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Britain’s Supermarkets step up to save forests



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 per cent 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.

The grocery chains that have now signed up to WWF’s Forests Campaign are:

– Asda

– M&S

– Morrisons

– Sainsbury’s

– Tesco

– Waitrose

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.”

Chris Brown, Sustainable Business Director at Asda, said “We are delighted to support the WWF-UK forestry campaign. Over 90% of our customers tell us that they care about being green so we know that is important to play our part to secure the world’s forests for the future.”

Fiona Wheatley, Plan A Sustainable Development Manager at Marks & Spencer, said “We have an existing commitment that all the wood used to build and fit our stores, to run our business, and to manufacture and package our products will be responsibly sourced by 2020 – we’re currently at 98%. This campaign can only help us and we’re delighted to work with WWF to make sure business support for legal and sustainable forestry is heard loud and clear.”