Asda has begun to roll out LEAF Marque certification across its UK fresh produce fruit and vegetable supply base to strengthen its environmental standards.
The LEAF Marque environmental assurance system provides independent, third-party verification around core areas of sustainable farming practice including soil and water management, energy efficiency, waste management, carbon sequestration, energy use and enrichment of biodiversity.
It offers growers a framework to help them monitor their performance, identify strengths and weaknesses and set targets for improvement across the whole farm. All UK-based Asda fresh produce growers will achieve LEAF Marque certification by May next year with worldwide suppliers certified by the end of 2025. The improvements made across the supply chain will help the supermarket move towards its goal of being carbon net zero by 2040.
Jane Berry, Vice President and Managing Director of IPL, who source produce on behalf of Asda, said: “We have always known that we couldn’t go on this journey alone, so it is fantastic to work in tandem with LEAF and our valued fresh produce suppliers who are committed to continually improving and making a difference.
“Our approach to sustainability is based on the firm belief that protecting the environment and saving people money, go hand in hand. We know that the climate and ecosystem emergency is at the forefront of our customers’ minds, but many are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
“We are determined to aim high and do all we can to support them during this time, without losing sight of our responsibilities to offer greener choices that don’t cost the earth.”
Clare Mike, Director of Business Development at LEAF, added: “LEAF Marque certification is a powerful catalyst for change and one of the most effective frameworks for mobilising advances in more regenerative, sustainable farming across the globe with transparency, impartiality, and rigour. Underpinned by the whole-farm principles of Integrated Farm Management, it is accelerating incremental improvements at an individual farmer level, which, collectively, are driving profound reforms in food production.
“With sustainability becoming increasingly important to consumers and the green agenda taking root, it’s great to see Asda setting ambitious goals. Overwhelmingly, their willingness to embrace change and adapt to challenges signals a time of transformation and positive change. Together with the determination and commitment of their growers, we are making real and lasting differences to addressing the climate emergency and the sustainability of the world’s farming and food systems.”
“We are delighted that Asda have adopted the LEAF Marque to advance their standards of production to the next level of sustainable farming excellence.”
At the end of 2021, LEAF announced a target for 85% of all UK fruit and vegetables to be grown more sustainably to LEAF Marque Standards, which forms part of the organisations wider 10 year strategy to raise the ‘sustainably bar’ across all farming sectors.