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  • hammaad saghir

Tesco CEO Implores Policymakers: Hold Fast to Net Zero Ambitions, Our Common Goal

Amidst the fluctuating climate of sustainability policies, Tesco's CEO Ken Murphy called out politicians today: 'We all need to drive towards the same goal.'

He echoed this sentiment at London's Reuters IMPACT forum, urging a more stable backdrop for businesses gearing up to invest in eco-conscious projects and technologies.

"We all need to drive towards the same goal and be better at sharing learnings and resources on the way," he said. "The food industry is willing to invest but needs more stability and confidence regarding future policy. That is why it's critical that all parties, regardless of political creed, stand by their Net Zero commitments and timelines."

Sure, Murphy is talking big picture, but he's also walking the talk. As evidence, Tesco is doubling down on its pilot program advocating for low-carbon fertilizers. The supermarket giant collaborated with farmers during its initial phase, covering a modest 1,300 hectares with eight distinct, eco-friendly fertilizers—six of which were manufactured domestically, sourcing from unconventional materials like food waste and algae. And guess what? These fertilizers didn't just match their traditional counterparts; they slashed emissions by half.

"As we work to protect customers and suppliers from rising costs today, we must also do all we can to safeguard the shopping basket from shocks tomorrow," he said. "That means building a more resilient, sustainable, and productive food system. One that guarantees customers a long-term supply of quality, affordable food as well as improving the economy and world they live in

"Innovations like low-carbon fertilizer are part of the solution. As the early results show, they have huge potential to cut greenhouse gas emissions, enhance soil health and water quality, as well as providing greater cost certainty for farmers, and create an industry here in the UK - which is why I am so pleased with our plans to scale up usage next year. But to realise the full benefits, we need to see action beyond our supply chain, too. We'll only get there through cross-industry and cross-party collaboration."

It's not just the corporate sector singing this tune. Fresh reports from the Aldersgate Group caution that without a robust industrial strategy, the UK risks a colossal economic loss—upwards of £224 billion by mid-century. Furthermore, a recent survey by the Social Market Foundation lambasted politicians for lagging public opinion on meat consumption reduction, a critical issue tied to environmental, health, and ethical considerations.

In conclusion, Murphy encapsulates the collective sentiment. "We've got one shot at this—so let's get it right. True progress hinges on a collaborative effort, transcending industries and political boundaries." Tesco's CEO thereby stands as a vanguard for businesses striving for a more sustainable future, challenging political leaders to meet them halfway and to meet them fast.


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