Carbon Emissions: Where the major global retailers stand

The Confronting Climate Change Initiative (CCC) was launched by the South African wine and fruit sector to enable growers and service providers to manage the risks associated with carbon emissions, relating both to associated environmental impacts and consumer and retailer pressure for emissions accountability. As a result, we were very interested in where the major global retailers actually stand with respect to their emissions targets and progress to date, relating to both operational emissions and emissions generated across their respective supply chains.


This research was conducted based only on what is presented either on retailers’ websites, or in sustainability reports linked to these websites. The idea behind this being that these are the commitments or progress that retailers would like their consumers to be aware of. Because of the potential for marketing leverage, positive commitments and progress are unlikely to be understated. The retailers assessed include: Sainsbury’s, TESCO, ASDA, Marks and Spencer, and Morrison’s (UK); Carrefour and Migros (Europe); Walmart (US); Loblaw (Canada); Woolworths and Pick n Pay (South Africa).  Across all of the retailers assessed, there is a strong recognition of the need to reduce emissions, and thus commitments to reduce these emissions. However, these commitments mostly relate to  a reduction in operational emissions (emissions generated at the retailer’s end of the supply chain), with only Sainsbury’s, TESCO, ASDA, Marks and Spencer, Walmart and Woolworths making further commitments to reducing emissions across their respective supply chains. It is obviously these commitments to reducing supply chain emissions that are of extreme relevance to South African fruit and wine exporters.



Table 1 below provides a summary chart of this research.


Click here for a more detailed version of this research, which highlights the retailers’ actual emissions targets and progress to date.




Table 1: Summary chart of retailer carbon emissions targets and progress