Creating a sustainable shopping basket

With food production at the centre of many environmental issues, Tesco and WWF have come together to make it easier for everyone to access an affordable, healthy and sustainable diet. Through the partnership we aim to halve the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket.

Making the average UK food shopping basket more sustainable requires action across various environmental impact areas. We have identified seven key areas to focus our efforts on, which have then been weighted based on a range of criteria.

  • Scope: environmental issues with a global impact are weighted higher than regional issues (climate change, large-scale deforestation)
  • Irreversibility and urgency: issues requiring urgent action to ensure impacts do not become irreversible are also weighted higher (climate change, loss of virgin forest habitat)
  • Direct impact: the more direct an environmental impact the higher the weighting (greenhouse gas emissions directly contribute to climate change, while packaging may, or may not, pollute the environment and oceans)
  • Governance: issues with the most effective governance are weighted lower

Based on these considerations, we have weighted the flagship issues as follows:

  Issue Weighting


Climate change






Sustainable diets



Sustainable agriculture



Marine sustainability



Food waste



Packaging waste


Each criteria will include a number of sub-metrics. For instance, sustainable agriculture will include the following:

  • % of farmers taking robust action to improve soil health (e.g. cover crops, low impact tillage;
  • % of farmers who are taking robust action to increase biodiversity and pollinators (e.g. wildflowers, hedgerows, Integrated Pest Management);
  • % of fresh produce from regions with sustainable water management;
  • % of key sourcing regions with clear plan to address agri-plastic pollution.

How the basket metric works

The basket metric will allow us to track progress towards the overall halving of the basket.

For each of the sub-metrics, we will be setting a target we need to track.

Each sub-metric will also be given a weighting. A combination of progress towards target, and sub-metric weighting will tell us our progress towards halving the environmental impact.

For each of the metrics, we will establish both a baseline for example for 2018, the year the Tesco and WWF partnership launched, and a long-term target. In some cases, targets have already been set, for example food waste, carbon reduction, packaging. Progress towards meeting each target will be multiplied by a percentage weighting. For example, one of the basket metrics is as follows:

  • Metric: % of South American soy from verified zero deforestation
  • The metric has a weighting of 12%
  • When we achieve our target that 100% of South American soy is from zero deforestation areas, we would therefore be 12% of the way towards halving the environmental impact of the average basket.


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