Greener supermarket guide

If you haven't done your Christmas grocery shopping yet, how will you decide which supermarket to go to? The closest or the greenest?

In a survey by Ethical Consumer magazine shoppers are urged to cut the environmental cost of their shopping by choosing Marks and Spencer or the Co-op, who they name as the UK’s greenest supermarkets. Down at the other end of the scale were Tesco, ASDA and Netto.

The environmental and ethical performance of 19 of the country’s leading supermarkets and convenience stores were scrutinised in the survey.

The survey, the Ethical Consumer buyers’ guide, includes detailed analysis of the companies’ Corporate and Social Responsibility reports.

The results reveal that a clear divide now exists between the top two performing supermarkets, namely the Co-op and Marks and Spencer and the other 17 companies.

Policies highlighted in the survey were the Co-ops fish policy and Marks and Spencers palm oil policies.

The Co-op’s goal is to operate its fish sourcing policy in line with the aims and objectives of the Marine Stewardship Council. The supermarket also aims to use 98% renewable electricity in its 5,500 sites across the UK.

Marks and Spencers is currently working with WWF on palm oil policy and also scored well for its climate change related policies which include a target of using non crop-derived biofuels in its fleet of vehicles.

Ethical Consumer spokesman and co-author of the buyers’ guide Rob Harrison said:”If you’re lucky enough to live close to a local independent shop that has an ethical stocking policy then this is where we would recommend people to shop.

“However the reality is that the vast majority of us now shop in supermarkets and we would therefore urge shoppers to choose either the Co-op or M&S.”

“These two companies have made genuine efforts to reduce the environmental and ethical impact of their operations and have demonstrated that they are setting the environmental agenda for supermarkets.”

Alison Brown

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