In-depth research into the policies and practices of UK supermarkets on sustainability. This report was commissioned as a scoping study for the National Consumer Council, to help them develop a series of influential surveys examining how well leading UK supermarkets help their customers to understand and buy sustainable food and other products.

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Greening Supermarkets: Do supermarkets help consumers buy sustainable food?In-depth research into the policies and practices of UK supermarkets on sustainability. This report was commissioned as a scoping study for the National Consumer Council, to help them develop a series of influential in-store surveys examining how well leading UK supermarkets help their customers to understand and buy sustainable food and other products.

Undertaken by staff from The Food Commission and Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming, this study examined appropriate means for measuring and rating supermarkets for their behaviour and progress on key themes of importance to sustainability. A range of measures were considered appropriate for a shopping survey. The report also contains a review of supermarket sustainability policies and a survey of other information or data available in the public domain. The broad themes covered are as follows:

  1. Transport and fuel use
  2. Energy policy and use (and commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions)
  3. Chemicals policy and use (pesticides and household products)
  4. Nutrition (mainly dealt with in the NCC’s Rating Retailers for health reports, but we include a brief commentary here to highlight additional relevance to sustainability)
  5. Packaging and waste
  6. Fair trade and labour standards
  7. Sustainable forests
  8. Sustainable fisheries policy
  9. Animal welfare
  10. Investment

The report contains many illustrations, data tables and photographs of contemporary products, labelling and marketing activites. The 219-page report also serves as a useful snapshot of supermarket progress on sustainability in 2005, which Sustain has made available for researchers wishing to track progress over time. The 2005 report led to the following surveys and reports from National Consumer Council (an organisation that has since disbanded):


Report contents

Background
Conclusions and recommendations
  • Overview
  • Interviews with key stakeholders
  • Other supermarket rating systems
  • What consumers say and do
  • The market for ‘ethical’ products
  • What the supermarkets say and do: corporate reports
  • What the supermarkets say and do: pilot surveys
  • Suggested indicators, for discussion
  • Suggested set of indicative products
  • Time estimate for product analysis
  • Scoring
  • Challenges and additional points for discussion
1. Energy policy and use
1.1 Summary
1.2 Suggested indicators on energy policy and use, for discussion
1.3 Principal sources of information in this section
1.4 The issues to be addressed: An overview
1.5 What are the main ways forward?
1.6 What does this mean for consumers?
1.7 What the supermarkets say
 
2. Transport and fuel use
2.1 Summary
2.2 Suggested indicators on transport and fuel use, for discussion
2.3 Principal sources of information
2.4 The problems to be addressed: An overview
2.5 What does this mean for the supermarkets?
2.6 What does this mean for consumers?
2.7 What the supermarkets say
 
3. Chemicals policy and health
3.1 Summary
3.2 Suggested indicators on chemicals policy and use, for discussion
3.3 Principal sources of information
3.4 The issues to be addressed: An overview
3.5 What does this mean for consumers?
3.6 What the supermarkets say and do
 
4. Nutrition and health
4.1 Commentary
4.2 Background: Rating Retailers for Health
4.3 Suggested additional indicators, for discussion
4.4 Principal sources of information
 
5. Packaging and waste
5.1 Summary
5.2 Suggested indicators on packaging and waste, for discussion
5.3 Principal sources of information
5.4 The issues to be addressed: An overview
5.5 Landfill and packaging directives
5.6 What this means for the consumer
5.7 What the supermarkets say and do
 
6. Fair trade and labour standards
6.1 Summary
6.2 Suggested indicators on fair trade and labour standards, for discussion
6.3 Principal sources of information
6.4 The issues to be addressed and approaches for addressing them: An overview
6.5 What does this mean for consumers?
6.6 What does this mean for supermarkets?
6.7 What the supermarkets say and do
 
7. Sustainable forests
7.1 Summary
7.2 Suggested indicators on sustainable forests, for discussion
7.3 Principal sources of information
7.4 The issues to be addressed: An overview
7.5 Certification
7.6 What does this mean for consumers?
7.7 What does this mean for retailers?
7.8 What the supermarkets say and do
 
8. Fish
8.1 Summary
8.2 Suggested indicators on fish, for discussion
8.3 Principal sources of information
8.4 The issues to be addressed: An overview
8.5 Certification
8.6 What does this mean for consumers?
8.7 What the supermarkets say and do
 
9. Animal welfare
9.1 Summary
9.2 Suggested indicators on animal welfare, for discussion
9.3 Principal sources of information
9.4 The issues to be addressed: An overview
9.5 Certification
9.6 What does this mean for consumers?
9.7 What the supermarkets say and do
 
10. Investment
10.1 Summary
10.2 Suggested indicators on investment, for discussion
10.3 Principal sources of information
10.4 The issues to be addressed: An overview
10.5 What does this mean for consumers?
10.6 What the supermarkets say and do
 
Appendix 1: Ethical Consumer’s Ethiscore
Appendix 2: Ethical Consumer’s buyer’s guide: Supermarkets
Appendix 3: More publications on supermarkets and food marketing
 

 

Greening Supermarkets: Do supermarkets help consumers buy sustainable food?
219pp - 2005 | 4800Kb

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Supermarkets, health and sustainability: Sustain has worked in particular with the Greening Supermarkets, Healthier Supermarkets and Race to the Top initiatives to stimulate changes in supermarket policies and practices.

219pp - 2005
4800Kb

Download

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