LONDON (Reuters) – Morrisons has pledged to be the first supermarket group completely supplied by net zero carbon British farms by 2030, five years ahead of the market, it said on Monday.
The group is Britain’s fourth biggest supermarket group by sales after market leader Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda but is British farming’s biggest customer.
Reaching net zero, or carbon neutral, means achieving a state where farming activities result in no impact on the climate from greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2019 Britain became the first G7 country to set in law a net zero emissions target by 2050, which will require wholesale changes in the way Britons travel, use energy and eat.
Morrisons said British agriculture currently accounts for 10% of all UK greenhouse gas emissions.
The National Farmers Union has asked farmers to work towards a 2040 net zero goal, and other supermarket groups are working towards a 2035 target.
Morrisons said that over the next nine years, it will work directly with its 3,000 farmers and growers to produce affordable net zero carbon meat, poultry, fruit and vegetables.
It expects the first products to reach net zero carbon status will be eggs in 2022, followed by lamb, fruit, vegetables, pork and beef in the following years.
“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges for our generation and growing food is a key contributor to greenhouse gas emissions,” said Morrisons CEO David Potts.
“As British farming’s biggest supermarket customer, we’re in a unique position to guide our farms and help lead changes in environmental practices.”
The farms Morrisons uses will look to reduce carbon emissions through rearing different animal breeds, using low food-mile feedstuffs, renewable energy and low emission housing, as well as cutting down water and fertiliser use.
They will also offset carbon emissions by planting grassland, clover and trees, restoring peatland and seeding hedgerows.
(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Emelia Sithole)