Farm Ireland

Monday 20 November 2017

Tesco pulls plug on carbon scheme

Bord Bia to press on with its local plans

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Tesco is pulling out of its carbon footprint initiative due to the complexity of the work involved and the rate of uptake across the rest of the retail sector.

The move will come as a shock to the Carbon Trust, wich had worked with Tesco to develop a formula to calculate the carbon footprint of products from milk to vacuum cleaners.

However, in the four years since Tesco initially announced that it was going to put a carbon count label on all of its 70,000 product lines, it had only managed to get 500 products, or less than 0.01pc, certified.

It was the complexity of this process, along with the reluctance of competitor retailers to adopt the same standards, that led to the announcement by Tesco last week.


However, Bord Bia, which is in the process of auditing 40,000 beef farmers to establish the carbon footprint of Irish beef, said that the move by Tesco would have no impact on its programme.

"We will continue to press ahead with our certification process for all beef farmers participating in the quality assurance scheme and hope to roll out the initiative to include 17,000 dairy farmers in the near future," said a spokesman.

Some 15,000 beef farmers have already been audited by Bord Bia and the information collected will be used to establish how many kilogrammes of carbon are generated to produce a kilo of beef. The scheme was developed in conjunction with, and has been approved by, the Carbon Trust.

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While beef farmers do not pay anything to be audited for carbon, it is expected that dairy farmers will be required to pay at least €100 per audit for an equivalent scheme.

A Bord Bia spokesman claimed that the ongoing carbon audit for the beef sector costs "little or nothing" beyond existing operating costs for the food promotion organisation.

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