Waitrose and Lidl top list of eco-friendly supermarkets

Study by Which? looked at greenhouse gas emissions as well as plastic waste and food waste

Waitrose and Lidl are the most sustainable supermarkets, according to a Which?’s eco-friendly grocer ranking.

Iceland finished last, according to the research, which tracked supermarket policies on: plastic waste and food waste, which shoppers have reported are the biggest issues for them; and greenhouse gas emissions, which most experts say poses the greatest environmental threat.

In its first such ranking, the consumer magazine pointed out that supermarkets respond to customer demand, so if shoppers make eco-friendly choices and demand sustainable options, this can influence shops to improve.

Harry Rose, editor of Which?, said: “We know that consumers increasingly want to shop sustainably and our in-depth analysis of three key areas shows that all the big supermarkets could be looking to make some improvements.

“The good news is shoppers can make a big difference themselves by adopting more sustainable habits, such as buying loose fruit and vegetables, buying seasonal local produce, eating less meat and dairy and limiting their own food waste.”

Lidl performed above its rivals on greenhouse gas emissions but fell short on food waste, though it said this is because it serves more fresh food in-store than many other comparable shops.

Waitrose has strong policies on plastic and food waste compared with other supermarkets, and scored reasonably for greenhouse gas emissions.

Iceland fell short because it was unable to report how much of its own-brand plastic is recyclable, so scored zero points. It also faces disadvantages as a frozen food specialist, as this made it the worst performer on operational greenhouse gas emissions due to its energy-draining in-store freezers. However, it does buy 100% renewable electricity for its UK sites.

Marks & Spencer was found to use a lot of plastic compared with other supermarkets. It was also the only one unable to provide its food waste data in a comparable format, so scored zero points for this, and was in the bottom half of Which?’s table for emissions.

For plastic use, the Co-op did best, while Ocado was the frontrunner in terms of food waste, as it redistributes almost all surplus food, leaving just 0.04% as waste.

Which?’s ranking of supermarkets’ green measures

1. Lidl – 74%
1. Waitrose – 74%
3. Asda – 71%
3. Sainsbury’s – 71%
5. Tesco – 69%
6. Morrisons – 68%
7. Aldi – 66%
8. Co-op – 65%
9. Ocado – 63%
10. Marks & Spencer – 48%
11. Iceland – 29%


Helena Horton

The GuardianTramp

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