UK retailer Tesco has emphasised its commitment to developing “green” stores internationally.

Speaking in Prague, Bob Robbins, CEO of Tesco Central and Eastern Europe, said that being “green” does not come at the expense of profitability – especially when long-term energy savings are coupled with consumer demand for retailers to be more environmentally friendly.

“Moreover, surveys we had conducted showed that protection of the environment is considered the fourth most important factor for our customers, who want to lead a sustainable way of life,” Robbins told the Retail Summit 2009 conference.

In 2006, Tesco opened its first central European “green” store in Budapest, Hungary. “In a mountainous region of neighbouring Slovakia, we even have one built of wood, straw and wool,” Robbins revealed.

The store, in Raiyec, northern Slovakia, is made from wood, sheep’s wool and straw, all of which have “excellent insulating properties and reduce our carbon footprint”, according to a Tesco spokesperson.

The spokesperson said Tesco opened its first “energy-saving store” in the Czech Republic in 2007.

“It is located in Jatetse and it has over 60 energy saving initiatives and uses 30% less energy than other stores,” the spokesperson said. “The energy-saving initiatives started in Jatetse are now being applied to all our new stores.”

Worldwide, Tesco operates over 30 “green” stores, the spokesperson added.