Asda has become the latest supermarket to sign up to WWF’s Save Forests campaign, which is calling for the closure of loopholes in current legislation that allow illegally sourced or unsustainable wood to be legally imported and sold in the UK. 

Asda, Sainsburys, Tesco and Morrisons as well as M&S and Waitrose have all now thrown their weight behind the campaign.

WWF-UK’s manager of the Global Forest and Trade Network in the UK, Julia Young, said: “Committing to WWF’s forests campaign and ensuring their businesses are not contributing to illegally sourced or unsustainable timber is a powerful and important step that will have a huge impact on some of the world’s remaining natural forests.

“If the remaining few grocery chains made the pledge they could have an incredible impact in the UK and beyond, helping save the habitats of some of the most endangered species.”

Customer care

As part of the pledge, Asda will have to ensure costumers that all their own brand products come from sustainable sources. The campaign also encourages supermarket brands to liaise with brands over the sustainability of their products sold in-store.

Asda’s sustainable business director Chris Brown said: “We are delighted to support the WWF-UK forestry campaign. Over 90% of our customers tell us that they care about being green so we know that is important to play our part to secure the world’s forests for the future.”

Timber targets

Tesco signed the pledge last year and have begun collaborating with global consumer goods companies through the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), which sees companies pledge to mobilise resources within the grocery sector and achieve zero net deforestation by 2020.

Meanwhile, M&S has made a commitment for 100% of the wood used to build and fit its stores; to run the business, and to manufacture and package its products, will be responsibly sourced by 2020 – it is currently at 98%.

Plan A sustainable development manager at M&S Fiona Wheatley said: “This campaign can only help us and we’re delighted to work with WWF to make sure business support for legal and sustainable forestry is heard loud and clear.”

In July this year, Sainsburys ranked in the top 20 for businesses in the WWF’s Timber scorecard. The scorecard ranks companies in terms of ‘trees’ with three being the highest grade. The supermarket supplies 93% of its wood from Forest Stewardship Council trees or from other certified or recycled sources.

Last year, the Climate Adaptation Framework study found that Asda was at risk of losing as much as £102m from sourcing materials due to climate change effects. 

Matt Mace

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