Tesco CEO Terry Leahy has today called on governments around the world to reduce regulation restriction impeding low-carbon businesses growth.
In a speech at the Davos economics summit, Leahy announced that Tesco is to open two zero-carbon stores in Thailand and the Czech Republic, and he argued that private companies can blaze a trail for a global low-carbon economy.
He argued that over-regulation and government interference can stifle this development, however, and that the private sector alone can lead consumers into greener everyday product choices.
“Regulation has its place in setting the right framework for action on climate change, for example through an effective carbon price,” Leahy said at the summit in Switzerland.
“But I believe in the power of the market and in people’s creativity to tackle major challenges. Governments can help create the right framework, but they cannot match the energy and innovation of the market.”
“The challenge is to tap into consumer power. Encourage consumers to go green, not just by saving energy but buying products with a low carbon footprint - if we can do that, then we will create a mass movement in green consumption.”
The two new zero-carbon Tesco stores in Bang Phra near Bangkok and in Jaromer, set to open in the second part of 2011 and next month respectively, will help the retailer meets its aims of cutting emissions in half by 2020 and to be a zero-carbon company by 2050.
Leahy said that the system in developed countries which sees consumers creating more emissions than industry should not be repeated in the developing world.
“As economies develop, we need to do our best to make their growth as green as possible. We opened the first zero-carbon store in the UK last year and we’re now applying the lessons we’ve learned across the world,” Leahy added.
“We’re sharing our experience with suppliers and working with them to address key challenges such as deforestation and how to control emissions from refrigeration.”