• 01/05/11
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Recent attempts to begin controlling the massive impact of supermarket purchasing power and distortion of the economy may be on the back-burner in Scotland but how is the battle against monopoly going elsewhere?

‘Is Walmart our best hope for food policy reform?’ asks Tom Philpott over in America as he discusses the Obama administrations efforts to control the power of the shopping-giant.

Tom writes: “As I’ve written before, I’ve got no problem with the globe’s biggest retailer using its market power to make junk food less junky, or fresh produce more affordable — so long as the latter isn’t achieved by further squeezing farmers’ wire-thin profit margins. But the Walmart “commitment” is purely voluntary – and thus very much secondary to another commitment, this one legally binding: the need to maximize profit for shareholders.”

Read Tom’s analysis of Walmart v White House over at Grist here.

Meanwhile, as part of a campaign to show that Tesco has CO2 impact written all over it, a campaign called Climate Rush (well behaved women seldom make history) has protested against the hypocrisy of the supermarket sponsoring National Climate Week. They point out that:

Tesco have  always liked to present themselves as active agents in the fight against climate change. They recently launched “green clubcard points” and state on their website that “ [they] believe that climate change is the greatest strategic threat to humanity”.

Whilst keen to support any business that cuts carbon, Climate Rush feels that there are some inconvenient truths that make Tesco an inappropriate sponsor for such an awareness-raising event.

  • Since they started monitoring them, Tesco’s carbon emissions have risen ever year bar one[i]
  • From 2009 to 2010, during which time emissions fell in the UK and elsewhere, Tesco’s carbon emissions increased by 3.7%[ii]
  • When measuring their “Direct Carbon Footprint”, which is the figure they report on,Tesco ignores international freight, production of goods , waste disposal and consumption and disposal of Goods.  [iii]
  • Despite impressive sounding claims like being a “zero carbon business” by 2050[iv], Tesco does not give itself interim targets to ensure it achieves this. This differs from major international competitors such as Walmart[v].

Tamsin Omond, founder of Climate Rush, says “for all their talk about  ‘Doing The Right Thing’, few companies are more committed to the status quo than Tesco.

All of which is interesting background to the whole story about Stokes Croft, a part of Bristol that wanted to oppose another Tesco and ended up facing the brunt of police brutality. Follow the updates on the Stokes Croft opposition here. Or follow Indymedia Bristol for updates from those involved.