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World first for Tesco

We’ve helped the retail giant develop its ambitious science-based target for emissions reduction.

Robust analytics and practical recommendations gave Tesco confidence to make strong commitments.

Science-based target approved
Carbon by 2050

Tesco’s science-based targets

In 2017 Tesco announced emissions reduction targets for its global operations that have been approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

These targets are consistent with scientific requirements for a low-carbon future and meet the initiative’s robust criteria making Tesco the first corporate in the world to commit to limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

In this case study, we describe how Carbon Intelligence supported Tesco in this process.

The challenge

Before setting science-based targets (SBTs), Tesco had a strong sustainability programme with stretching 2020 targets and an ambition to be zero carbon by 2050.

Tesco’s goal was to set new targets aligned with the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement that were credible and realistic given its commercial objectives and the evolving policy landscape.

Recognising Carbon Intelligence’s technical and strategic expertise, Tesco appointed the consultancy to help it achieve these aims.

Our process

Carbon Intelligence used a combination of methodologies to provide the flexibility to model Absolute and Intensity targets, Scope 3 emissions, and 1.5°C and 2°C scenarios in comparison to Tesco’s 2050 zero carbon ambition.

Tesco’s Scope 3 emissions were screened, showing a solid understanding of its value chain impacts. As these emissions constitute over 40% of its overall footprint, Scope 3 targets were set to meet SBTi criteria.

To demonstrate leadership, Tesco aligned its own target with a 1.5°C warming scenario and chose 2°C aligned targets for its supply chain.

Key benefits



We helped Tesco set ambitious targets and gain SBTi approval


We analysed emissions impact across Tesco's value chain


Leadership and company-wide commitment to sustainability

The Outcomes

By rigorous assessment of its emission reduction targets, the Tesco Climate Change team demonstrated it fully understood the costs, benefits, and feasibility of setting an SBT. This enabled the team to secure agreement from Tesco senior leadership and approval from the SBTi.

Tesco’s SBTs were approved in May 2017, attracting coverage from broadsheets like the FT and The Independent, as well as sustainability- and retail-focused platforms.

If you are looking to close the energy performance gap across your building portfolio, contact us.

Services used in this case study