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Tesco cuts packaging weight reduction target

Retail giant Tesco has cut its packaging weight reduction target from 25 per cent by 2010 to 15 per cent by 2010.

The supermarket chain has recently released its corporate responsibility report 2009. The report states: Since we started working with our suppliers and the wider industry to reduce packaging it has become clear that this is a complex issue and that weight alone may not be the most beneficial and environmentally comprehensive measure. While we have already made great progress towards our target, we are working with suppliers and experts to understand what is best environmental and sustainable practice for packaging along the supply chain.

The retailer has agreed an interim measure of reducing its packaging weight by 15 per cent by 2010 and will provide a more comprehensive long term target in next years CR report.

A Tesco spokeswoman told MRW: Weve learned that the weight of packaging is not necessarily proportionate to its carbon footprint. We are working with a cross-industry body on some more sophisticated metrics around packaging sustainability and once that is complete we may adjust our targets.

Sainsburys will release its CR report shortly and Marks & Spencer has set a target to reduce the weight of non-glass packaging by 25 per cent by 2012. A M&S spokeswoman said that the retailer has achieved 12 per cent of this target already.

The issue of weight-based packaging targets has been debated in the Governments Packaging Strategy. The Strategy states:
Weight-based targets used in most EU legislation are fairly easy to understand, and reductions and recycling relatively easy to measure. However, they do not always work well in the wider climate change context. For example, they do not account for whole life cycle impacts.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is currently considering what the best measure is to measure the environmental impact of packaging. It will look at what a move from weight-based to carbon-based targets would involve in practice, and at the balance of costs and benefits of such a move, in consultation with a range of industry and other experts.

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