From carbon software to low-emission fertilizer: Tesco and WWF name winners of supply chain innovation programme

As part of its partnership with WWF, Tesco launched a programme in 2022 enabling cleantech start-ups to trial their technologies and processes at the retailer’s major produce, meat, fish and dairy suppliers.

Called ‘Innovation Connections’, the scheme will pair startups with suppliers that are well-positioned to trial their innovations. Each successful pairing of supplier and start-up will receive up to £150,000 in funding from Tesco to help pilot and scale new technologies.

The five Innovation Connections winners are:

  • AgriSound– Producers of technology that helps fruit and vegetable farmers to monitor pollinator and pest levels using in-field sensors. This data can be used to implement targeted interventions.
  • – Producers of a monitoring system that uses birdsong as a biodiversity indicator in grassland animal agriculture.
  • CCm and Andermatt – A partnership producing low-emission fertilizers suitable for potato production. CCm uses captures CO2 rom industrial activity to stabilise key materials like ammonia.
  • FCT – Producers of a carbon footprint software for horticultural growers, covering both emissions and sequestration.
  • Future by Insects – Manufacturers of a fish feed produced using microalgae grown using food waste. This approach purports to cut emissions and resuource use.

Tesco’s responsible sourcing director Giles Bolton said: “To create a food system that provides healthy, sustainable and affordable food for all, the whole sector needs to find ways to innovate fast. The quality of the joint pitches at our Innovation Connections event was extremely high and showed the breadth of innovation that is already going on in our food system.

“We’re delighted to be announcing five worthy winners and seeing the impact they can make by supporting them to scale up in our supply chain.”

The winning projects will now have their solutions trialled across Tesco’s supply chain.

The overarching goal of Tesco and WWF’s partnership is to halve the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket by 2030, compared with a 2019 baseline. Four other supermarkets signed on to that commitment at COP26 last November. Impact is measured on a life-cycle basis and the methodology includes information relating to emissions, deforestation, food waste and packaging waste. The wider role that supply chains have to play in promoting sustainable food systems and more sustainable diets are also considered.

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