer (21st October) the turbine is able to power 4 houses for a year, but no comparison was given for the contribution to the supermarket. I was unable to find any information in the documents provided. I wonder if that figure would be so impressive and would really illustrate how power hungry supermarkets really are.

On Tesco’s website they make some interesting claims like aiming to halve energy use by 2008- only got a few weeks to do it, and “Our UK stores use 50% less energy than they did in 2000”, which makes the cynic in me question, if its that easy to cut back, then they must be a very wasteful corporation.

However, putting my positive head on, I hope that installing the wind turbine is the first of many measures to reduce their carbon footprint at New Oscott site and that this is not just a very visible “token” to sustainability. I would hope that as condition of their application going through, that the store has to take further initiatives- visible and less visible.

There are many simple measures Tesco and supermarkets can do to improve their footprint such as more efficient lighting, by using more efficient bulbs, use of sun pipes which reduce the need for electric lights. Also open fridges are a huge waste of electricity, so installing ones with doors and covers would reduce it.. There are other major projects like CHP, bio-digesters and other initiatives that could be considered.

We need to make these companies that are “green-washing” their companies to stand up and really show what they are made of. See if the green is just skin deep!

So I would like to see as a condition of this application for a wind turbine that Tesco will do initiatives that have an overall approach at the site, starting on the inside and working out.

1 comment:

John Davison said...

Watching a chicken farming TV programme reminded me of the power that the big retailers such as Tesco can wield. One aspect is that being geared up to 'big', batches have to be similarly big to suit the large lorries and long distance.
Whilst it is nice that Tesco consider environmental measures, investing their local managers with responsibility and choice would work even better - if a Tesco Manager finds that an edge of Birmingham certified supplier can offer produce, get that on the shelves.
To see some farm animals in the flesh in Birmingham, visit Woodgate Valley Urban Farm (run by volunteers) wvurbanfarm.org.uk