British supermarket Tesco has achieved a key milestone to minimise its carbon footprint by going peat-free on UK-grown bedding plants.

Peat is a popular aid in the horticulture industry, which is used for growing potting plants. Plants grown using this method release vast quantities of carbon that can accelerate climate change.

Tesco claimed that it has become the first peat-free retail business in the UK. The initiative will come into effect on 3 April.

The effort to go completely peat-free has been implemented in collaboration with the Lincolnshire, UK-based ornamental plant supplier Bridge Farm Horticulture.

The initiative will support the preservation of British and Irish peatlands to deliver several environmental benefits. It will also promote the growth of rare plants.

It has also minimised Tesco’s peat use by nearly 9,000m³ (29527ft³) annually. The company sells around 40 million bedding plants every year.  

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The change has contributed to reducing the carbon footprint of plants by over “1,200t of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions” per annum, which is close to 75%.

Tesco Horticulture Category buying manager Alex Edwards said: “Going peat free on our British-grown bedding plants is right for customers – we’ve listened to their feedback and have worked hard to prove we can deliver the same great quality, but now being better for our planet. 

“Looking ahead, we hope this approach can be adopted on a wider-scale – it’s our aim to deliver this across a broader range of plants and flowers.”

The latest announcement comes months after the supermarket began selling only peat-free compost. The initial announcement to grow peat-free bedding plants was made by the company in April 2022.

UK Plant Health Minister Trudy Harrison said: “Our peatlands are an incredibly valuable natural resource. They play a crucial role in locking up carbon, providing habitats for wildlife and helping with flood mitigation.”