The CEOs of five major UK supermarkets have committed to slash their impact across climate, deforestation and nature and lead the way for the whole food retail sector to halve its overall impact on the natural world by 2030, as tracked by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Joining forces for the first time, the companies have urged the rest of the sector, from major brands to manufacturers, to commodity traders and governments to take action for nature and climate to help achieve this ambition.
These supermarkets alone reach more than 50 percent of UK food shoppers, meaning their commitment will help millions of UK families make their weekly shop greener and protect vital landscapes and species around the world.
In signing WWF’s Retailers’ Commitment for Nature, the leaders of Co-op, M&S Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose agreed:
‘As CEOs of leading UK food retailers, we recognise that a future without nature is a future without food. By 2030 we collectively need to halt the loss of nature.’
“We can’t tackle climate change and keep global temperature rise to 1.5oC without halting nature loss - and we can’t save nature without changing what’s on our supermarket shelves,” commented Tanya Steele, WWF’s Chief Executive.
The steps these supermarkets are taking will feed into WWF’s annual assessment that will track the food retail sector’s overall progress, including alignment with government ambitions to end deforestation and ecosystem destruction in key UK supply chains.
This is an important step as most of the palm oil (89 percent) and soy (65 percent) imported to the UK comes from countries with high deforestation and habitat destruction rates.
“The food industry is central in co-operating for a fairer, more responsible world to reduce the negative impact of our operations on the environment. Collectively we are facing huge challenges and the future of food globally is at risk if we don’t act together to drive positive change,” noted Steve Murrells, CEO of Co-op Group.
“This year, we unveiled our comprehensive Ten-Point Climate Plan to address our impacts across our business and beyond, but no business can solve this crisis alone. We all have a part to play which is why we’re signing up to the WWF aim.”
Ken Murphy, Tesco CEO added that tackling the impact the food system has on the planet will require transformational change and collaboration across the industry.
“It’s great to see fellow food retailers coming together and committing to building on the work Tesco and WWF initiated to halve the environmental impact of UK baskets. We’re calling on more food businesses to play their part and join us in transforming the food system for the good of the planet.”