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

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos today (27 January), Leahy said governments need to create the regulatory environment that will allow private companies to “lead the way” in bringing about economic growth that is “sustainable in every sense”.

“Regulation has its place in setting the right framework for action on climate change, for example through an effective carbon price,” the Tesco chief said. “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.”

Leahy argued that private companies like Tesco will lead the way to greener economies.

“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.”

He said the retailer is also working to encourage consumers to go green in emerging economies, not only by saving energy, but by buying products with a low carbon footprint.

The Tesco boss also announced the opening of two new zero-carbon stores in Bang Phra, Thailand and Jaromer, Czech Republic.

The Jaromer store will open next month. Tesco said the outlet has a distinctive timber structure and roof, with wooden cladding to minimise the carbon associated with building the store. The outlet will also use natural refrigeration, natural light and generate renewable energy onsite through a Combined Cooling, Heating and Power (CCHP) plant which uses rapeseed oil to produce energy, and photothermic solar panels to produce heat.

The Bang Phra site, which is set to open in the second half of this year, will generate renewable energy onsite from 10 wind turbines, with a solar farm with panels on the shop roof, carpark canopies and neighbouring land.

The retailer also said its new leadership academy in Jungu, Incheon, South Korea, will also be a zero-carbon development.