Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy has called on governments around the world to work with private companies to ensure innovation in low-carbon growth is not hindered by red tape.

Speaking from the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Leahy unveiled the plans for two zero-carbon stores in Thailand and Czech Republic, and said governments need to create the regulatory environment to allow private companies to bring growth that is sustainable.

He said: “Regulation has its place in setting the right framework for action on climate change, for example through an effective carbon price.  But I believe in the power of the market and in people’s creativity to tackle major challenges. Governments can help create the right framework, but they cannot match the energy and innovation of the market.”

He added: “As economies develop, we need to do our best to make their growth as green as possible. We opened the first zero-carbon store in the UK last year and we’re now applying the lessons we’ve learned across the world. We’re sharing our experience with suppliers and working with them to address key challenges such as deforestation and how to control emissions from refrigeration.”

Leahy said while consumers in industrialised economies are responsible for two-thirds or more of carbon emissions, this can’t be allowed to happen in emerging economies.

“The challenge is to tap into consumer power. Encourage consumers to go green, not just by saving energy but buying products with a low carbon footprint – if we can do that, then we will create a mass movement in green consumption.”

Tesco aims to be a zero-carbon business by 2050.

Its zero-carbon hypermarket in Jaromer will open in February. It has a timber structure and roof, with wooden cladding.

The Bang Phra zero-carbon store, set to open in the second half of 2011 in Chonburi province, will generate renewable energy onsite from 10 wind turbines plus a solar farm with panels located on the shop roof, car park canopies and neighbouring vacant land.

Tesco’s new Leadership Academy in Jungu, Incheon, South Korea will also be a zero-carbon development and will open in July 2011.