The Global View

Government needs to sort out supermarkets’ sustainability

trolleyIt seems, much like Greenbang, the government has been avoiding tackling the supermarkets wherever possible. Always busy when you need a couple of pints of semi skimmed.

Bad government, naughty government.

That’s a short summary of the latest report from the Sustainable Development Commission. Here’s a long one too many supermarket practices are unhealthy, unjust and unsustainable because they government hasn’t properly pulled its thumb out and given the supermarkets what for. Too many conflicting messages, says the Commission. Too much of that hands off nonsense.

Here are some more highlights:

Current packaging legislation is vague and poorly enforced allowing supermarkets to continue over-packaging products, passing the burden of recycling and waste on to consumers and local authorities.
Recommendations include: Defra must develop an ambitious Packaging Strategy to follow its Waste Strategy.

Food – including its production, transportation, refrigeration and waste – accounts for a fifth of the average UK household’s greenhouse gas emissions – the single largest contribution. Meat and dairy, glasshouse vegetables, air-freighted produce, heavily processed foods and refrigeration are the main hotspots with disproportionately high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

Recommendations include: The government must work with the food industry to set a clear agenda for reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the whole food chain through to 2020, leading to at least at least 60% reductions by 2050 and Defra to communicate a clear timetable for phasing out HCFCs in refrigeration by 2015, to support development of alternatives to HFC refrigerants (including hydrocarbons), and to advise the supply chain on replacements for HCFCs and HFCs.

Also interestingly it proposes a water footprint system for products and supply chains. Good idea.