UK retail giant Tesco has developed a piece of software called the Environmental Design Tool that gives the company and its suppliers an unbiased assessment of the different materials and products used in stores, writes Retail Week.
Retailers often think about the environmental impact of their buildings, but not the items inside the store, such as signage, shelving, service desks, and trolleys, said Tesco environmental design manager Richard Denton. “[We] didn’t want to stop at the door,” he said.
To use, employees enter the weight of the different materials that make up a particular product. The software then considers factors such as carbon footprint, recycled content, and pollutants from manufacturing and produces a report about the environmental impact of each item, including graphs and recommendations.
The tool has helped Tesco identify an alternative material for store signage made from recyclable honeycomb cardboard that has a carbon footprint 80 percent smaller than the original signage material. Tesco will ad or replace nearly 6,000 signs next year, which will save more than 300 tonnes of carbon and 8,500 tonnes of embodied water.
Each of Tesco’s equipment suppliers also has free access to the software to enable them to reduce the environmental impact of their equipment.