Tesco Lotus marks 25th year with goals
Ek-Chai Distribution System Co, the operator of Tesco Lotus stores, has begun carrying out an array of sustainability goals centred on reducing waste, increasing recycling and sourcing more eco-friendly products.
Sompong Rungnirattisai, the company's chief executive, said the new policies coincide with Tesco's 25th anniversary of operations in Thailand.
Ek-Chai's sustainability scheme, known as "The Little Helps Plan", applies to all Tesco businesses in Thailand and sets short-, medium- and long-term targets for overcoming social and environmental challenges.
"With growing issues and concerns, especially around the environment, we realise the role that we can play in making a bigger impact in a positive way, driving change not only through our culture, but also governed by a set of policies that are interwoven into our business operations," Mr Sompong said.
The company's near-term goals focus on creating a sustainable food chain and reducing packaging and plastic usage.
"Our customers in Thailand must have access to products that come from sustainable sources that are healthy and affordable," Mr Sompong said. "As such, Tesco Lotus has prioritised sustainable sourcing of products with respect to ethics, human rights, animal welfare and environmental impact."
Over the next six months, Ek-Chai will increase direct sourcing volume of local leafy vegetables from 60% to 70%, with a goal of sourcing 100% of leafy vegetables directly from farmers by 2022. The company will also remove MSG from vegan food.
To protect the environment, Ek-Chai will remove hard-to-recycle materials from all Tesco-branded packaging.
"We expect our packaging to be fully recyclable by 2025 and halve the food waste in our own operation by 2030," Mr Sompong said.
By the end of 2019, the company plans to stop using plastic straws in its operations and offer more environmentally friendly alternatives instead.
"We hope that our efforts will lead to collaborative partnerships and inspire others to also commit to sustainability," Mr Sompong said. "At Tesco Lotus, we believe that every little bit helps make a big difference."
He said consumer spending in the first half of the year was stable and the company plans to go ahead with its expansion plans.
Two hypermarkets have opened this year, with two more on the way, and 50 Tesco Lotus Express stores will open in the remaining months of 2019.
Currently there are 1,600 Tesco Lotus Express stores and 400 other stores in hypermarket, Talad and department store formats.