20/09/2015
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All major supermarkets support sustainable forests scheme

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Greater support for sustainable forestry will hopefully eventually spell the end for the destruction of old growth trees, like this Lapland pine forest being destroyed by Finnish paper Stora Enso. Photo: Greenpeace Finland (commons.wikimedia.org).
Greater support for sustainable forestry will hopefully eventually spell the end for the destruction of old growth trees, like this Lapland pine forest being destroyed by Finnish paper Stora Enso. Photo: Greenpeace Finland (commons.wikimedia.org).
Asda has become the latest grocery business to sign up to the Worldwide Fund for Nature's (WWF) Save Forests campaign, meaning that all the biggest supermarkets now support the project.

All the top six companies have pledged to ensure their timber products will be from sustainable sources by 2020. All the ‘Big Four’ supermarkets which control more than 70 per cent of the grocery market have signed up to the campaign, alongside Waitrose and Marks and Spencers. The campaign is calling for loopholes in current legislation that allow illegally sourced or unsustainable wood to be legally imported and sold in the UK to be closed.

The grocery chains that have now signed up to WWF’s Forests Campaign are Asda, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. Signing up to the pledge means they will ensure all their own brand products and materials will be from sustainable sources. It is also hoped that the supermarkets will be engaging with brands on the sustainability of their products, too, helping to shape a new market place based on sustainable supply instead of short-term gain.

It is believed that further impacts of the pledge will be a decrease in the amount of illegal and timber products coming into the UK markets. Another by-product will be that consumers can buy items safe in knowing that they are shopping at a responsible company that is choosing to ensure it is not contributing to illegal or unsustainable deforestation around the world. Over half the products sold by supermarkets are 'own brand', and it is with these that they can exercise most influence.

WWF-UK’s Julia Young said: "Committing to WWF's forests campaign and ensuring their businesses are not contributing to illegally sourced or unsustainable timber is a powerful and important step that will have a huge impact on some of the world's remaining natural forests.

"If the remaining few grocery chains made the pledge they could have an incredible impact in the UK and beyond, helping save the habitats of some of the most endangered species."

Chris Brown, Sustainable Business Director at Asda, said “We are delighted to support the WWF-UK forestry campaign. Over 90 per cent of our customers tell us that they care about being green so we know that is important to play our part to secure the world’s forests for the future.”

Fiona Wheatley of Marks & Spencer said: “We have an existing commitment that all the wood used to build and fit our stores, to run our business, and to manufacture and package our products, will be responsibly sourced by 2020 – we’re currently at 98 per cent.

"This campaign can only help us and we’re delighted to work with WWF to make sure business support for legal and sustainable forestry is heard loud and clear.”
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