Supermarkets charge with plastics deception

Retailers across Europe are guilty of promoting false solutions to the plastic pollution crisis and perpetuating double standards, a new report finds.

In the first-ever analysis of the role European supermarkets play in addressing plastic pollution, Under wraps? What Europe’s supermarkets aren’t telling us about plastic, is a result of collaboration of over 20 NGOs, members of Break Free from Plastic movement, from across Europe.

The specially designed ranking developed by The Changing Markets Foundation revealed a near-complete lack of ambition across three categories of questions on the topics of: Transparency and performance, commitments, and support for Government policy.

The overall average score achieved by retailers was only 13.1 out of 100.

Of 130 retailers contacted, only 39 retailers provided a written response to the coalition’s questionnaire, but many of these responses did not provide meaningful replies to the questions. Further analysis of 74 retailers across 13 countries revealed a concerning lack of actions to tackle the plastic crisis.

Overall, retailers from the UK and France scored 39.6 per cent and 23.3 percent respectively. No other country achieved a total average of more than 20 per cent. The average score achieved by retailers in Spain, the Czech Republic and Estonia was below 10 per cent.
Although supermarkets in the UK performed well, the report uncovered double standards for brands with international operations extending across Europe. For example, Lidl, a brand from the biggest European retail group Schwarz, achieved a good score of 44.7 percent in the UK whilst only achieving between 13 per cent and 23.7 per cent in other countries such as Germany and the Czech Republic.

Similarly, ALDI Süd was the top performer in the UK and Ireland, with 65.3 per cent and 61 per cent respectively, but it only achieved 11 per cent in Austria, where it operates under the name Hofer, and 25.7 per cent in Germany.

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