Retail giant Tesco has said it is “fully committed” to supporting its gay staff after concerns were raised following an announcement that it would explore alternatives to funding future Pride events.

The company, which employs nearly half a million staff, told PinkNews.co.uk its preference is to “support projects with practical benefits rather than events”, and that this principle applies universally across its charitable giving.

Tesco responded specifically to concerns raised by PinkNews.co.uk readers this afternoon, following an announcement made in the wake of Christian Institute calls for a boycott of the store due to its Pride funding.

A spokesperson for the retailer expressed its support for the LGBT Out at Tesco network, saying: “We have read some of the comments on this story and would be dismayed if any readers felt we were anything other than fully committed to Out at Tesco and our LGBT staff.

“We are totally committed to tolerance and inclusion inside and outside our business. We will go on supporting Out at Tesco beyond Pride 2012.

“But we usually support projects with practical benefits rather than sponsoring events. We think that’s a reasonable approach and will be discussing the best way forward with our colleagues in Out At Tesco as we always do.”

The Christian Institute called for a boycott of the store last week after it confirmed plans to direct 0.05% of its charitable giving budget to fund a family area at the Pride London event next year.