If you want shoppers to use fewer plastic bags, is it a good idea to give them away free? Manchester University, with a little bit of help from Tesco, thinks so.
Manchester University has produced a report on the effectiveness of different policies for plastic bags. It concludes that giving them away is a good idea. However it appears not only that Tesco supported the university department involved to the tune of £25m but also that senior Tesco management contributed to the report. Furthermore, although their contributions were acknowledged, their link to Tesco was not. The authors of the report now admit its conclusions were biased.
Whatever the report was intended to achieve in the eyes of the world, the lack of transparency involved means that it will have failed.