Eco-ranking of UK’s largest supermarkets underscores significant discrepancies between chains’ performance on waste, emissions, and plastic
Lidl and Waitrose have been identified as the UK’s ‘greenest’ supermarkets in a ranking of retailers’ efforts to reduce emissions, food waste, and plastic packaging compiled by consumer charity Which?
The charity said the scorecard, which was published this morning, was the first of its kind, noting that it had analysed “hundreds of pieces of data” to compare the sustainability performance of the UK’s 11 biggest supermarket chains.
Budget supermarket Lidl scored highly for its relatively low greenhouse gas emissions and ambitious targets, whereas its high-end competitor Waitrose did consistently well across the board, Which? said. Asda and Sainsbury’s tied in third place, three points behind the leaders.
Iceland came in last place after performing worst on greenhouse gas emissions by some margin, clinching an average score on food waste, and being found to use the most plastic relative to the number of items sold, the researchers said.
Iceland’s emissions were found to be 73 per cent higher than Lidl’s, relative to sales revenue.
Which? noted that Iceland’s poor performance on greenhouse gas emissions could be due to its focus on frozen food, noting that keeping products cold throughout the supply chain was an energy intensive process.
The charity said there was room for improvement across the board, noting the exercise had identified “clear front runners” across different categories who set an example for others to follow.
For instance, while Co-op’s “outstanding levels of recyclability” shot it to the top of plastic rankings, it was found to waste 20 times as much food as online retailer Ocado, which came top of the food waste table.
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