Green Shopping Reports

A report via the Guardian »

‘Green’ food shopping possible on a budget, watchdog says

· Sainsbury’s, M&S and Waitrose get best ratings
· Too much packaging used, says consumer group

Rebecca Smithers, consumer affairs correspondent
The Guardian / Monday October 15 2007

Supermarkets’ policies on sustainable and ethical buying have become so mainstream that “green shopping” is no longer the preserve of an affluent elite who can afford high prices, a report claims today.

But not a single supermarket got the top rating for the proportion of UK seasonal produce on sale, according to the research by the National Consumer Council (NCC), while it also uncovered large amounts of unnecessary packaging.

In its annual test of supermarkets’ green policies, the NCC reports a “profound shift” in the approach by retailers, in which even stores’ cheaper ranges are embraced in a greener agenda.

Three major supermarkets, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose, head the green league t able, each with a B rating.

The two largest chains, Tesco and Asda, have made progress over the past 12 months. Last year they were described as “disappointing performers” and each awarded only a D, but this year have moved up to a C. Morrisons and Somerfield also progressed from an E to a D.

Further signs of a shift in the market include both Morrisons and Tesco selling energy efficient lightbulbs at low prices, while Asda, the Co-op and Somerfield greatly increased the proportion of in-season vegetables produced in the UK.

But the survey, carried out by the independent group Sustain, says no retailer has yet risen to the challenge of being a truly green business, with even the top performers failing to implement basic measures. No supermarket got top marks for the amount of British in-season produce on sale, while the report noted the “wildly varying performance” in terms of unnecessary packaging and plastic bags.

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