Tesco has dropped its plan to label all its products with their carbon footprint, blaming the amount of work involved and other supermarkets for failing to follow its lead.
In January 2007, Tesco's chief executive, Sir Terry Leahy, promised "a revolution in green consumption" as the company pledged to put carbon labels on all 70,000 products. Orange juice, toilet roll and milk were among the products to have the emissions from their production catalogued.
But on the eve of a major report on high street retailers' green programmes, the supermarket has said it is ditching the scheme. "We expected that other retailers would move quickly to do it as well, giving it critical mass, but that hasn't happened," Tesco's climate change director, Helen Fleming, told trade magazine The Grocer.
Tesco also blamed "a minimum of several months' work" to calculate the footprint of each product. The Guardian has previously reported that it would take Tesco centuries to fulfil its pledge, as the supermarket was only adding labels at the rate of 125 products a year.
A Tesco spokeswoman said the supermarket was phasing out the labels, but it still wanted to provide carbon information on products, though she did not specify how. "We are fully committed to carbon footprinting and helping our customers make greener choices. No final decision has yet been made, and we are always on the lookout to find even better ways to communicate the carbon impact of products in a way that informs and empowers customers."