Supermarket supply chain emissions have increased since the commitment made at last year’s COP summit to halve the environmental impact of food purchases by 2030.
A WWF report billed as the most comprehensive study to date of the food sector’s contribution to climate change found that scope 3 emissions among retailers reporting over the past year had increased by 5% .
Although Scope 1 and 2 emissions decreased by 4% and 43% respectively, the report indicates that the vast majority (97%) of participating retailers’ greenhouse gas emissions were in scope. 3, from supply chains.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Co-op and M&S, who all signed the historic pledges at the Glasgow rally a year ago, today pledged to ‘accelerate’ their measures, including rapid progress on a 3 emission coherent range measurement system.
The WWF has urged other supermarkets to sign its pledges.
The report found that retailers had a “long way to go” if they were to meet their targets.
Goals also include ensuring that at least 50% of whole foods and grains are certified or covered by a strong environmental program, improving sourcing of meat, dairy and eggs, including as ingredients , and ensure that 50% of fresh food comes from sustainable water areas. agricultural management and emissions have been reduced in line with “science-based” climate change targets of 1.5°C.
“While there have already been strong commitments and good progress made on Scope 2, we are still at the start of the climate journey, particularly with regard to Scope 3 emissions. “, says today’s report.
“Action is needed at every step of the food value chain, backed by strong and clear government policy, if emissions are to reduce at the required rate.”
Earlier this year, Wrap announced it was working on an industry-wide measurement and reporting protocol for retailers, suppliers and hospitality businesses, amid fears that a confusing myriad of systems different used by companies hinder progress. However, the initiative must stop before a mandatory reporting commitment.
Today’s report also reveals that supermarkets still have a long way to go to reach a commitment of plant-based foods representing 50% of protein sales by 2030, with the figure currently at 9%.
The WWF said supermarkets should increase shelf space for plant-based products and place them in higher positions, as well as move animal-based products to lower shelves and reduce their proportion of space on the shelves.
He called on the government to set targets for reducing consumption of meat, dairy and eggs and rewrite the Eatwell Plate guidelines to take account of product sustainability, which The Grocer revealed in June was being scrutinized by government health experts.
Today’s report also found mixed progress in reducing deforestation, with 62% of palm oil coming from verified supply chains with no deforestation or conversion, but only 6% of soy, commonly used as animal feed for chickens and pigs.
“Nature is in freefall, and we know that 60% of global biodiversity loss and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the food system,” said WWF CEO Tanya Steele. “We salute the transparency of the supermarkets which have shared their environmental data with the WWF.
“Shoppers want to know that their purchases are not contributing to the destruction of our planet, so we urge other supermarkets to join the five who have committed to our goal of halving the environmental impact of our food purchases by 2030.”
In a joint statement, Shirine Khoury-Haq, CEO of Co-op, Stuart Machin, CEO of M&S, Simon Roberts, CEO of Sainsbury, Ken Murphy, CEO of Tesco, and James Bailey, Chief Executive of Waitrose, said: “WWF’s findings leave no doubt about the scale of the task we have collectively agreed to undertake when it comes to improving our food supply chains and enabling a sustainable shopping experience for our clients.
“We reaffirm our commitment to work with the WWF, our customers, our suppliers and the UK government to halve the environmental impact of UK shopping baskets by 2030. We believe this target is achievable and vital for the UK. future of nature, our planet, our businesses and, above all, our customers.