Supermarket giant Tesco has announced a £100 million fund for investing in environmental technology, along with its revelation of record profits for 2005.
As the supermarket announced an underlying profit of £2.25 billion for the past year — a 17% rise from the previous year — it was also keen to unveil its commitment to environmental concerns.
Tesco said it would be trialling gasification — technology used to turn waste into energy - and also said plans were being drawn up for the first ever supermarket to be built entirely from recyclable materials.
The plan is for the recycled store, composed of wood, recycled plastics and other green materials, to be built in Aylsham, Norfolk. Tesco hopes the store will be “the greenest store in the world”, housing all the latest environmental technology.
Defending criticism that the environmental fund is an attempt to boost its image Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy said: “£100 million is not a PR stunt.”
The supermarket said its investments will also include further recycling initiatives to make recycling easy and attractive for its customers and revealed that in 2005 it recycled 71% of all store waste or 27,000 tonnes.
Tesco has already invested £600,000 in new automated recycling machines at its stores in Winchester, Havant, Portsmouth, Southampton, Andover and Royston. And said it plans to install more at other stores, aiming to double the amount of material its customers bring for recycling.
Tesco believes this additional material would account for about 10% of the total additional tonnage needed to meet the UK’s EU packaging recycling targets by 2008.
It also said it would be installing wind turbines at some of its new stores, alongside solar energy technology, geothermal power, combined heat and power, and trigeneration.
Leahy said: “The cost of energy has gone up for everybody, and Tesco is no exception. We’ve had to deal with huge rises in energy costs in the last year. So, of course, this has really stimulated within the business a search for alternatives.”