Tesco and WWF aim to halve environment impact of UK shopping baskets

Tesco and WWF have today (16 November) announced a four-year partnership which aims to deliver sustainable and healthy food, while halving the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket.

WWF UK boss Tanya Steele and Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis. Image: Andrew Parsons

WWF UK boss Tanya Steele and Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis. Image: Andrew Parsons

As part of the new alliance, Tesco and WWF will focus on helping customers eat more sustainably, restoring nature in food production and eliminating food and packaging waste from the sector.

The pair will work together to create a “pioneering” industry measure of the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket, based on foods and ingredients.

“Partnering with WWF will help us make our customers’ shopping baskets more sustainable,” Tesco’s chief executive Dave Lewis said. “Our shared ambition is to reduce the environmental impact of the average shopping basket by half.

“By working with farmers, suppliers, colleagues and other experts we hope to develop innovative solutions so shoppers can put affordable, tasty food on their plates today, confident they are not compromising the future of food for generations to come.”

Reversing the damage

The partnership comes as new research by the two organisations shows that demand for sustainable food is high, with almost 80% of consumers keen for supermarkets to do more to offer food that is sourced responsibly.

But there are still barriers discouraging shoppers – nearly 60% said they were confused about which foods count as sustainable and 75% seeing cost as an obstacle.  

Last month, WWF’s Living Planet report revealed that humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, leading experts to warn that the annihilation of wildlife is now an emergency that threatens civilisation.

“We have the power to not only stop, but to reverse the damage, if we act now,” said WWF UK’s chief executive Tanya Steele. “That is why we are delighted to be partnering with Tesco, to help create a food system that doesn’t cost the Earth.”

Tesco last month pledged to remove "best before" dates from more than 100 of its fruit and vegetable lines, as it strives to meet a target to halve its food waste output by 2025. This came after the UK’s largest supermarket committed itself to a new zero-deforestation target.


Tesco at edie’s Sustainability Leaders Forum

Tesco's head of environment Kené Umeasiegbu will appear at edie’s Sustainability Leaders Forum to discuss how the company is aligning itself with a 1.5C trajectory through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), along with speakers from Carlsberg and BT. 

The two-day event, taking place 5 & 6 February 2019 at the Building Design Centre, London, will also include debates on how to solve the plastics crisis and the state of corporate action on sustainable packaging. 

For more information and to register for the Forum, click here.


George Ogleby


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