Morrisons has pledged to be the first UK supermarket to be completely supplied by net zero carbon British farms by 2030, five years ahead of the market.
Morrisons said it is uniquely placed to reach this goal five years ahead of the industry as it is British farming’s biggest supermarket customer.
The Bradford-based supermarket giant said it will work with its 3,000 farmers and growers to produce affordable net zero carbon meat, poultry, fruit and vegetables over the next nine years.
Morrisons expects that the first products to reach net zero carbon status will be eggs — as early as 2022 — followed by lamb, fruit, vegetables, pork and beef in the years to follow.
UK agriculture currently accounts for 10 per cent of all UK greenhouse gas emissions, with new research revealing that two thirds of people consider the environmental impact of the food they eat.
The National Farmers Union has asked farmers to work towards a 2040 net zero goal, and other supermarkets are working towards 2035.
Morrisons has its own expert livestock and produce teams, works directly with farmers, and takes meat, fruit and vegetables direct from farms to its 20 fruit, vegetable and meat preparation sites.
“This month, Morrisons will start working with a selection of meat and produce farmers — to create net zero carbon farm ‘models’, said Morrisons.
“Together with the farmers they will look at the emissions picture through the whole lifecycle of farm produce — from germination to leaving the farmgate for a Morrisons store.
“Once a workable blueprint has been established, the models will then be shared with all Morrisons farmers, so that all food can be produced in this net zero carbon way.”
Morrisons CEO David Potts said: “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges for our generation and growing food is a key contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
“As British farming’s biggest supermarket customer, we’re in a unique position to guide our farms and help lead changes in environmental practices.
“It’s years ahead of industry expectations — and an ambitious target — but it’s our duty to do it.”
Minette Batters, President of the National Union of Farmers said: “British farming has a key role to play in the nation’s drive to net zero.
“Our contribution spans three pillars of action — reducing emissions, storing carbon on farmland, and renewables and the bioeconomy.
“Our members are already playing their part to help achieve the NFU’s ambition of reaching net zero agriculture by 2040 and want to do more.
“I applaud Morrisons on its commitment and look forward to continuing our good working relationship.”
Sustainable Food Trust CEO Patrick Holden said: “Morrisons has shown real leadership in setting challenging targets for emission reductions and for encouraging their suppliers to produce in more sustainable ways.”