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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 June, 2004, 09:50 GMT 10:50 UK
Environmentalists target Tesco's
Tesco Metro store
Tesco said it was disappointed by Friends of the Earth's comments
Friends of the Earth has launched a blistering attack on Tesco, accusing the supermarket giant of "unfair and unethical trading practices".

In a briefing to MPs later on Thursday, the environmental group will claim Tesco is damaging local communities, smaller retailers, suppliers and consumers.

It has called for action in a number of areas to restrain Tesco and its rivals.

Tesco says it is a responsible firm and proud of how it serves communities.

Friends of the Earth's (FoE) criticism comes ahead of Tesco's annual general meeting due to be held in London on Friday.

We have written to Friends of the Earth rejecting each of the misleading claims they have made
Tesco statement
Campaigners, accompanied by pensioners and farmers, will attend the AGM to question Tesco directors and will stage a protest outside the meeting.

Space limit

"Tesco claims that it supports local communities and creates jobs for local people, but it does not say how many other jobs in local communities may be lost as a result of its new superstores opening as local shops close down," FoE said.

TESCO FACTS
UK's largest supermarket group
Annual profits of 1.6bn,
Yearly sales of 33bn
960 stores in the UK
237,000 UK staff
27.3% of UK supermarket sector
Overseas stores from Poland to Japan
FoE want a limit on the floor space of supermarket superstores and for local authorities to consider more carefully the impact of out-of-town developments on businesses in the centre before granting planning permission.

It is calling for Tesco to be stopped from taking over further convenience store chains - it recently bought London-based Europa, Harts and Cullens shops.

'Misleading claims'

FoE claims that Tesco is failing to protect the livelihoods of workers on farms and plantations supplying the supermarket with produce from overseas.

The evidence against Tesco can no longer be ignored, it is time for the Government to regulate and tame this corporate beast
Sandra Bell, FoE's food and farming campaigner.
FoE want a stronger statutory supermarket code of practice with an independent watchdog to enforce it.

"Tesco's success has made it immensely powerful - a position that it is clearly abusing by putting small traders out of business and killing off local high streets, bullying suppliers, and damaging the environment through its never ending demand for cheap food," said Sandra Bell, the group's food and farming campaigner.

"The evidence against Tesco can no longer be ignored, it is time for the Government to regulate and tame this corporate beast."

Tesco said in a statement that it was "a responsible company".

"And we are proud of our record of serving communities around the country and the benefits we bring, such as jobs, housing and investment in local economies," it said.

"It is disappointing that Friends of the Earth continue to ignore these benefits and the views of the majority of customers and suppliers with whom we talk every day.

"We have written to Friends of the Earth rejecting each of the misleading claims they have made."




SEE ALSO:
Unions watch Tesco sick day plan
17 May 04 |  Business
Tesco stops pay to cut 'sickies'
17 May 04 |  Business
Tesco may expand Japanese empire
27 Apr 04 |  Business
Tesco slammed over post offices
22 Apr 04 |  Oxfordshire
Sales jump boosts Tesco profits
20 Apr 04 |  Business


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