Category: Industrial Meat

Supermarkets in the Netherlands are avoiding responsibility for one third of their CO2 & methane emissions

2nd Nov 21 by Frank Mechielsen, Campaign Lead, Netherlands

Our new report explores whether Dutch supermarkets are doing enough to tackle the climate impact of their meat and dairy.

Today, Feedback EU published its first report (in Dutch or read the English summary here): a brief exploring the role of Dutch supermarkets in addressing the country’s climate footprint by taking responsibility for the environmental impact of their high meat and dairy sales. Frank Mechielsen, Campaign Lead in the Netherlands, explores how they’re measuring up.

During the Climate Summit COP26 this week in Glasgow, it is important that Dutch supermarkets show their ambitions in their fight against climate change. In their announcements, they emphasize the reduction of CO2 emissions in their own stores and their transport, but what they don’t mention is that this is only a small part of their overall emissions. Like in the UK, 95% of supermarket emissions come from the supply chain. About a third of this is caused by the production of meat and dairy. Two major retailers, Albert Heijn and Lidl, are starting to become transparent about their meat sales, but no supermarket has a plan to reduce meat and dairy sales.

The report draws on a poll by IPSOS among a representative sample of 994 Dutch citizens. Four in ten young people see a greater role for supermarkets in reducing meat consumption. For example, by fewer promotions on meat and more promotion of meat substitutes. Supporters of the Green party (GroenLinks), the Party of the Animals, and Democrates D66 also expect more leadership from supermarkets on this theme. Furthermore, 18% of young people up to the age of 35 say they do not buy meat, almost twice as high as average.

With an 80% market share, the five largest retailers have an enormous influence on the food system in the Netherlands. Last year, supermarkets saw their turnover increase by 14% thanks to the impact of Covid-19. Nearly half (45%) of consumers under 35 believe that supermarkets should reinvest their Covid-19 profits in offering more plant-based and sustainably produced products.

Dutch supermarkets continue to offer too much cheap meat, which causes more than half of the food-related greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. In the Netherlands, livestock is the driving force behind the nitrogen crisis, and growing emissions of methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas. Supermarkets must take more responsibility for the climate impact throughout their entire chain by halving the sale of meat and dairy by 2030, and offer more healthier and plant-based food. If they don’t, they won’t be able to achieve their climate ambitions.

The report analysed data and commitments from the five major retailers and concludes that Albert Heijn, through parent company AholdDelhaize, is the only retailer to be transparent about greenhouse gas emissions across their entire supply chain, including the part caused by animal proteins.

Supermarkets are starting to respond to this growing climate priority. Albert Heijn is committed to achieving a 50/50 balance in animal/vegetable proteins by 2025 and showed for the first time its current ratio in protein sales: 70% animal to 30% vegetable. Furthermore Lidl announced that 25% of their total revenue derives from fresh meat and dairy products.  Jumbo set a new target to increase their plant-based alternatives from the current 4% to 10% by 2025. But no major supermarket has so far set specific targets to reduce meat and dairy sales. The much smaller Ekoplaza is at the forefront of this and has specific targets to reduce meat sales by 2022.

Feedback’s UK scorecard, published in June 2021, showed that none of the UK’s 10 largest supermarkets are taking steps to reduce meat supply. They continue to encourage meat consumption through low-price promotions, labelling and product placement. In 2022, Feedback will launch a scorecard together with partners from other EU countries to assess supermarkets on their commitments, policies and trade practices to tackle climate change and the transition to less and better meat.

The recent Food Policy Coalition report, to which Feedback contributed, emphasises the importance of a healthy and sustainable food environment. Supermarkets must use their marketing resources to enable their customers to make healthy and sustainable choices, which means eating far less meat and dairy and where they do choose to eat meat buying ‘better’. Instead of the current fixation on price, supermarkets should place other values ​​such as human and animal health, environment, climate, fair income for farmers and workers much more centrally in their communication to their customers.

The Food Transition Coalition (TCV), in which Feedback EU participates, advocates an ambitious ‘protein transition’ from 60/40 to 40/60 in animal/vegetable proteins to be achieved by 2030. During the ‘Plant the Future’ dinner last month, more than 100 organisations and companies came together to discuss how plant-based can become the new normal. Politicians must make the protein transition a spearhead in policy aimed at food, climate and health. Businesses must be directed to adjust the supply and promotion of animal products. The True Animal Protein Price Coalition (TAPPC), active this week at the CoP in Glasgow, promotes an environmental tax on meat. According to the PBL, this leads to a reduction of 2 Mton CO2 eq. per year, a small coal-fired power station. A large majority of the population in the Netherlands supports an environmental tax on meat in the coalition agreement, which D66 and Christen Unie also support.

A third of AholdDelhaize’s total emissions are produced by meat and dairy. This corresponds to the annual emissions from heating 6 million homes, three quarters of all homes in the Netherlands. Supermarkets must increase their climate ambitions and sell less meat and more vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and grains. It is especially important during this COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow that companies set a good example.

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Jongeren vinden dat supermarkten minder vlees moeten verkopen om verdere opwarming van de aarde te voorkomen

2nd Nov 21 by Frank Mechielsen, Campagneleider bij Feedback

Nederlandse supermarkten doen te weinig om hun klimaatimpact drastisch te verlagen.

Tijdens de Klimaattop COP26 deze week in Glasgow is het belangrijk dat Nederlandse supermarkten hun ambities tonen in hun strijd tegen klimaatverandering. In de communicatie benadrukken ze het reduceren van de CO2-uitstoot in de eigen winkels en hun transport, maar dit is slechts een klein deel van hun uitstoot. 95% van de emissies komt uit de productieketen. Een derde daarvan wordt veroorzaakt door de productie van vlees en zuivel. Albert Heijn en Lidl beginnen transparant te worden over hun vleesverkoop, maar geen enkele supermarkt heeft een plan om de vlees- en zuivel verkoop te verminderen. Dit concludeert campagneorganisatie Feedback EU in een nieuw rapport.

Het rapport is mede gebaseerd op een peiling van IPSOS onder een representatieve steekproef van 994 stemgerechtigde Nederlanders. Vier op de tien jongeren zien een grotere rol voor de supermarkten om de vleesconsumptie te verminderen. Bijvoorbeeld door minder aanbiedingen van vlees en meer promotie van vleesvervangers. Aanhangers van GroenLinks, de Partij van de Dieren, en D66 verwachten ook meer leiderschap van supermarkten op dit thema. Verder zegt 18% van de  jongeren tot 35 jaar geen vlees te kopen, bijna twee keer zo hoog dan gemiddeld.

De 5 grootste retailers hebben met 80% marktaandeel een enorme invloed op het voedselsysteem in Nederland. Vorig jaar zagen de supermarkten hun omzet met 14% stijgen dankzij de Corona-maatregelen. Bijna de helft (45%) van de consumenten onder de 35 vindt dat supermarkten hun Corona-winst moeten herinvesteren in het aanbieden van meer plantaardige en duurzaam geproduceerde producten.

De Nederlandse supermarkten blijven te veel goedkoop vlees aanbieden wat wereldwijd zorgt voor meer dan de helft van de broeikasgasuitstoot gerelateerd aan voedsel. In Nederland is veeteelt ook de drijvende kracht achter de stikstofcrisis, en de groeiende uitstoot van methaan. Supermarkten moeten meer verantwoording nemen voor de klimaatimpact in hun hele keten door de verkoop van vlees en zuivel in 2030 te halveren, en meer gezonder en plantaardig voedsel aanbieden. Als ze dat niet doen, zullen ze hun klimaatambities niet kunnen waarmaken.

Het rapport analyseerde gegevens en toezeggingen van de vijf grote retailers en concludeert dat Albert Heijn, vanuit moederbedrijf  AholdDelhaize, als enige retailer, transparant is over de uitstoot van broeikasgassen in hun volledige toeleveringsketen, inclusief het deel veroorzaakt door dierlijke eiwitten en heeft zich verplicht tot een 15 % daling van de totale uitstoot van broeikasgassen in 2030.

Supermarkten beginnen te reageren. Albert Heijn zet zich in om in 2025 een balans van 50/50 in dierlijke/plantaardige eiwitten te bereiken en liet voor het eerst zien wat de huidige verhouding in eiwitverkoop is, namelijk 70% dierlijk en 30% plantaardig. Verder maakte Lidl bekend dat 25% van hun totale omzet betrekking heeft op vers vlees en zuivelproducten. Jumbo stelde een nieuwe doelstelling op om hun plantaardige alternatieven te verhogen van de huidige 4% naar 10% in 2025. Geen enkele grote supermarkt heeft tot nu toe specifieke doelen aangegeven om de verkoop van vlees en zuivel te reduceren. Het veel kleinere Ekoplaza loopt hierin voorop en heeft specifieke streefcijfers om de vleesverkoop in 2022 te verlagen.

Uit de in juni 2021 gepubliceerde Britse scorecard van Feedback bleek dat geen van de 10 grootste supermarkten in het Verenigd Koninkrijk stappen zet om het vleesaanbod te verkleinen. Ze blijven vleesconsumptie stimuleren door reclames waarin gestunt wordt met lage prijzen. Ook in Nederland wordt er nog veel gestunt met vlees in de aanbieding zoals blijkt uit de jaarlijkse kiloknallers factsheet van Wakker Dier. In 2022 zal Feedback een scorecard lanceren samen met partners uit andere EU-landen om supermarkten te beoordelen op hun toezeggingen, beleid en handelspraktijken om klimaatverandering en de overgang naar minder en beter vlees aan te pakken.

In het recente rapport van de Food Policy Coalition waaraan Feedback heeft meegewerkt, wordt het belang van een gezonde en duurzame voedselomgeving benadrukt. Supermarkten moeten hun marketingmiddelen inzetten om hun klanten juist gezonde en duurzame plantaardige keuzes te laten maken. In plaats van de huidige fixatie op prijs, zouden supermarkten andere waarden zoals gezondheid van mens en dier, milieu, klimaat, eerlijk inkomen voor boeren en arbeiders veel meer centraal moeten zetten in hun communicatie naar de klant.

De Transitiecoalitie Voedsel (TCV), waar Feedback aan deelneemt, pleit voor een ambitieuze ‘eiwittransitie’ van 60/40 naar 40/60 in dierlijke/plantaardige eiwitten te bereiken in 2030. Tijdens het ´Plant the Future´ diner vorige maand kwamen meer dan 100 organisaties en bedrijven samen, om te bespreken hoe plantaardig het nieuwe normaal kan worden. De politiek moet de eiwittransitie speerpunt te maken in het beleid gericht op voedsel, klimaat en gezondheid. Bedrijfsleven moet aangestuurd worden om aanbod en promotie van dierlijke producten aan te passen.

The True Animal Protein Price Coalition (TAPPC), actief deze week tijdens de CoP in Glasgow, promoot en milieuheffing op vlees. Volgens het PBL leidt dit tot een reductie van 2 Mton CO2 eq. per jaar, een kleine kolencentrale. Een ruime meerderheid van de bevolking ondersteunt een milieuheffing op vlees in het regeerakkoord, wat D66 en Christen Unie ook ondersteunen.

Een derde van de totale uitstoot van AholdDelhaize wordt geproduceerd door vlees en zuivel. Dit komt overeen met de jaarlijkse uitstoot door de verwarming van 6 miljoen woningen, driekwart van alle woningen in Nederland. Supermarkten moeten hun klimaatambities opschroeven en minder vlees gaan verkopen en meer groente, fruit, peulvruchten, noten en granen. Beter voor de gezondheid van onszelf en onze aarde. Juist tijdens deze Klimaattop COP26 in Glasgow is het belangrijk dat bedrijven het goede voorbeeld geven.

Lees het volledige rapport en de Ipsos peiling.

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Supermarket scorecard reveals UK retailers are fuelling demand for meat and dairy at expense of the climate

17th Jun 21 by Jessica Sinclair Taylor

UK supermarkets are fuelling demand for meat and dairy products which is harming public health and the climate.

UK supermarkets are fuelling demand for meat and dairy products which is harming public health and the climate, reveals a new supermarket scorecard published by environmental charity, Feedback, today.

The scorecard ranks the UK’s top 10 supermarkets on their efforts to reduce the environmental cost of the meat and dairy products they sell. The Co-op, Tesco, and Waitrose top the rankings but even the Co-op, the best performing retailer, scored just 45%.  Asda, Iceland and Lidl ranked bottom with the worst performer, Lidl, scoring just 17%.

Carina Millstone, Executive Director of Feedback, said: “UK supermarkets are continuing to drive demand for meat and dairy products that are already responsible for 15% of greenhouse gas emissions – and fuelling deforestation in the Amazon and elsewhere. It’s time for supermarkets to step up to the plate, slash their meat and dairy products and offer customers more sustainable and healthier options”.

The scorecard revealed that many supermarkets have improved their environmental policies since the last assessment in 2019 but that they were failing to translate this into action:

  • All 10 supermarkets actively encourage meat consumption through promotions, and not just to avoid waste when products near their expiry dates. This means retailers are fuelling – and not simply responding to – demand for meat.
  • Only one supermarket, the Co-op, is accurately measuring and publicly reporting on the climate impact of the goods it sells – but only for its own label products.
  • Half the supermarkets including Tesco, M&S and ALDI continue to use misleading or ‘fake farm’ labels and names such as ‘Trusted Farms’ which give the impression that their meat is produced to higher standards than is the reality.
  • Options such as organic or free range make up less than 20% of the products offered by all the supermarkets, while Iceland offers no free range or organic options. Only 3 retailers – Asda, Morrisons and Tesco – ensure that more than a quarter of the ready to cook meals they offer are vegetarian or vegan.
  • None of the supermarkets reveal how much meat and dairy they sell as a proportion of their protein sales, making it difficult to track their progress.

More promising signs include the steps taken by all retailers to promote healthy fruit and vegetable consumption, commitments from the Co-op and Sainsbury’s to link board or senior leadership remuneration to achieving environmental outcomes, and supermarkets’ work to put pressure on Brazilian suppliers to prevent products linked to deforestation from entering their supply chains. All the retailers, with the exception of Iceland and ASDA, have made a public commitment to drop meat linked to deforestation; however they have yet to remove these products, including chicken and pork fed on soya grown in deforested areas, from their shelves.

Meat and dairy production contributes to climate change through direct emissions from animals and their waste and through the destruction of important ecosystems such as the Amazon rainforest to raise cattle or grow soy for animal feed. The UK imports the majority of its soya from South America, at least 90% of which is fed to animals, particularly chicken and pork.

The 10 supermarkets control 94% of the UK grocery market and have a huge influence on what we eat through the products they sell, and the way in which they market, package and promote them.

Many customers want to reduce the health and environmental impacts of their food with 43% of people surveyed by YouGov say they often make the choice to reduce their meat consumption when shopping.

The government’s Committee on Climate Change has said the UK need to cut meat and dairy consumption by 20% by 2030 to meet its climate commitments while the University of Oxford estimates consumption of meats such as beef should be cut by as much as 89% to meet the NHS Eatwell guidelines.

Carina Millstone said: “With 3 out of 4 shoppers visiting supermarkets several times a week, it is clear that retailers have a special responsibility to help their customers enjoy food that is both good for them and for the planet. Supermarkets must also take responsibility for the emissions of their sales, and commit to reducing these by selling much less meat and dairy and much more fresh fruit and veg.”

Simon Billing, Executive Director of Eating Better added: “Feedback’s scorecard shows retailers are still focused on boosting meat sales, despite setting net zero targets and pledging to help us eat healthier and more sustainably. Making it easier for shoppers to buy more meat and dairy than they need, or probably want is not the way forward for our health, or that of the planet.”

Mathieu Flamini, former professional footballer and environmental entrepreneur, said: “Reducing my consumption of animal protein and dairy improved my health and my performance on and off the pitch: I was able to recover quicker and cope with the daily workload better. I was not only doing myself good by eating less meat, but as a nature lover I was also able to reduce my impact on the planet. Together let’s all do our bit, including also the businesses like retailers who supply us so much of the food we eat.”

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