Tesco, the leading UK retailer in beers, wines and spirits, won the Green Retailer of the Year at the Drinks Business Green Awards held at the end of March.
Tesco picked up the award following a number of measures being taken by the retailer to make its packaging for alcoholic drinks as environmentally friendly as possible.
Tesco currently has 461 packaging reduction projects in beers, wines and spirits. So far, the retailer has have delivered 24,047 Metric Tonnes of BWS packaging reduction with another 8,000 MTs to be delivered in the next 6 months. Tesco has also driven the development of wines in Tetra Pak to increase their acceptability in the UK market. Tetra Pak is made of 75% paperboard, a low carbon raw material which they are working towards having 100% certified, currently by FSC. The hugely successful Tesco Value Spanish wines, packaged in Tetra Pak, have sold about 20,000 units per line per week since launch and the range was expanded to include a New World Value range from Chile in 2009.
As well as reducing packaging, Tesco has been active in driving glass reduction. Lightweight bottles have saved 5,500 MTs of glass on the retailer’s Own Label wines and even lighter ones are currently being pioneered. Additionally the proportions of recycled glass in Tesco’s Own Label bottles has been driven up by Tesco and now stands at 90% recycled content in green glass bottles and 35% for flint (clear glass).
Importing New World Wines in bulk and bottling them in the UK has saved 52,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. Wines are ferried from Liverpool to Manchester on barge, taking 50 lorries of the road per week, saving 700,000 miles of emissions.
Tesco is committed to reducing the environmental impact of its delivery services as well. Delivery vehicles have been fitted with black boxes which monitor fuel consumption and drivers have been given advanced training to maximise fuel efficiency.
Following the successful introduction of carbon labelling on Tesco own brand products last year, the retailer is currently developing the first ever carbon footprinted Own Label wines with Highfield Estate in New Zealand (accredited by PAS2050). These will be a NZ Sauvignon Blanc and a NZ Pinot Noir.
In an effort to spread its knowledge to its customers, Tesco is putting additional levels of information on the back labels of wine bottles. These will include details on packaging reduction, disposal (recyclability), proportion of recycled material and carbon footprinting. Tesco has points of sale in its stores to encourage people to consider green options when making their purchases.