Eight leading British retailers joined forces yesterday to launch a major new campaign to help consumers cut their personal CO2 emissions.
Called We're in this Together the new campaign aims to provide people with practical solutions that will help cut their household emissions by one tonne over three years.
Organised by the non-government Climate Group, the campaign has already signed up support from B&Q, Barclaycard, British Gas, Marks & Spencer, O2, Royal & SunAlliance, BskyB and Tesco, and expects more companies, including HSBC and National Express, to join over the course of the year.
Under the scheme each of the companies involved have pledged to offer and develop specifically green services and products: B&Q has announced a half-price loft insulation offer; Barclaycard is launching a new "green" credit card; British Gas is offering free household energy audits; O2 has said it will reward customers who keep their old handset when changing their contract; BskyB has committed to sending out free software to customers that will switch off its set top box when not in use; and Royal & SunAlliance announced a trail scheme that would provide drivers with a "black box" that could telll them if they were not driving in a way that maximises fuel efficiency.
Meanwhile, M&S boss Stuart Rose said the company's latest green initiative would see it introduce "Think Climate" labels on clothes advising people to wash them at 30 degrees and Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy said the supermarket would cut the price of energy efficient light bulbs in half.
"Our customers tell us that they want to do more in the fight against climate change, but want our help to make it easier and more affordable," he added. "To this end, we have set ourselves a target to sell 10 million energy saving light bulbs in the coming year [and] a big part of helping customers to buy green products is to bring the price down."
Speaking at the launch event in Central London, Prime Minister Tony Blair said the new campaign highlighted how the business community had realised that environmental best practices can provide a commercial advantage.
The campaign is likely to attract some criticism for focusing on headline-grabbing individual offers rather than company wide transformations, but it is also compelling evidence of the extent to which major retailers are willing to adapt their products and services to attract the increasingly influential "green pound".
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