UK supermarkets called out for meat and dairy ‘greenwash’

Campaign group Feedback is calling for supermarkets to be more transparent on the environmental impact of the sector’s meat and dairy sales – which account for 30% of their carbon emissions.

The environmental campaign group says that no UK supermarket has taken real action to reduce its meat and dairy sales and claims the sector is ‘rife with greenwashing’ , following a new report which scores supermarkets across 12 indicators.

The indicators include whether they are using credible claims about meat and dairy products, whether they publish Scope 3 emissions data, and whether they have targets to increase plant-based sales without decreasing meat sales.

It also called Tesco out on its electric delivery vehicles and using visibility on the road to market the company’s green credentials, including the slogan ‘Greener Greens’, but highlighted that although the vans will save 82,000 tonnes of carbon each year this only amounts to 0.1% of the company’s annual emissions.

In addition, it looked at how supermarkets have advertised meat and dairy products and the prominent positioning of meat and dairy in stores, as well as deals on the items.

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While Feedback acknowledged in the report that most retailers have adopted net zero targets, it said they have not outlined plans for how they will reduce the scale of emissions from meat and dairy products to meet these targets. The NGO is calling on supermarkets to adopt transparent climate reporting and “make public” the scale of their emissions from meat and dairy products.

“It is astonishing that greenwashing is rife across the industry with all the UK’s largest supermarkets employing ‘distraction type’ green initiatives, which make little impact on their overall footprint yet serve to deflect attention from the real issues, said Feedback head of policy Jessica Taylor.

“It’s clear from our findings that retailers are still focused on boosting meat sales despite setting net zero targets and pledging to help us eat healthier and more sustainably – and this must now change.”

It comes as the NGO has reported UK supermarkets to the Competition and Markets Authority for failure to act on meat and dairy emissions, and for greenwashing their impact. The CMA is now reviewing 140 + claims from the group’s supporters.

Climate crisisEnergyFood and farmingNewsRetail

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