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Tesco increases efforts to ensure sustainability

Sep 04. 2019
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By THE NATION

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Tesco Lotus is celebrating 25 years of operation in Thailand by turning its attention to driving sustainability through its “Little Helps Plan”, which sets out how the retailer will make a difference to the social and environmental challenges that matter most to customers.

The aim is to ensure that Thai consumers have access to high-quality products that are sourced sustainably, healthy, and affordable. It will also enhance measures to protect the environment and support local communities.

“Throughout our operations in Thailand, we have remained committed to making positive contributions to all of our stakeholders and to the environment. We recognise that there is a role we can play in making a bigger impact in a positive way and are implementing the Little Helps Plan across our businesses. Clear targets and KPIs have been set, with progress being reported transparently and regularly,” Sompong Rungnirattisai, the company’s chief executive, said.

“As a retailer, we believe that we should do more than just sourcing products and passing them on to customers. Our customers in Thailand must have access to high quality products that come from sustainable sources, are good for their health, and still have affordable prices. As such, Tesco Lotus has prioritised sustainable sourcing of products, with respect to ethics, human rights, animal welfare, and environmental impact. Food products must be of high quality, made from good ingredients, be tasty and affordable and also healthy.”

“Our sustainability plan also focuses on an integral part of our business – our colleagues. As an employer of nearly 50,000 colleagues, Tesco Lotus is committed to helping our colleagues to get on, with opportunities to grow and develop their skills and capabilities, beyond having an income and other benefits. Currently, 80-90 per cent of our store colleagues are from surrounding communities. We also extend employment opportunities to others such as retirees and students to work within the business.”

“In terms of the support we provide for communities, as a food retailer, we focus on ensuring that children in impoverished schools around Thailand have access to nutritious and healthy food. Our food donation programme provides lunches for students in 77 schools in all provinces of Thailand. Our edible surplus food is also donated from 40 hypermarkets in Bangkok and major cities.”

“Due to mounting concerns on the environment and waste, Tesco Lotus has focused our effort on reducing plastic and food waste. We encourage customers to refuse plastic bags and we don’t giving plastic bags for purchases of two items or less across our 1,800 small format stores. By the end of 2019, we will also stop using plastic straws in our operations and offer more environmentally friendly alternatives for our customers. Since July 1, 2019, we have eliminated all foam trays from our operations.”

Salinla Seehaphan, Corporate Affairs Director at Tesco Lotus, said that Tesco Lotus began campaigning for customers to say no to plastic bags since 2015, the first retailer in Thailand to introduce the reward system to incentivize customers to change behaviors.

"Every time customers refuse plastic bags, they receive Clubcard points which can be redeemed for discounts and other privileges. Since the start of the programme, we have awarded nearly 6 billion points and saved more than 190 million plastic bags," she said.

The chain has also turned all express checkout lanes in 200 hypermarkets will be turned into Green Lanes that do not give plastic bags effective this month.

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