Sustainability Practices at Tesco

February 19, 2018

Tesco Bengaluru’s Little Helps Plan and sustainability commitment

Tesco in Bengaluru is a multi-disciplinary team and a site that houses – Tesco Business Services and Tesco Technology teams. They help serve our shoppers a little better every day across markets, creating a sustainable competitive advantage for Tesco by standardising processes, leveraging best-in-class retail technology, enabling agility and empowering our colleagues to do even more for our customers.

Our CSR strategy focuses on making a significant social impact for the communities we serve. By fostering innovative partnerships, leveraging technology and delivering measurable solutions, we built our CSR activities broadly under the following three themes of Education, Food and Water.

Like Tesco PLC, we align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in all that we do as part of our CSR activities. Here are our goals:

  • Zero Hunger – Providing mid-day meals for children in government schools.
  • Quality Education – Equipping younger generations with the right skills through vocational training to become job ready and independent.
  • Clean Water and Sanitation – Providing access to clean water and promoting a safe and healthy living.

We are also dedicated to our environment and have aligned our approach with other SDGs. We follow industry’s best practices while managing our waste and produce recyclable products to save our natural resources’ degradation.

For our CSR initiatives, we have collaborated with our NGO partners – NASSCOM Foundation, Unnati Foundation, Akshaya Patra Foundation, Rotary Bangalore Whitefield Central and Saahas Zero Waste. Our CSR strategy reflects on our efforts to inspire and connect with people as well as invest in opportunities by taking real and measurable actions. Covering these themes, Tesco Bengaluru’s colleagues invested 1450+ hours in volunteering work during the year 2018-19.

Diverting wet and dry waste away from landfills arise

Waste Management has now become an everyday topic in each household. With increased population and less awareness; segregation, screening and managing waste is rising to be an alarming issue in our society. When waste is mismanaged, it ends-up in landfills, oceans and other water bodies. This results in wreaking havoc on our ecosystem, disturbing the natural habitats.

At Tesco, we believe that no food that is safe for human consumption should go waste. We also believe in giving back to the society in its truest essence and waste management definitely tops the list.

Waste is prone to the phenomenon – ‘out of sight, out of mind’. As long as it is out of house, no one cares what really happens to it. Waste does not have immediate visible benefits like that of toilet construction.

We believe that segregating waste appropriately under the right category can help in managing waste better and producing renewable energy or even in manufacturing recycled products. All we need is awareness about the ways to manage waste consciously and more importantly, practice it religiously. Additionally, we also need to stay motivated to educate our colleagues to practice waste management as a way of life. This would help every individual to do their bit at their personal capacity and make a change. Therefore, we collaborated with Saahas Zero Waste (SZW) who provides us end-to-end waste management services based on the principles of circular economy. We have been collaborating with them for several years to manage our dry and wet waste and convert them to produce something beneficial for the society.

Our collaborations and partnerships

Currently, in partnership with SZW, we are developing a sustainable waste management practice in our everyday operation at our main campus – Whitefield, Bengaluru. With the help of our partner, we follow the below steps to reuse, reduce and recycle our wet and dry waste and make the most out of it.

  • We have a proper composting infrastructure to manage all the kitchen waste.
  • Conversion of kitchen waste into high-quality compost through biological process by SZW staff over the period of 35-40 days.
  • Sending the cooked food (liquid) waste to offsite biogas plant to generate biogas.
  • Sorting the dry waste (paper, plastic & others) into basic categories and sending it to SZW’s Material recovery facility where it further breaks down to 30 categories. Later, they are moved to authorised recyclers for recycling.

Tesco-SZW partnership works on an exchange model where SZW provides us recycled notepads for our regular use in office. These notepads are a testament to our sustainability initiative as they are made of 100 percent recycled paper that in turn saves trees. We know that approximately every tonne of recycled paper saves 17 trees and 2 cubic metres of land space.

The journey so far and the future

Our collaboration with our Waste Management partner – Saahas Zero Waste, has been effective as we avoided sending 95 tonnes of wet waste and 69 tonnes of dry waste to landfills in 2018. We compost food waste in our campus and share it with our sustainability partner Saahas to produce renewable energy like biogas in their plant. The compost is useful for landscaping and Saahas uses the biogas to power vehicles that transport food waste. Recyclers receive the categorized dry waste to produce useful products for everyday use. In future, we plan to:

  • Install an onsite biogas plant that will process the food waste and provide biogas for cooking purposes, thereby lowering its GHG emissions.
  • Also eyeing for a Zero Waste certification based on the current sustainable waste management processes.

Retail waste management

At Tesco, we always care about our surrounding environment and the virtue of giving back to our communities. Our initiative, Little Helps Plan aligns with the UN’s Sustainability Goals. We understand the value of food, life and the ecosystem that surrounds us. We also believe that retail industry has a big role in following sustainability practices. We are conscious that the retail industry influences environmental degradation, by promoting plastic generation, which in turn leads to high methane generation.

We feel that retail industry can take the below steps to make sure we have a better future by following the best sustainability practices at present.

  • Keeping in mind SDG-12 (Responsible consumption and production), retail industry has a very big role in reduction of plastic packaging and switching to re-usable packaging. They can also educate and empower their customers to reduce the usage of plastics.
  • Retail stores can channelize all their waste (dry waste, majorly plastics & expired food) to complaint end destination.
  • We believe that other organisations can also educate and empower their colleagues and customers to manage waste properly that will help them to reuse, reduce and recycle when needed.

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