Supermarkets navigate climate-friendly retailing

Retailers will focus on farming believing the sector holds ’the greatest opportunity’ to address climate change and biodiversity challenges, as they look to demonstrate the sustainability of their own supply chains.

In March this year, Morrisons pledged to be the first supermarket to be completely supplied by net zero carbon British farms by 2030, with plans to create a workable blueprint for its farmers and growers underway.

The Co-op has also outlined its ambition to be the world’s first supermarket to sell full carbon neutral own-brand food and drink by 2025 and is continuing to work with its farmer producer groups to monitor carbon footprints and identify areas of improvement.

"Using this data and with the help of independent consultants we have developed a package of knowledge exchange activity, particularly focusing on technical improves that can save farmers money while also reducing their overall footprint," Joseph Keating Co-op’s agriculture manager.

Tesco is to trial innovations with suppliers to reduce emissions from agriculture, including the use of low-carbon fertiliser and alternative animal feed, to help achieve its net zero emissions from suppliers and products by 2050 target.

Tesco chief product officer Ashwin Prasad said: "Emissions from our supply chains and the use of our products account for most of our emissions. It is vital we continue the good work in our own operations but also drive collective action with our suppliers to achieve these new commitments.

"We are encouraged that 100 of Tesco’s largest suppliers have already reduced manufacturing emissions by 20 per cent, but we know we all have further to go."

The first retailer to map their carbon footprint back in 2015, Booths has since used the mapping to help make sustainable buying choices across the business.


Trading and marketing manager John Gill said: "We continue to work with suppliers to ensure that we source food responsible, shaping our ranges with sustainability at the forefront of those decisions.

"We all need to appreciate and value the people that grow and rear our food.

"The Covid-19 pandemic really did give us pause for people to think about the care, energy and effort that goes into making great British produce.

"Agriculture plays a vital role in sustainable food production, it is a complex and changing picture and one that the public needs to recognise."

Retailers were also looking to help consumers make food choices which were better for the planet.


Sainsbury’s new brand commitment ’Helping Everyone Eat Better’ will showcase recipes as well as give customers advice based on the UK Government’s EatWell Guide.

A spokesperson said: "We work closely with our farmers and suppliers to source food sustainably, which helps us to fight climate change and ensure we can feed future generations.

"Our Plan For Better sets out our sustainability goals across our whole business, outlining our priority areas of focus, our key commitments and our progress."

Meanwhile, Lidl GB has launched an Eco-Score trial across its 105 Scottish stores to help consumers understand the environmental impact of their food choices while providing training on reducing on-farm carbon emissions to support the next generation of British meat and dairy farmers.

It is also the first retailer to commit to developing carbon-neutral cheese in partnership with Wyke Farms.

Amali Bunter, head of responsible sourcing and ethical trade at Lidl, said: "We know that shoppers want more support in understanding the environmental impact of the products they buy day-to-day and Eco-Score will do just that."

Source: FG Insight