New Report Puts Supermarkets On Notice to Get Greener: See How They Rated

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Image from Guardian

A report card by a government agency has rated 9 of Britain's supermarkets on their environmental standards and slammed some of them for their "dismal" performance. At the top of the "A" list was Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury's, Waitrose got a B, Tesco a C and Asda a D.

The stores with top grades had fresh fruits, good recycling and sustainable fish. The failing stores had too much non-British, out-of-season fruits and vegetables, didn't inform shoppers whether the fish were from sustainable sources or not and had open freezers, wasting energy.


Image from Green to the Core

"Green to the Core" was name of the survey carried out by researchers who were examining "what the supermarkets are doing in their stores, and saying on helplines and company websites to inform and advise consumers on four environmental indicators: climate change, sustainable farming, sustainable fishing, and waste and recycling." It was done in Manchester during the month of July when there are lots of home-grown fresh fruit and vegetables available.

Asda, which is owned by Walmart, scored particularly badly and is now the least green of the big 5 supermarkets. In the seasonal fresh food category, just 59 per cent of the fresh produce came from Britain, compared with 92 per cent at the highest scorer, Waitrose. The report said the score was "dismal", pointing out it has fallen by 10 percentage points over the last two years. It added: "With an abundance of UK produce available, Asda should be doing far better than this." Needless to say Asda was not pleased and said that the report was "not worth the recycled paper it's written on".

Tesco which is Britain's biggest supermarket got a C and t"showed no progress since 2007". They said that the report was "poor, inconsistent and misleading."

Open freezers were a big issue: a few stores had closed freezers which conserve more energy. Sainsbury's has just announced that they are going to stop using fridges with F-gases and will instead use carbon dioxide fridges which are less polluting. The conversion to the new technology will cut their carbon footprint by one third in the next twenty years.


The report also made some recommendations for improvement and new directions.

They support more home delivery services so that shoppers will leave their cars at home. Waitrose has already introduced cycle trailers in Dorset which customers can drive home with their groceries. They also have deliveries by electric bicycles in 3 smaller towns.

Supermarkets were urged to offer discounts instead of the famed BOGOF's (buy one get one free). Some supermarkets have already been allowing customers to get the second one free at a later date.
More recyclable packaging for store-brand items was suggested and recycling facilities in and outside of the store.
The range of sustainable fish should be extended and non-sustainable fish shouldn't be sold.
More organic, low pesticide food should be sold, as well as fair trade products.

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