A number of British supermarkets have been found to have a “dismal” ethical record in a study by the government watchdog Consumer Focus. The research found that some major British supermarkets had extremely poor standards concerning issues such as supporting British farmers, buying local, seasonal food, and environmentally friendly actions.
The report entitled Green to the Core found that too much non-British, out-of-season fruits and vegetables are sold, many fish counters lack information about the sustainability of their products, and many supermarkets have open freezers which waste energy. The study also looked at the availability of produce from sustainable farming and fishing, including meat and eggs from farms with good welfare practices. Waste generating by products and recycling potential was also considered, as was how easy each supermarket made it for customers to choose ethically sourced products.
Supermarkets Asda, Lidl and Aldi received the poorest results of the investigation, scoring D grades (with A being the greenest on an A-E scale), and Tesco was criticized for having made no progress since 2007. Asda scored poorly on criteria of seasonal and fresh British produce which made up a low 59 per cent of its stock, one seventh less than in 2007. Lidl and Aldi were criticized for low availability of sustainable fish and seasonal fresh produce as well as poor labeling and signage.
Friends of the Earth’s supermarket campaigner Helen Rimmer, said that report showed that some retailers were guilty of exaggerating their green credentials and called for the government to create a supermarket watchdog. “Despite shouting loudly about their green initiatives, some of the biggest supermarkets are still failing to put planet-friendly food on their shelves”.