Ethical Performance
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Britain’s supermarkets step up to save forests

October 2015

Asda has become the latest grocer to sign up to WWF’s Save Forests campaign, completing the line-up of major supermarkets lending their support, all pledging to ensure their timber and wood based products will be from sustainable sources by 2020.

Now, all of the ‘Big Four’ supermarkets – controlling over 70% of the grocery market - have signed up to the campaign alongside Waitrose and M&S. The campaign is calling for loopholes in current legislation that allow illegally sourced or unsustainable wood to be legally imported and sold in the UK to be closed.

Signing up to the pledge means they will ensure all their own brand products and materials used will be from sustainable sources. It is also hoped that the supermarkets will be engaging with brands on sustainability of their own products, helping to shape a new market place based on sustainable supply instead of short-term gain.

It is believed that further impacts of the supermarkets making the pledge to buy sustainable timber and timber products by 2020 will be a decrease in the amount of illegal and timber products coming into the UK markets.

A further impact will be that consumers can be safe in knowing that they are shopping at a responsible company that is choosing to ensure it is not contributing to illegal or unsustainable deforestation around the world. Over half the products sold by supermarkets are own brand which is where they can exercise most influence.

WWF-UK’s Julia Young, Manager of the Global Forest and Trade Network in the UK, said “Committing to WWF’s forests campaign and ensuring their businesses are not contributing to illegally sourced or unsustainable timber is a powerful and important step that will have a huge impact on some of the world’s remaining natural forests.

“If the remaining few grocery chains made the pledge they could have an incredible impact in the UK and beyond, helping save the habitats of some of the most endangered species.”

UK & NI Ireland | sustainable forestry


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