Lidl GB announced it will require all of its British fresh produce suppliers to earn LEAF Marque environmental certification by the end of 2023.
“We firmly believe it is our responsibility, through innovation, investment, and active leadership, to build a bright, sustainable future – for our business, our farmer suppliers, the people we interact with and our planet,” Lidl GB’s Head of Responsible Sourcing and Ethical Trade at Lidl GB, Amali Bunter, said. “New patterns of production and consumption are emerging across Great Britain, reflecting global geopolitical uncertainty, resource availability and consumer preferences. As a leading food retailer, we recognise the demand we place on our agricultural resources and the influence we have on our suppliers’ practices.”
That means those businesses must work toward meeting the Linking Environment And Farming) standards that may include:
- Implementing regenerative farming practices
- More sustainable soil and water management
- Reducing carbon emissions through greater energy efficiency
- More circular approaches to waste management and reducing plastic use
- Enhancing biodiversity and nature conservation
“This is a vital time for sustainable farming,” LEAF CEO, Caroline Drummond, added. “Farmers are on the front line of climate change solutions – reducing carbon emissions, building healthier and more productive soils, delivering better air and water quality and enhancing biodiversity. LEAF Marque certification is one of the most effective frameworks for accelerating incremental improvements at an individual farm level, which collectively are driving profound reforms in more climate positive food production across the globe.”
Drummond says 45% of fresh produce from the UK is grown from LEAF Marque companies. The organization is hoping to nearly double that over the next five years.
LEAF officials have said they would assist leaders across the supply chain – from farming to retail – to ensure that they are both using and capitalising on innovative methods to achieve the goal. That includes more regenerative farming processes.
Of the more than 520 LEAF Marque growers across the UK, more than 80% either have reservoirs to assure water quality and safety and the same percentage monitor wildlife factors. Another two thirds do already have implemented renewable energy sources. However, less than 40% have a carbon footprint tool, and less than half look at soil organic matter.
“It is fantastic to see Lidl committing to LEAF Marque across its entire UK fresh produce supply chain and it brings us a step closer to achieving this ambition,” Drummond said. “Sustainability is mission critical for retailers and they have a huge role to play in leading the green agenda, putting environmental responsibility at the heart of their strategic and operational goals.”