Shareholders want Tesco supermarkets to fight obesity

Posted on Feb 10, 2019 2021 at 13:16

This is a first in the UK. To force Tesco, the largest supermarket chain, to sell healthier products, shareholders will table a “health” resolution at its next general meeting. This resolution, coordinated by the non-governmental organization ShareAction, is supported by seven institutional investors including Robeco or JO Hambro, and by 101 individuals. It reflects the growing interest of the world of finance in health issues. Shareholders will ask Tesco to unveil the share of the sale of the healthiest food and drink from 2022 and ensure that it increases by 2030.

One of the most obese nations

The UK is one of the most obese nations on the planet. The country tops the rankings in Western Europe, and not far behind Mexico, Australia and the United Arab Emirates.

Tesco played a role in health during and before the Covid-19 pandemic, explains ShareAction. In 2019-2020, it conducted a series of in-store trials, some of which significantly shifted consumer purchases towards healthier alternatives. While Tesco is making some progress in health, activities to date have been piecemeal and small-scale. We now call on the supermarket to move beyond the rhetoric and publish an ambitious health goal and support strategy “.

Unlike its competitors M&S or Sainsbury’s which have already done so or are planning to do so, Tesco has not set targets to increase the proportion of healthy product sales.

The special resolution, which will be presented at the next general meeting in June, must be passed by 75% of the shareholders’ votes at the meeting. If it receives 20% or more support, Tesco will still need to issue an official response detailing how it will address the concerns raised.

In the United States, shareholders have already started tabling resolutions against obesity. In 2020, they called Coca-Cola, Pepsi and McDonald’s to account for their use of sugar in their product.

ShareAction has, for its part, already coordinated resolutions at Barclays and HSBC on climate issues.

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