The National Farmers Union (NFU) has welcomed the commitment from food retailer Sainsbury’s to double the amount of food it sources from Britain. The commitment forms part of the supermarket’s Sustainability Plan, which also includes an undertaking to ensure that all meat, game, poultry, dairy products and eggs are sourced from certified suppliers that adhere to strict independent welfare standards.
Tom Hind, who is the NFU’s director of corporate affairs claims that the commitment should be applauded, arguing that Sainsbury’s has taken a positive and bold step for farming and food. Hind believes that the move recognises the excellent quality, levels of environmental protection and standards of production that British farmers meet on a daily basis.
Hind claims that the additional demand would be a welcome boost to British growers and farmers at against the backdrop of huge pressures on investments and rising feed, energy and fuel prices throughout the sector. Hind also explained that it’s important for the NFU to review the detailed plan to make sure that the commitments made by Sainsbury’s are reliable and deliver real sustainability for the nation’s agriculture. The NFU are also keen to ensure that plans to drive efficiency are developed in partnership with farmers thus enabling long term relationships to develop alongside profitable and stable prices.
These measures should help farmers met the key investment challenges. The four key areas addressed in Sainsbury’s’ Sustainability Plan are; Colleagues – which includes the aim to ensure that twenty thousand employees achieve twenty years of service. Communities – including the intention to create fifty thousand new jobs within the UK.
Operational Excellence – which includes the aim to reduce carbon emissions by sixty five per cent relative and thirty per cent absolute, compared to 2005. Healthy and Sustainable Products – which is the section that relates most closely to farmers and local producers. The NFU intends to meet with Sainsbury’s to consider the timing and implementation of the plan, as well as the opportunities for British growers and farmers.