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 WWF.
Joining forces for the first time, they are today (06 November) urging the rest of the sector, from major brands and 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% of UK food shoppers, so today’s commitment will help millions of UK families make their weekly shop greener and protect vital landscapes and species around the world.
The food we produce and the food we buy is responsible for 60% of global nature loss and globally contributes over a third of total greenhouse gas emissions – nearly 19 times that of the commercial airline industry.
‘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.’
WWF’s chief executive
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.’
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 the majority of palm oil (89%) and soy (65%) imported to the UK comes from countries with high deforestation and habitat destruction rates.
WWF’s Retailers’ Commitment for Nature builds on work started by WWF with Tesco to reduce environmental impacts of food production across key areas.
Today’s commitment is backed by a WWF blueprint that outlines over 100 steps that all food retailers can take to protect nature and has the potential to transform our food system and regenerate our forests, rivers and seas.
‘Food production is one of the biggest threats to our planet and we will only tackle the climate and nature emergency if food retailers play their part.
‘The promises these CEOs have made are game changing and we hope other food retailers will follow in their footsteps so that every shopper can be confident that the products they buy aren’t fuelling the climate crisis and pushing precious wildlife closer to the brink.’
WWF’s chief executive
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