Morrisons has pledged to be the first supermarket to be completely supplied by ‘net zero’ carbon British farms by 2030, with eggs the first products to reach net zero carbon by 2022.
UK agriculture currently accounts for 10% of all UK greenhouse gas emissions. The National Farmers Union has asked farmers to work towards a 2040 net zero goal, and other supermarkets are working towards 2035.
Morrisons said this month it will start working with a selection of meat and produce farmers – to create net zero carbon farm ‘models’. 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.
The farm models will look at reducing carbon via: rearing different animal breeds; using low food-mile feedstuffs; using renewable energy and low emission housing; and, cutting down fuel and fertiliser use. They will also look to offset carbon emissions via: planting grassland and clover; restoring peatland, improving soil health; planting trees; and, seeding hedgerows.
David Potts, Chief Executive of Morrisons, 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.”
Environment Secretary, George Eustice MP, said: “The UK is the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050. Our farmers will play a key role in achieving this. It is encouraging to see Morrisons commit to being supplied by net zero carbon British farms on such an ambitious timescale, helping to protect the environment for future generations.”
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.”