All of Tesco’s UK-based fruit and vegetable growers are LEAF-Marque certified, setting a high bar on sustainability that should carry through for generations.
The nearly 500 growers have committed to strong climate standards that include ensuring soil health, limiting carbon emissions and preventing deforestation. In addition, they’ve fostered biodiversity across their farms.
“Reaching this significant milestone was only possible by working in partnership with our suppliers and growers, and it’s really encouraging to see environmental improvements already having an impact on farms across the UK,” Ashwin Prasad, Chief Product Officer at Tesco, said. “As we continue our roll out of the LEAF Marque across our international supply chain, we’re calling on the whole of the food industry to join us in implementing consistent, improved environmental standards to ensure the food we eat is produced sustainably around the world.”
Tesco is moving to have its entire global chain LEAF Marque-certified in the next two years. Like those in the UK, growers must improve their practices on nature and climate but also be committed to helping their economies and societies as a whole. The monumental task of getting all 8,000 growers under that banner is daunting but achievable.
“The continued roll out of LEAF Marque across Tesco’s entire global fresh produce supply chain represents a transformational moment,” Philip Wynn, Chairman and Acting CEO at LEAF said. “LEAF Marque-certified growers are some of the most innovative and forward-looking farmers in the world. We greatly look forward to working with Tesco’s fresh produce growers and continue to scale up our resources to support them.”
Working with LEAF and the WWF, Tesco has made strides toward cutting in half food waste among its consumers and its supermarkets. The extra commitment at the beginning of the chain will provide protection for the world’s most valuable resources.
“The climate and ecosystem emergency is one of the biggest challenges of our time,” Wynn said. “Retailers, consumers, food companies and governments all over the world are looking for more sustainable and climate positive methods of production. In this context, we are delighted that Tesco are accelerating their ambitious and far-reaching net-zero targets through LEAF Marque certification. It provides a powerful catalyst for change, empowering growers to adopt more regenerative approaches by building healthier and more productive soils, delivering better air and water quality and enhancing biodiversity.”
A prime example of the work being done by just one link in the chain is Stourgarden, an onion supplier near Essex that has carried the LEAF certification for a decade.
“The use of LEAF has helped us continuously improve how we look after things like soil and water use,” said George Rix, Managing Director at Stourgarden. “Through the documenting of activities and putting targets in place, LEAF has also led to a marked increase in the amount and variety of wildlife on our farms over the last 10 years. It’s really encouraging to see species such as brown hares returning to the land.”