Perhaps in response to the imminent inquiry by the Competition Commission or perhaps just stung by mounting criticism of its tactics the UK supermarket giant Tesco has published details of a 10 point plan to become a “better neighbour”
Tuning into the increasing importance of demonstrating green credentials the strategy promises initiative such as cutting carrier bag use by a quarter over the next two years and sourcing more food locally to reduce transport and support local economies.
This is in addition to plans already announced to use wind turbines to supply some of the power to its 2000 stores and a £100m budget for other environmentally friendly initiatives such as halving its power consumption, providing recycling facilities, and a sports programme leading up to the 2012 Olympics.
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Tesco has reached its position as the UK’s number one supermarket by a strategy that is characterised by control of its suppliers, development land, the planning system and management of its stores.
It is undoubtedly alarmed by the escalating lack of control that it has over its image and may well be looking nervously over the Atlantic at the fate of Wal Mart which has been nicknamed the “bully of Bentonville” (the site of its headquarters) because of its devastating effect on the independent retail sector.
It has not made “the community” one of its top priorities and, if it is serious about getting involved with the local community its plans are to be applauded. The local business communities in the North Laine (where it has a Tesco Express) and Hove (where it has numerous outlets including a supermarket on Church Road) will be eager to explore Tesco’s new-found neighbourhood conscience.
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