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Supermarkets to standardise scope 3 reporting

The UK’s largest supermarkets will join forces to standardise how they measure and report the climate impact of food in what is being billed as an “unprecedented collaboration” to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

Wrap and WWF are leading the new collaboration with eight supermarkets which will standardise the way scope 3 emissions are measured and reported and, over time, unlock high-impact opportunities to reduce emissions from the food sold in supermarkets.

The two NGOs have secured commitment to a two-phased programme from Aldi, Co-op, Lidl, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Waitrose, who between them represent around 80% of UK grocery retail market share.

The first phase, in 2023, will ensure consistent measurement and reporting of the retailers’ scope 3 GHG emissions, building on Wrap’s scope 3 GHG measurement and protocols published in May last year, and the piloting of these with 17 businesses across the food supply chain.

Phase one will also focus on scoping high-impact areas for collaboration to accelerate progress on reducing emissions from the food sold in UK supermarkets. Phase two, from 2024, will see retailers take action on these high-impact opportunities and the investments needed to collaborate and meet targets.

Currently, a range of different approaches and methods are used by food businesses to measure the carbon footprint of food and drink products. Wrap and WWF said this resulted in “confusion and inefficiencies across the sector”. They added that the absence of a consistent methodology “is creating an unreasonable burden on producers and suppliers in food supply chains, generating mistrust in environmental reporting data” and “block[ing] meaningful action on reducing the impacts of our food system”.

At the same time Wrap has published a new plan which it says sets out in practical detail how to transform the food system through the Courtauld Commitment 2030.

“We need to transform our food and drink system if we are to stand any chance of achieving our net-zero goals and mitigate the worst impacts of the climate crisis,” said Wrap CEO Harriet Lamb. “This is the challenge of our generation, and it is encouraging to see the UK’s leading retailers stepping up to this challenge with focus and determination.”

Wrap said the intention is to grow and broaden action on scope 3 emissions with other sectors, including foodservice, over time.