Tesco is aiming to become the first major UK supermarket to go peat-free on its British-grown bedding plants, in order to significantly lower their carbon footprint. From Monday 4 April, Tesco will take the lead in supermarket retail by reducing peat by 95 per cent across its UK bedding plant range – with plans to go completely peat-free in its British bedding plants in 2023.
The small amount of residual peat in this year’s range was used by the retailer’s seedling suppliers when germinating the plants. Tesco will work with these suppliers over the coming months, with the goal of eliminating any final traces of peat and becoming 100 per cent peat-free.
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 step is being made in partnership with one of the UK’s ornamental plant suppliers, Bridge Farm Group, based in Spalding, Lincolnshire. And it will also help preserve the UK’s peatlands, which provide a wealth of environmental benefits as well as being home to many rare plants, insects and birds.
The move is significant as Tesco is one of the UK’s largest sellers of bedding plants, with about 40 million plants sold each year. Through this change, Tesco aims to reduce its peat use by nearly 9,000 cubic metes a year. This would reduce the carbon footprint of these products by more than 1,200 tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent emissions) a year – a reduction of 75 per cent*.
Tesco Horticulture Category Buying Manager, Alex Edwards 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 program 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.”
Instead of peat, all Tesco’s British bedding plants, which are grown by the Bridge Farm Group, will use alternatives such as wood fiber and organic by-products to deliver the quality expected.
Tesco’s range of products supplied by the Bridge Farm Group have all been successfully trialed in peat-free compost, with no impact on quality or product life.
Bridge Farm Group Managing Director Louise Motala said: “Peat takes thousands of years to form, therefore using alternative materials that are much quicker to regenerate is a priority for horticulture. We’re delighted to be working with Tesco to deliver a more sustainable solution and we hope this is the start of meaningful change for the sector.”
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