The bosses of five of the UK’s biggest supermarkets have promised to halve the environmental impact of a weekly food shop by the end of this decade.
Chief executives from Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Co-op and M&S said they would work with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to reduce natural destruction.
Under a pledge they will halve the amount of global warming that shopping baskets cause, the forests that are cut down to fill the baskets, the impact of the agriculture and seafood in baskets, and the food waste and packaging they produce.
The shops also promised that before the end of next year they would set science-based targets to help keep global warming below 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures.
The targets will cover all categories of emissions – known as scopes.
“As CEOs of leading UK food retailers, we recognise that a future without nature is a future without food. By 2030 we need to halt the loss of nature,” the supermarkets agreed in a joint statement.
WWF chief executive Tanya Steele said that it will not be possible to tackle climate change and keep global warming to below 1.5C without dealing with global food supplies.
“Food production is one of the biggest threats to our planet and we will only tackle the climate and nature emergency if food retailers play their part,” she added.
“The promises these CEOs have made are game changing and we hope other food retailers will follow in their footsteps so that every shopper can be confident that the products they buy aren’t fuelling the climate crisis and pushing precious wildlife closer to the brink.”
The food sector is responsible for more than 30 per cent of total climate emissions, and 60 per cent of the lost nature around the world, so reducing its impact will be a major step.
Every year it emits 17.3 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, about 19 times more than commercial planes.
Separately, 20 new governments have signed up to the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) dialogue forum which commits them to opening talks.
The members of FACT will discuss trade and market development, research and how to improve agriculture, as well as support for small farmers.