Tesco has completed the rollout of its LEAF Marque certification, meaning all of its UK fruit and veg growers now certified to robust environmental standards.
LEAF Marque encourages growers to continuously improve upon key sustainability metrics on their farms, with continuous improvement in areas including climate resilience, biodiversity, soil health, greenhouse gas emissions, and deforestation.
The UK’s largest retailer has now started the process of certifying the rest of its 8,000-strong global grower base, with the aim of completing the transition by 2025.
Subscribe to Grocery Gazette for free
LEAF Marque, run by global farming organisation LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), requires farms to take a whole business approach to delivering more sustainable, climate positive farming.
By benchmarking growers’ progress against practices related to nature, climate, society, and economy, the LEAF Marque Standard identifies target areas and helps producers drive further improvements.
Tesco’s partnership with LEAF represents a significant element of its approach to restoring nature in food production.
Additionally, in partnership with WWF, the retailer has committed to halving the environmental impact of the average shopping basket.
“We’re excited to have completed the roll-out of LEAF Marque certification across all our UK grown fruit and veg supply base,” chief product officer at Tesco, Ashwin Prasad said.
“Reaching this significant milestone was only possible by working in partnership with our suppliers and growers, and it’s really encouraging to see environmental improvements already having an impact on farms across the UK.”
Prasad added: “As we continue our roll out of the LEAF Marque across our international supply chain, we’re calling on the whole of the food industry to join us in implementing consistent, improved environmental standards to ensure the food we eat is produced sustainably around the world.”
Chairman and acting CEO at LEAF, Philip Wynn commented: “The climate and ecosystem emergency is one of the biggest challenges of our time. Retailers, consumers, food companies and governments all over the world are looking for more sustainable and climate positive methods of production.
“In this context, we are delighted that Tesco are accelerating their ambitious and far-reaching net-zero targets through LEAF Marque certification.
“It provides a powerful catalyst for change, empowering growers to adopt more regenerative approaches by building healthier and more productive soils, delivering better air and water quality and enhancing biodiversity.
Wynn added: “The continued roll out of LEAF Marque across Tesco’s entire global fresh produce supply chain, represents a transformational moment.
“LEAF Marque certified growers are some of the most innovative and forward-looking farmers in the world. We greatly look forward to working with Tesco’s fresh produce growers and continue to scale up our resources to support them,” he said.
It comes as Tesco has made its biggest ever investment in employee pay, investing £230m as it boosts its hourly rate to more than £11ph; the third increase in the past 10 months.