Sainsbury's to double British sourcing by 2020

13 October 2011

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13 October 2011 | Adam Leach

Supermarket chain Sainsbury's will double the amount of British produce it sells in its stores by 2020 as part of a £1 billion sustainability plan.

In order to meet the goal, announced yesterday as part of its 20 by 20 sustainability plan, the retailer will work closely with the British farming industry to increase its offering of high-quality, seasonal and local food, which it believes will match customer demand.

The report also outlined a number of measures the company is taking to support its supplier base to achieve the target. The measures include forming development groups to help increase production yields while reducing environmental impact and carrying out research to identify a more sustainable growing process.

Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers Union, welcomed the announcement. “We’re delighted to see Sainsbury’s commitment to double its sourcing of British food,” he said. “It recognises the high quality and standards of production that British farmers meet and that consumers increasingly expect in the food that they buy.”

Sainsbury’s also plans to halve emissions within its own brand goods supply chain by working with vendors. In pursuit of this goal, it has already developed a tool to measure carbon footprint, designed specifically for use by farmers that has the potential to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions by 10 per cent each year. A supplier carbon efficiency programme is currently being developed and will be accompanied by supplier forums where best practice will be shared across the supply chain.

Other targets laid out in 20 by 20 include ensuring all fish sold is independently certified as sustainable, sourcing all meat, poultry, eggs, game and dairy from suppliers with high welfare standards, and putting all waste to positive use, such as using it to generate energy through anaerobic digestion – a project developed by the procurement team that scooped the top prize at the 2009 CIPS SM Awards.

Sainsbury’s chief executive, Justin King, said in a statement: “If we are to meet the sustainability challenges that lie ahead, it is important that companies such as Sainsbury’s invest in the future right now.”

Last month, the company was singled out as sector leader in the Dow JonesSustainability Index.


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