Morrisons granny smith apples packaged

As Russian tanks roll into Ukraine it’s perhaps not the best time to publish our Goodness issue. But while the industry is powerless in the face of such forces – forces that will add inevitably to our nation’s cost of living crisis – there are actions the industry can take (and is taking) closer to home to do the right thing.

On mental health, for example, the industry has tackled the crisis with impressive results. On food waste too, the volume of food surplus being redistributed has tripled since 2015. And if plastic reduction initiatives such as the ones announced this week from the likes of Tesco and Morrisons look like a drop in the plastic-filled ocean, Wrap’s research has broken the link between food waste and plastic usage in fresh produce – persuading supermarkets finally to eliminate plastic from the fresh aisles. It’s a huge step backwards – and I mean that in a good way.

Elsewhere, Tesco’s partnership with WWF is targeting system change across the sector with its pioneering ‘sustainable basket metric’. Oh, and Sainsbury’s has finally done the right thing and abandoned its insulting and inflammatory Fairly Traded alternative to Fairtrade.

Of course, these are all just works in progress. On food poverty, for example, the three-fold increase in waste distribution has coincided with a tragic rise in the number of food banks (up 128% in the same period) and the emergence of hundreds of so-called social supermarkets (from a handful). On CO2 the journey has barely started. There’s lots of work to be done in other areas too, like diversity, obesity and more.

And too often pledges and commitments are PR-driven and not followed through. But corporate greenwashing is being increasingly scrutinised and whether it’s in the methodologies of NGOs like Which? or consumers themselves, they’re just not buying it.

Citing Greta Thunberg ’s ‘blah, blah, blah’, Riverford’s Guy Singh-Watson sums it up well. “Someone declaring a climate emergency just means absolutely nothing. What matters is actions.”