Tesco and WWF to map environmental impacts

The environmental impact of popular foods will be measured and, for the first time, tracked following the launch of the Tesco and WWF Sustainable Basket Metric, with the target of halving the impact of the average UK shopping basket by 2030.

The Metric will track the environmental impact of the most regularly purchased foods against key sustainability criteria, including climate change, deforestation and food and packaging waste. Tesco and WWF will run a first full assessment against the metric in early 2020 and publish the results.

The products included in the basket have been selected due to their popularity with customers and the different impacts each product has on the environment. The basket includes household staples such as bread, milk, meat, fish, and fruit and vegetables.

Each product’s impact will be tracked against a number of relevant environmental criteria. The seven criteria have been selected due to their scope and global impact; their irreversibility and urgency; and their direct impact on issues such as climate change. While all seven criteria are critical to making the average UK shopping basket more sustainable, some have a greater environmental impact than others, so they have been weighted accordingly.

These are: climate change (25 per cent), deforestation (20 per cent), sustainable diets (15 per cent), sustainable agriculture (12 per cent), marine sustainability (10 per cent), food waste (10 per cent) and packaging waste (8 per cent). Each criterion will include sub-metrics.

Tesco Group CEO, Dave Lewis said: “Throughout our partnership, we’ll be carrying out industry-leading work to make food production more sustainable, including sourcing commodities like soy and palm oil from verified zero-deforestation areas, and improving soil health and water usage on farms in the UK. Working together we can help to ensure the natural environment is protected for future generations.”

Tesco plans to use the Sustainable Basket Metric across more of its products, with the criteria applicable to a wide range of products not included in the basket. For example, the criteria related to lettuce, such as sustainable agriculture and food waste - and any work to tackle them, will also relate to other similar vegetables such as spinach, chard and other salad leaves.

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