Supermarket doublespeak

You’d have to be living in a cave in Mongolia (or really really not paying attention) not to have heard or read anything about “carbon footprints” of late. Simply put, a carbon footprint it is a measure of the impact our activities have on the environment. Now let me digress here a moment and say that I am by no means convinced that human activity is solely to blame for global warming. In fact, I’m not convinced that human activity is even a major contributor.

However, CO2 emissions should be reduced as much as possible for other reasons , such as not filling the air we breathe and water we drink with nasty chemicals.

Now back to the issue at hand. A few weeks ago, before our allotment potatoes were ready for digging, I walked (note the very low carbon footprint mode of transport) to the big box supermarket that is Tesco to buy some organic potatoes. And there, in the potato section, was this sign:

Carbon footprint sign

I thought it a bit odd that new potatoes should have such a high carbon footprint. After all, millions of tonnes of potatoes are grown in this country each year, and this is prime potato season. So I took a closer look at the bags:

Organic potatoes from Israel

Yes, can you believe it, these potatoes were from Israel, 3700 km (2300 miles) from the UK. Of the three types of organic potatoes Tesco was selling, two were from Israel, one from Egypt.

So let me get this straight. Tesco is unable (or unwilling) to source organic potatoes locally during peak potato season. Instead they source their organic potatoes from thousands of kilometres/miles away. Yet they claim to be committed to reducing the carbon footprint of the potatoes they sell.

I think that instead of patting themselves on the back for their “commitment” to reducing carbon footprints, Tesco should be commended for providing us with a good example of doublespeak.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *