Lidl GB today announces that, alongside one of its longest-standing suppliers, Wyke Farms, it is to create carbon-neutral Cheddar by the end of 2021. This is part of Lidl’s commitment to reduce carbon across its supply chain and support more sustainable farming practices.
In a supermarket-first, the discounter is working directly with Wyke Farms, and its farming base, on the carbon-neutral Cheddar project. Through sustainable working practices, the supplier will aim to save 22.5 million kgs of CO2 per year, the equivalent weight of more than 1,875 double-decker buses. At Lidl GB, chilled cheese is the second biggest carbon emitter in the supply chain.
The Cheddar will reach carbon neutrality by the end of the year, through a mixture of sustainable farming, improved business practices and the purchase of “gold-standard” carbon credits. Lidl consumers will see the discounter’s carbon neutral pledge on Lidl Deluxe Cheddar products as from this week.
Through the programme Lidl will work directly with Wyke Farms farmer suppliers to help them take decisive action to reduce their on-farm emissions. This will be achieved by taking steps in five key areas covering feed management, soil and land management, manure management, herd management and energy management. Specific actions which farmers could adopt include cutting down on fertiliser use, converting to deforestation-free feed or using low food-mile feedstuffs.
An independent third party, The Carbon Trust, will verify the project to ensure the approach taken stands up to scientific principles.
Lidl and Wyke Farms are also working together on a bigger ambition to pioneer a closed-loop system by 2030, which will ensure that carbon neutrality is being achieved from completely within the supply chain itself. As part of this closed-loop system, the programme aims to incorporate carbon captured by Wyke farms through the process of turning bio-waste from local Lidl stores and suppliers into renewable energy, paving the way for a fully sustainable dairy farming model.
Amali Bunter, head of responsible sourcing and ethical trade at Lidl GB, commented: “At Lidl, we’re passionate about making good food accessible for everyone, produced in ways that benefit producers and our planet.
“We are also committed to future-proofing British farming by helping introduce more sustainable practices. Our partnership with Wyke Farms is aiming to tackle some of the barriers to addressing carbon-neutrality in farming. Developing a closed-loop system requires significant investment, but we believe that this pioneering programme will help set the standard for our supplier practices going forward.”
Richard Clothier, managing director at Wyke Farms, commented: “I’m hugely excited by this collaborative project. It is only by all parts of the supply chain working together that we can hope to address climate change. We are delighted that Lidl and our farmer suppliers are on this important journey with us. As ‘practical environmentalists’, for the sake of our children, we absolutely have to produce quality cheese products in a way that creates a net positive impact on the environment.”
This project builds on a 25-year partnership between Lidl and Wyke to pioneer sustainable farming and business practices. For example, measures have included paying farmers a bonus to incentivise more sustainable practices, reducing plastic and improving recyclability of cheese packaging.
The discounter plans to work closely with other suppliers in a range of categories to support their carbon reduction journeys.