Asda chief says it will reduce environmental damage
Asda chief executive Andy Bond told delegates at the Retail Week Conference that grocers could stop selling some types of fresh food all year round over the next five years to reduce their impact on the environment.

He said: 'I think in five years, demand for certain fruit and vegetables to be available all year round will change dramatically - if not totally disappear. Customers want great products and great prices with a clear conscience.'

However, Bond said that the industry and customers were not yet ready for this change.

In a wide-ranging speech on green issues, Bond said retailers need to understand that environmental policies must be driven by boards and that eco-initiatives can save them money.

He added that there is only so much retailers can do by working alone and that real change will only be driven by collaborative initiatives involving other retailers. 'Lower costs and being environmentally friendly go together,' said Bond.

On Asda's green credentials, Bond said that it has set itself the target of reducing its packaging requirements by 25 per cent by the end of the year, reducing its energy usage in existing stores by 20 per cent by 2012 and sending zero waste to landfill by 2010.

Above all, Asda has committed to reducing its road miles, which has the biggest carbon footprint for all UK businesses. Bond said that Asda had introduced supply chain initiatives such as using bio-fuel, double-decker trucks and moving more freight to trains, as well as receiving imports into parts of the country where most of its stores are concentrated.