Tesco and WWF announced this month (November) a ground-breaking, long-term partnership with the aim of reducing the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket by 50%, improving the sustainability of food while ensuring it remains affordable for all.
Food production is at the centre of key environmental issues, including climate change and biodiversity loss, as was clearly set out in WWF's recent Living Planet Report 2018.
Working together, Tesco and WWF want to address these issues, focusing on three key areas of activity:
- Helping customers eat more sustainable diets;
- Restoring nature in food production; and
- Eliminating food and packaging waste from the sector.
The partnership comes as new research by the two organisations reveals that demand for sustainable food is high, with nearly 80% of shoppers wanting supermarkets to do more to offer food that is sourced in a responsible, sustainable way.
However, it also showed there are still obstacles deterring shoppers, with 59% confused about which foods count as 'sustainable' and 75% thinking cost is a barrier.
The research was carried out by Walnut Unlimited on behalf of Tesco and WWF with a sample size of more than 2,000 people.
Dave Lewis, Tesco Group CEO said:
"Our Little Helps Plan illustrates what we are doing to address the most significant environmental and social challenges facing our shoppers, colleagues, suppliers, and communities. I'm pleased we're making progress, but we want to go further to achieve our goal of providing customers with affordable, healthy, sustainable food.
"Partnering with WWF will help us make our customers' shopping baskets more sustainable. Our shared ambition is to reduce the environmental impact of the average shopping basket by half. By working with farmers, suppliers, colleagues and other experts we hope to develop innovative solutions so shoppers can put affordable, tasty food on their plates today, confident they are not compromising the future of food for generations to come."
Tanya Steele, WWF UK CEO said:
"Our flagship Living Planet Report 2018 recently revealed that the world is under threat like never before - we're destroying forests, choking the oceans with plastic, decimating wildlife and causing devastating changes to our climate. And it's the demand for food that poses one of the biggest dangers to our planet. It's the leading cause of deforestation, destroying countless habitats and threatening wildlife to the point of extinction.
"We have the power to not only stop, but to reverse the damage, if we act now. That is why we are delighted to be partnering with Tesco, to help create a food system that doesn't cost the Earth."
Building on the findings of the report, the partnership will play an important role in delivering Tesco's existing sustainability commitments set out in its Little Helps Plan. Since publishing the Plan a year ago, Tesco has made significant progress in each of its three key areas: People; Places; and Products.
Beginning in 2018, the partnership between WWF and Tesco will run for four years.