Tesco profits can afford them green equity

tescometroThe recent reports of Tesco’s profit show they’ve been outstanding while others have cried ‘recession’. A 53rd week changes the picture somewhat, but lets round off profits at £3 billion. Bravo.

They’re launching a banking arm soon and it’s going to shake the big boys out of plenty of high street business, but what’s next? How about earning customer favour by taking green initiatives to their core business model?

I’m not talking about binning normal light bulbs for more energy efficient ones – arguably making the process counterproductive. Really go green, not create some spammy marketing half-truth, but a bona fide real deal. Court green ideas, embrace things that upset the status quo.

Here’s some examples:
1. Source the best designed solar panel that can be mass produced and put on top of Tesco’s buildings, helping them decouple from the national grid.
2. Offer a £1 million prize to the designing of a system that channels the energy of millions of shoppers pushing millions of trolleys around the stores. Possibly via some sort of dynamo/KERS system that downloads stored energy when in the trolley park (selling the surplus back to the national grid).
3. Train some of this year’s 600,000 school leavers (what percentage are to become unemployed?) to help manufacture the above, becoming the employer of conscience.
4. Find ways of better catching and using the rain water on site from roofs and car parks.
5. Recycle on a new scale altogether helping communities, suppliers, and possibly governments, better understand and practice this haphazard essential.
6. Lead the march on fair trade goods.
7. Employ a better infrastructure to source more local produce.

Note: I’m sure numbers 1, 2 and 4 have already been invented in Japan or by boffins at M.I.T.

The capital expenditure here would be scary but there is a future upside for both a marketing and fiscal tidal wave. Showing the world what an innovative, responsible, thoughtful corporation looks like could arguably see shareholder value fall, but that’s short sighted. Consumers will thank – and reward – Tesco dearly. What could that bring to their share price?

This doesn’t happen overnight, but Tesco could become the world’s poster boy for green retailing – in the same way Zappos is for customer service. Of course this isn’t easy and that’s why it would give them a massive competitive advantage. Or do you think others will beat them to it?

Photo credit: Mark Hillary


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply