Tesco expects ‘major’ carbon savings with peat-free pledge

The supermarket aims to reduce its peat use by nearly 9,000 cubic metres a year, which would cut the carbon footprint of the products by more than 1,200 tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually

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Tesco expects to significantly reduce its carbon footprint following its pledge to become the first major UK supermarket to go peat-free.

The retailer is reducing peat by 95% across its UK bedding plant range starting next week, with plans to go completely peat-free in its British bedding plants by 2023.

The small amount of residual peat in this year’s range was used by the retailer’s seedling suppliers when germinating the plants.

Peat is still the most popular aid used by the horticulture industry to grow potting plants but when harvested, vast quantities of carbon are released into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change.

The move by Tesco – made in partnership with plant suppliers Bridge Farm Group – is significant as it is one of the UK’s largest sellers of bedding plants, with around 40 million plants sold each year.

The supermarket aims to reduce its peat use by nearly 9,000 cubic metres a year, which would cut the carbon footprint of the products by more than 1,200 tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually – a reduction of 75%.

Instead of peat, all of its British bedding plants will use alternatives such as wood fibre and organic by-products.

Its range of products supplied by Bridge Farm Group have all been successfully trialled in peat-free compost, with no impact on quality or product life.

Alex Edwards, Tesco Horticulture Category Buying Manager said: “This move is a major step forward in delivering a more sustainable plant range to benefit the planet. In collaboration with our supplier, the Bridge Farm Group, we have taken the decision to reduce peat at the earliest opportunity, as part of a wider sustainability programme to reduce our carbon footprint.

“We hope to see a positive response from customers – many of whom talk to us about their growing concerns surrounding the sustainability of our planet.

“In taking the first step, we hope others in the horticulture market will follow, helping us find solutions for the plants and shrubs where we don’t yet have a viable alternative for peat.”