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Vice Chairman Of IPCC Endorses Supermarket’s Green Policies After £25 Million Donatio
Climate change expert says Tesco plastic bag policy is success (two years after supermarket makes £25m donation to his university)By Sean Poulter
Last updated at 12:06 AM on 28th November 2009
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Professor Mohan Munasinghe has admitted his report had not given a full picture of the situation in Ireland
A climate change expert endorsed Tesco’s position on reducing plastic bag use after his institute received a £25million donation from the supermarket, it has been revealed.
Professor Mohan Munasinghe said the retailer’s policy of rewarding customers who reuse the bags with ClubCard points was ‘more effective’ than charging.
His comments appeared in the Consumers, Business and Climate Change report, which was published amid much fanfare at the Royal Society last month.
The professor, one of Britain’s leading experts on climate change, is head of the Sustainable Consumption Institute at Manchester University, set up with the aid of a £25million donation from Tesco in 2007.
The retailer’s employees were also involved in compiling the report, it has emerged. They were mentioned by name, but their connection to the store was not disclosed.
David North, Tesco’s community and government director, is among the list of people said to have made an ‘important contribution’.
The revelations come in the wake of the Daily Mail’s Banish The Bags campaign, launched in February last year, which has helped cut the number of throwaway plastic carriers given to shoppers. Around 418million fewer bags are being handed out each year following our campaign.
Tesco claims to have halved the number of bags issued over three years through offering the tiny points incentives.
Tesco claims to have reduced the number of bags issued by a much lower 50% through offering tiny Clubcard incentives
By contrast, when Ireland introduced charges in 2002, the number of throwaway bags given out by stores was slashed by 90 per cent overnight.
Similarly, a move by Marks & Spencer to introduce a 5p charge last year brought a drop of more than 70 per cent with immediate effect.
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The SCI’s report referred to Tesco’s policy of offering a green’ loyalty point worth just over a tenth of a penny for each bag not used. It boasted: ‘The net result was a 50 per cent reduction on plastic bag consumption in the UK.
‘This has saved the need for 3billion bags, or the equivalent to 35,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. This suggests that offering incentives is more effective than threatening penalties.’
Nowhere in the study did it show the level of bag reduction achieved in Ireland. Nor did it make clear that the claimed reduction at Tesco had come over three years.
Professor Munasinghe, who is also vice chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – which shared 2007’s Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore – has admitted his report did not give a full picture of the situation in Ireland.
‘It would have been much fairer to give the complete set of figures so people can come to their own conclusions,’ he said. ‘I accept the conclusion is somewhat overstated.’
A spokesman for the SCI insisted the report had not been written to suit the requirements of Tesco.
‘The conclusions were made by the academic authors alone, independently of Tesco,’ he added.
A supermarket spokesman described the report as ‘a contribution to understanding the importance of sustainable consumption to reducing carbon emissions’.
Earlier this week, experts challenged the integrity of climate change scientists when University of East Anglia researchers were accused of manipulating data challenging their theories on the subject.
In the past, Tesco has been accused of manipulating statistics on plastic bag use in its stores.
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