Tesco has pledged to become the first grocer to go peat-free on its British bedding plants in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint by around 75%.
The Big 4 grocer’s environmental initiative aims to remove 95% of peat in all its UK bedding plants range from Monday 4 April. Currently the UK’s largest seller of bedding plants, Tesco sells around 40 million a year. The change will reduce its peat use by nearly 9,000 cubic metres a year.
This would reduce the supermarket’s carbon footprint by over 1,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions a year, which is around a 75% reduction.
Peat is a layer of soil which includes partially decomposed plant material, developed in low oxygen conditions. As peat bogs are a carbon sink large quantities of carbon are released in atmosphere when it is harvested – contributing to climate change.
As an alternative to peat, Tesco’s bedding plants will use wood fibre and organic by-products.
The retailer confirmed this had already been trialled by Bridge Farm Group, who grow Tesco’s plants, in a peat-free compost and didn’t affect the product’s quality or life.
“Peat takes thousands of years to form; therefore, using alternative materials that are much quicker to regenerate is a priority for horticulture,” Bridge Farm Group managing director Louise Motala said.
“We’re delighted to be working with Tesco to deliver a more sustainable solution and we hope this is the start of meaningful change for the sector.”
Tesco horticulture category buying manager Alex Edwards added: We hope to see a positive response from customers, many of whom talk to us about their growing concerns surrounding the sustainability of our planet.”
“In taking the first step, we hope others in the horticulture market will follow, helping us find solutions for the plants and shrubs where we don’t yet have a viable alternative for peat.”
The environmental move comes as issues with Tesco’s plastic pledge were exposed by Bloomberg, revealing the truth behind a plastic bag’s 2,000 mile journey across Europe.