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edie spoke with Ferguson as the Co-op launched its new Future of Food ethical strategy

Why Co-op hasn't signed up to the UK Plastics Pact

EXCLUSIVE: The Co-op is one of the two major supermarkets yet to commit to WRAP's collaborative agreement to tackle single-use plastics, but the company's environment manager Iain Ferguson believes that an "enterprising" approach to innovation will enable the retailer to rethink approaches to packaging.

At present, just 43% of the 13 billion plastic bottles sold each year in the UK are recycled, and 700,000 are littered every day

Tesco offers money for plastic bottles in reverse vending trials

Tesco has announced that it will trial in-store reverse vending machines for plastic bottles, as it calls on the UK Government to introduce a nation-wide approach to recycling.

By 2026, it is hoped the 250 largest UK companies across the two sectors will be added to the programme

UK business giants commit to 'world-first' Roadmap to halve food waste

Some of the UK's largest supermarkets, hospitality firms and food and drink manufacturers have committed to a "world-first" initiative from WRAP to halve food waste by measuring and acting on wastage levels across a "farm-to-fork" approach.

Ryan McDonnell, Lidl’s commercial board director, said the “significant move away from black plastic demonstrates our dedication to tackling this important topic”

Lidl to stop using black plastic fruit and vegetable packaging

Lidl UK says it will remove black plastic from its entire fruit and vegetable range by the end of the month.

The system steers cold air directly back down fridge units to stop cold air from spilling out onto the aisles. Image: Williams Advanced Engineering

Asda installs Formula One technology to drive refrigeration energy savings

Supermarket Asda will install technology inspired by Formula One racing across stores, in a move that could reduce refrigeration energy consumption by 17% while lowering carbon emissions.

The easy-to-recycle alternative will be rolled out across six of Aldi's produce lines by the end of August

Aldi begins black plastics phase-out as part of packaging overhaul

Discount chain Aldi is switching a range of its fresh produce packaging from hard-to-recycle black plastic to clear, recyclable alternatives, in a move that is set to save around 265 tonnes of plastic a year.

Co-op estimates that it can help charities and small community groups to create almost eight million meals each year through its Food Share scheme

Co-op partners with The Real Junk Food Project to cut food waste

The Co-op has announced that it has started a new partnership with food redistribution scheme The Real Junk Food Project, in a bid to reduce its food waste output while tackling hunger in Leeds.

A dramatic drop in the number of bags sold by the UK's biggest supermarkets has been attributed to a sharp fall in marine litter

Sustainable shopping: How are UK supermarkets tackling plastic pollution?

Whether it's products containing microbeads, items sold in unnecessary single-use packaging, or consumers opting for plastic bags at the checkout, Britain's supermarkets are at the epicentre of the plastics problem. Here, edie examines the new actions retailers are taking to reduce avoidable plastic waste.

60% of consumers revealed a preference for products with logos that display a green message

Majority of UK consumers prefer products made using renewable energy

Almost three-quarters of UK consumers would purchase products from companies powered by renewable energy rather than firms that don't, according to new research conducted on behalf of offshore wind specialists Ørsted.

The new paper bags will cost the same amount as a bag for life

Iceland tests customer appetite for tackling plastic waste with paper bag trials

Frozen food giant Iceland has this week launched a paper bag trial, in a bid to reduce its plastics output and find out whether customers are willing to ditch plastic carrier bags at the checkout.

Several of the named supermarkets told edie they have put additional human rights measures in place

Report: UK supermarkets failing to protect supply chain workers' rights

The UK's largest supermarkets "routinely" implement weak human rights policies in their supply chains, "exerting relentless pressure" on their suppliers while "trapping" overseas workers in poverty, a new report from Oxfam has claimed.

Sorting machines previously could not detect black plastics because of the carbon pigment, which meant they were generally get sent to landfill

M&S, Sainsbury’s and Tesco team up on closed-loop solution for black plastics

Supermarket giants Tesco, Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer (M&S) have collaborated to introduce a solution for hard-to-recycle black plastic that places recycled content into food-grade packaging.

Morrisons claims its alternative paper produce bags will be 100% recyclable and biodegradable

Morrisons rolls out paper bags in produce aisles to cut plastic waste

Supermarket chain Morrisons has announced that it will stop offering single-use plastic bags in its fruit and vegetable aisles, in a bid to cut its plastic output by 150 million bags each year.

Sustainability leadership: It's all about the journey

There's nothing new in businesses taking a leading role in social change, but there's growing evidence that it is beginning to happen on a scale we haven't seen before.

Strong collective performance across the UK supermarket industry is held back by Iceland, Morrisons and Marks and Spencer (M&S)

Aldi tops UK supermarkets for sustainable seafood products

Aldi has edged out Sainsbury's and Lidl in offering the largest amount of sustainable seafood to UK customers, according to new findings from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

According to the report, greater transparency is required to enable businesses to address sustainability and hygiene concerns as they arise

Consumer demand for transparency to disrupt food sector, report finds

Public trust in the food sector has eroded to an "all-time low", with a new report commissioned by premium food supplier Cranswick warning that heightened consumer demand for increased transparency looks set to disrupt the sector.

Around 600,000 straws will be converted to home compostable material as a result

Waitrose builds on plastics pledge by switching to paper straws in cafes

Waitrose has revealed it will build on a commitment to stop selling packs of single-use plastics straws later this year, by replacing all plastic straws used in its onsite cafes with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper alternatives.

Are reuse and refill missing pieces of our sustainable packaging jigsaw?

Last week the Church of England and Members of Parliament pledged to go single-use plastic-free for the 40 days of Lent, while the BBC plans to be similarly plastic-free in its operations by 2020. These are the latest (at time of writing at least) in an ever-growing list of sustainable packaging commitments being made at an almost breakneck pace.

Asda was among leading retailers which refused to reveal the exact amount of waste they trigger, saying the information was “commercially sensitive”

Asda joins wave of supermarkets pledging to cut plastic waste

Asda has become the latest supermarket to join the war against plastic by pledging to reduce it "wherever" it can, including slashing the amount in its own-brand packaging by 10% in the next 12 months.

The two companies join retailer Iceland in committing to tackle the growing issue of plastic waste

McDonald's and Waitrose lead business charge against plastic waste

Fast food giant McDonald's and UK retailer Waitrose are the latest companies to publicly announce plans to tackle the growing issue of plastic waste, with McDonald's setting a 2025 commitment to boost the recyclability of its packaging and Waitrose reaffirming its packaging commitments that it made in 2017.

The Felix Project recently launched its Help a Hungry Child campaign – which works with primary schools to divert excess food to vulnerable families

Renault's electric van to lower operational costs for London food redistribution charity

Efforts to reduce food waste across London will now also combat the city's rising air pollution levels, after Renault UK agreed to provide an electric van to a charity food redistribution scheme.

Some are using Black Friday to swim against the tide and attempt to create a sense of environmental stewardship against a backdrop of material gluttony

Black Friday: An ideal selling point for sustainability-conscious retailers?

Black Friday, which has since birthed its tech-savvy offspring Cyber Monday, is upon us again, but while retailers attend to whip up a frenzy to boost sales some companies are using the commercial event to highlight their commitments to sustainability.

Satsumas and other easy-peelers, as well as oranges, initially grow as a green fruit but turn orange as nights cool

Tesco stocks green satsumas in drive to reduce food waste

Tesco has started selling "green" satsumas and clementines after relaxing its quality specifications in its latest attempt to reduce food waste.

Beyond the carrier bags

The success of the 5p carrier bag charge shows just how influential supermarkets can be in encouraging shoppers to adopt sustainable practices. How can they innovate to keep up the momentum asks Shilen Patel, CEO of Independents United.

The whitepaper notes that food retailers should have installed 18,500 low GWP systems in 2015 alone

Report: European retailers behind schedule on HFC phase-out

One year on from the Kigali deal to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and reduce global warming, a new report has highlighted that European retailers are behind schedule to implement natural refrigerants into operations.

Food retailers should take advantage of the HFC phase-down for a more sustainable future

Since the signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987, a global agreement to phase-down CFCs and other substances that deplete the ozone layer, we've come a long way. The hole in the ozone layer has made a significant recovery and perhaps more importantly, the agreement demonstrated that the world can make and stick to a challenging decision for the global good.

Are you veg-curious? The sustainability benefits of plant-based diets at work

Vegetables seem to be having a 'moment' right now. While full vegetarianism or veganism remain off-putting for a lot of people, there is a rise in all kinds of almost vegetarian ideas and mini-movements.

Clear and consistent labelling has increased by 15% since the SSC was founded in 2011

UK's largest foodservice firm commits to sustainable seafood pledge

Compass UK & Ireland is the first major food foodservice company to join the Sustainable Seafood Coalition (SSC), committing to voluntary codes of conduct regarding the sourcing and labelling of all seafood products.

More than 140 products including crisps and popcorn have been put in smaller, redesigned packets with reduced air pocket, but the same amount of food

M&S slashes plastic use in food packaging to cut waste

A major UK supermarket has slashed the amount of packaging used for its popular snacks such as crisps and popcorn by reducing the pocket of air at the top of the bag.

#BreakFreeFromPlastic: Yes we can (recycle plastic bags)

On International Plastic Bag Free Day (3 July), let's consider the facts: the UK is still addicted to plastic bags. Even after the 5p charge was implemented in October 2015, supermarkets still sold 640 million plastic bags in just six months.

The role of big business in addressing the unseen threat to climate change

The role of big business in climate change mitigation is one which has been heavily documented, and in a positive step last week we saw businesses acknowledge their role in this by calling for the introduction of a worldwide carbon pricing system, led by the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition.

London: the world’s first click and collect city?

Across London, there is evidence of how we are re-engineering the city to be able to encourage future growth and ensure we remain a leader on the world stage. There is an opportunity within the 2017 Mayor's Transport Strategy (MTS) to make London the world's first click and collect city.

A capitalist agenda based on unbound profitability is being challenged by a new wave of economies focused on sustainable and responsible growth

Sustainability megatrends: Realising the business case for sustainable economic growth

edie's series of exclusive thought-leadership articles on the global impact of megatrends culminates with New Climate Economy's programme director Helen Mountford exploring how businesses and governments are developing more sustainable models of economic growth that are fit for the future.

The 42-page report is part of the WI’s ongoing campaign to reduce food waste, calling on all supermarkets to sign up to a voluntary agreement to avoid food waste

Women's Institute urges supermarkets to do more to cut food waste

The Women's Institute is urging supermarkets to do more to help consumers reduce their domestic food waste, after a survey of its own membership revealed widespread confusion about "best before" and "use by" labelling on packaging.

UK businesses will be called upon throughout the new Courtauld 2025 scheme to investigate innovate methods of encouraging consumer waste reduction

Innovation must be at heart of food waste fight, industry experts agree

EXCLUSIVE: Open-source innovation will be a central tool to help businesses meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3 objective of halving global food waste by 2030, a group of industry experts including the heads of Tesco and WRAP have told edie.

Food for thought: What makes a ’good' restaurant?

Britain has undergone a food revolution. Where once we were Europe's poor relation, now we are a world leader. We boast more varieties of cheese than France and barely a day passes without reports of a new food trend or fad. The quality and variety of food available in supermarkets, farmers' markets and artisan shops across the country has never been greater.

Smart businesses should recognise their electricity is no longer a utility

Today (31 January), the National Grid will invite bids to provide 53.6GW of capacity to help keep the lights on when electricity supplies run low next winter, through the Capacity Market Auction.

We must get behind wonky veg in the food waste war

As the food waste debate rages on, we need to leverage increased consumer interest to encourage real change in waste disposal attitudes and methods across the supply chain

Companies that are actively pushing the agenda are doing so through their supply chains, by seeking to drive improvements in farming practices

Brands committed to strengthening animal welfare management in supply chains

UK supermarkets Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Waitrose have been listed amongst the best performing businesses for the management and reporting of farm animal welfare, although others have been warned to adhere to best practice as tougher regulations are introduced.

Sainsbury's has already made a further £1 million fund available to towns and cities across the UK, to help them tackle food waste at the consumer stage

Sainsbury's sees surge in demand for regional food waste campaign

As the spotlight on reducing consumer food waste intensified this week, Sainsbury’s director of corporate affairs Louise Evans has revealed that the supermarket has seen a surge in applications from town and cities to take part in its campaign to tackle household food waste.

Carbon Trust: ZERO WASTE TO LANDFILL

How your organisation can reduce its environmental impact through reuse, recycling or recovery

edie explains: Water retail competition

This edie explains: Water retail competition guide provides an in-depth summary of the government-led strategy which will allow all non- domestic water users to switch suppliers of water retail services.

The Winnow app identifies how much and what type of food is being thrown away, and calculates how much that waste costs

EAC chair trials food waste app with Sainsbury's

Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) chair Mary Creagh is among five British MPs that have volunteered to take part in a trial for an innovative new food waste app launched by supermarket giant Sainsbury's.

Supermarket food waste grabs headlines but the bigger story is in the supply chain

Food waste may not be the most glamorous of topics, yet in the last year it has been the focus of a BBC1 series, made front page news in the London Evening Standard on a near-nightly basis and, perhaps most surprisingly, caused Tesco CEO Dave Lewis to hug Sainsbury's CEO Mike Coupe live on stage at last month's Consumer Goods Forum in Paris.

More than 100 community leaders have signed up to the supermarket's campaign to reduce food waste across towns and cities

Sainsbury's announces second stage of food waste campaign

Supermarket chain Sainsbury's has announced the next step in its "Waste less, Save More" campaign, investing £1m into towns and cities across the UK to cut back on food waste.

Learning from the French on food waste: carrots could be more effective than sticks

The French food waste law introduced earlier this year, which requires supermarkets and other food businesses to establish relationships with food redistribution charities - with penalties running to thousands of Euros for those who fail to do so - has sparked a great deal of discussion here in the UK, where we waste an incredible 10 million tonnes of food every year.

edie Sustainability Leaders Forum - full programme

No longer a matter of compliance, sustainability is a strategic imperative as investors, NGOs, employees and consumers demand more from organisations. But what does sustainability leadership look like in an uncertain regulatory climate and how will that evolve as business leaders take a critical, long-term view of their growth strategies?

Has the plastic bag tax achieved anything?

It's been almost a year since the 5p plastic bag tax was introduced in England and the expected chaos foreseen by some thankfully has not come into fruition. In the main, most of us are now pretty much used to bringing a 'Bag for Life' to the supermarket and saying no to the offer of a plastic bag when we have only a few items to carry from the checkout.

Wonky fruit & veg: turning an environmental problem into a social solution

Once considered the 'ugly sisters' of the fresh produce world, imperfect fruit and wonky veg have been firmly in the media spotlight for a while now, and if a recent survey of supermarket managers proves to be correct, they may even turn out to be the saviour in our collective fight against food waste. Certainly, retailers have reported that wonky veg boxes are flying off the shelves.

90% of grocery managers believe that customers will buy 'imperfect' fruit and vegetables at a discount

Can 'wonky veg' unite consumers and supermarkets in the food waste battle?

With UK supermarkets struggling to meet impending food waste targets, a new questionnaire reveals that retailers believe consumers are more than willing to turn to wonky veg as a sustainable solution that would be a "clear benefit to all".

Supported by the Sustainable Development Goals, retailers are now able to strengthen their individual CSR policies at a boardroom level

Policies, data and imports: tackling the trilemma of collaboration for Britain's retailers

In the wake of some key waste and resource efficiency issues being brought to light within the UK retail sector, edie's Matt Mace speaks to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) about how to drive collaboration in this highly-competitive market as a means to deliver low-carbon, resource-efficient ways of doing business.

Your country needs YOU to fight the War on Waste

From coffee cups to wonky veg, consumers must play a part in reducing waste as well as businesses.

Tesco sold close to 319.7 million single-use plastic bags between October 2015 and April 2016 – around the same as the other six major retailers combined

Carrier bag data reveals varying approaches to CSR among Britain's supermarkets

With new Defra figures revealing that the 5p plastic bag charge has led to a huge decline in the number of bags being handed out by retailers in England, a closer look at the data reveals a significant difference in the way the charge is now being managed by the country's biggest supermarkets.

Earlier this year, France implemented a ban on supermarkets forbidding them from throwing away unsold food

EFRA launches food waste inquiry as Europe gears up to tackle supermarket waste

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee has launched a new inquiry to establish the impacts of the seven million tonnes of food waste produced in the UK, as a European-wide campaign to ban supermarkets from throwing away food closes in on a major milestone.

Gold-diggers: Sustainability professionals need to know exactly how to approach their board, and must be able to present a compelling case for investment

Into the Dragon's Den: A guide to boardroom buy-in on sustainability

In this three-part 'guide to' series for sustainability professionals, edie asks the experts about how to overcome major challenges and seize hidden opportunities on the path to driving green business. First up: the daunting task of getting the board on-board.

Report findings are being shared with businesses in the food and drink sector as part of the Courtauld Commitment 2025

Grocery supply chains worth £300m in food waste war, finds WRAP

Grocery retailers and supply chain operators are missing out on a £300m windfall, and the chance to increase supply-chain redistribution streams four-fold, by failing to tackle food waste issues, new analysis from WRAP has revealed.

Sainsbury's AD partnership with ReFood helps the retailer deliver its commitment to send zero operational waste to landfill

Sainsbury's set to expand AD scheme to power more stores from food waste

A scheme which sees a number of Sainsbury's supermarkets powered by renewable energy generated from food waste is to be rolled out to a further six stores, after a successful first year saw green gas produce 10% of the retailer's entire national energy consumption.

The announcement from M&S marks a welcome progression in the movement towards sustainable seafood in the retail industry

M&S becomes first retailer to make Responsible Fishing pledge

Marks & Spencer (M&S) has made an industry-leading commitment to support and improve the environmental sustainability of the fishing sector by signing up to the UK's Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS).

Rooftop solar - the way ahead lies above our heads

Are our rooftops being under-utilised for power generation?

Under the Courtald Commitment 2025, brands will be given an optional choice to cut food and drink waste and the associated carbon emissions by one fifth by 2025

10 years to save £20bn: WRAP unveils revamped Courtauld Commitment 'to transform food industry'

The Government's Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is today (15 March) urging Britain's food and drink firms to pledge major reductions in food waste and carbon emissions - which could deliver £20bn in savings for the UK economy - through its pioneering new Courtald Commitment 2025.

Fareshare director of food Mark Varney spoke at an All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group supply chain event in London last week

Food waste: Focus must shift from supermarkets to supply chains

EXCLUSIVE: Food waste campaigners should stop 'beating up the supermarkets' and instead look further up the supply chain at the untapped redistribution potential of thousands of processors and manufacturers, Britain's largest food redistribution charity has said.

The new vegetable box will go on sale in 128 stores across the UK.

Asda puts UK's first supermarket wonky veg box on sale

The UK's first supermarket 'wonky vegetable' box went on sale on Friday, containing enough ugly potatoes and knobbly carrots to feed a family of four for an entire week for just £3.50.

Lidl will switch the majority of its banana to Rainforest Alliance-certified farms by the end of the year

Lidl goes 100% sustainable with bananas

Lidl will only sell bananas that are sourced from farms that are either Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade-certified, the German discount retailer has announced.

Asda will help social enterprises sell products directly to members of the public via supermarkets

Asda uses carrier bag charge to fund social enterprise scheme

Asda has used money it has generated from the carrier bag charge to fund a ground-breaking new scheme in Scotland which aims to increase the availability of supermarket products that have a positive social or environmental impact.

 An estimated 15m tonnes of food is thrown away in the UK each year

UK consumers waste twice as much food as they think, Sainsbury's finds

British families squander twice as much money on food waste each month as they think they do, according to YouGov research commissioned by Sainsbury's.

The campaign aims to follow on from the exposure generated by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's War on Waste TV series

Stop the Rot: Skip of food waste arrives at supermarket HQs

A skip full of food waste has been delivered to various supermarket headquarters across the UK, as part of a new campaign supported by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and environmentalist George Monbiot.

Since the launch of this partnership Tesco and its customers have donated 27.5 million meals to FareShare

Tesco fights war on waste with revamped food donation scheme

UK retail giant Tesco has announced it is donating a further 700,000 meals from its 10 distribution centres to charities in an attempt to reduce the amount of surplus food the company is producing.

The Hammond family farm in Norfolk are forced to throw away more than 20 tonnes of waste parsnips a week

Hugh's war on food waste: Are supermarkets doing enough?

Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has gone to war on waste, with a new TV show highlighting the food waste caused by exacting supermarket standards. But the retailers have been quick to tell edie about the steps they're taking to tackle the problem.

Retailers account for just over 1% of the estimated annual 15m tonnes of UK food waste

UK supermarkets slash food waste by 20,000 tonnes

The UK's leading retailers have banded together to reduce supermarket food waste by 20,000 tonnes over the past year, according to a new report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).


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