Tesco extends commitment to prevent Amazon deforestation

We’ve all seen terrible images of the Amazon burning. Setting fires to clear land for crops or grazing must stop.

As the UK’s largest retailer, we have a responsibility to lead on this issue.

We are committed to preventing further Amazon deforestation. That’s why, we do not buy meat from Brazil. We continue to make progress toward our 2020 target of sustainability certification for all our soy. And we’ve committed to do more, setting tougher targets for 2025 to make sure our soy only comes from whole regions that are verified as deforestation-free. We’ve worked to help establish and uphold the Amazon Soy Moratorium and have committed £10 million to protect the Cerrado.

But we know we can do more. That’s why today, we have set out the additional actions we intend to take as part of our continued commitment to ending deforestation.

300% increase in sales of meat alternatives:
We recognise that the UK needs to reduce meat and dairy consumption for both health and environmental reasons. Since 2018, we’ve been working hard with our suppliers to drive plant-based innovation and choice, leading to increases in our plant-based meat alternative ranges.

Today, as part of launching our Sustainable Basket Metrics, we are becoming the first UK retailer to commit to a set of clear public targets. We will increase sales of plant-based meat alternatives by 300% by 2025 from a 2018 baseline as part of efforts to halve the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket. We will do this by:

  • Introducing and growing plant-based meat alternatives across all our stores.
  • Continuing to invest in value so that affordability is not a barrier to buying plant-based meat alternatives.
  • Working with suppliers to bring new plant-based protein innovations to market.
  • Providing plant-based proteins where a meat version is featured.

We will publish sales of plant-based proteins as a percentage of overall protein sales every year from 2021.
Reducing meat and dairy consumption requires a wider societal effort and we hope these new commitments will encourage the whole of the food industry to make similar commitments.

Engaging with our suppliers to stop deforestation:
We expect all of our relevant suppliers to meet our zero-deforestation soy transition plan. We have worked with Moy Park and Tulip for over 40 years, and they collectively employ over 17,000 people in the UK. They meet our environmental and zero deforestation standards, and we want to continue to work with them towards achieving our more ambitious 2025 targets.

We have noted the recent zero deforestation commitments from their owner JBS, and will continue to press them to meet the following improvements:

  • Publish a delivery road-map by early 2021, with annual progress verified as ‘on-track’ by a credible third party.
  • Expand their JBS Green Platform to include time-bound plans for roll-out to other key biomes in Brazil, including the Cerrado.
  • Confirm that respect for indigenous land rights is enshrined within the JBS Responsible Procurement Policy.
  • Confirm that JBS’s commitment on zero deforestation cattle covers indirect suppliers at all stages.
  • Publicly condemn illegal forest fires and support the Amazon Soy Moratorium.

We will continue to review their progress on an annual basis.

Sourcing soy from Brazil:
We have played a key role in convening the global food industry to advocate for better forest protection in Brazil, as a founding supporter of the Amazon Soy Moratorium in 2006 and more recently, leading a coalition of businesses to lobby the Brazilian Congress for better Amazon protection. In late 2019, in recognition of the threat of deforestation in the Cerrado region – from where we source 60% of our Brazilian soy – Tesco convened 150 companies in support of the Cerrado. We also became the first company to commit £10m to the Cerrado Funding Coalition.

We will keep our approach to sourcing soy from Brazil under review, and if there is insufficient progress, we will need to switch to alternative sources in order to meet our zero deforestation commitments.

In addition to our work on soy from Brazil, we are also supporting the long-term search for alternative proteins for animal feed, including insect-based protein.

Taken together, our strategy of improving soy sustainability, supporting the search for alternatives and leading the growth in plant-based proteins – including meat alternatives – represents the most comprehensive approach to achieving our common goal of a zero-deforestation food system.

We know that no one business can stop deforestation alone. We are keen to play our part, but we hope that the rest of the food industry, government, civil society and consumers will also play theirs, so that together we can solve one of our planet’s biggest environmental challenges.


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