Source: WWF

From left: Thomas Vellacott, CEO WWF Switzerland, Christoph Pohl, head of purchasing, Lidl International, and Kirsten Schuijt, director general WWF International

Lidl is launching a five-year international partnership with conservation group World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The tie-up comes after Lidl GB last year became the first discount supermarket to sign up to WWF’s Retailers’ Commitment for Nature, an industry-wide agreement to halve the environmental impact of UK shopping baskets by 2030.

The new long-term co-operation will focus on Lidl’s value chains across 31 countries to “accelerate sustainability” at an international level, with the WWF team helping the supermarket address “ecological challenges”, it said.

The partnership was “a new cornerstone in the commitment to sustainability that Lidl has been driving forward for years as part of its international sustainability strategy”, the retailer stated, with the common goal of helping customers making more sustainable choices.

“In our role as one of the largest food retailers, we are aware of our responsibility and our influence”, said Christoph Pohl, chief purchasing officer at Lidl International.

“We take responsibility with the aim of doing business within planetary boundaries. For Lidl, sustainable management is not only a question of attitude, but also the basis for the future viability of our business model.

“With the support and expertise of WWF, we will now take our commitment to sustainability to the next level. We can only overcome major global challenges such as climate change and nature loss by working together.”

Read more: How Lidl GB cracked open the Scope 3 emissions challenge – from farm to fork

The partnership will focus on key areas across its global supply chains, including biodiversity conservation, responsible management of water resources, climate protection targets, expanding traceable and deforestation-free supply chains, and responsible sourcing of commodities such as palm oil, soy, cocoa, and coffee, and well as fish and seafood.

The supermarket is also vouching to engage in advocacy for more “conscious, sustainable diets and consumption”, as well as ramping up efforts to reduce food waste.

In addition to Lidl’s work on its own value chain issues, the company will also support various WWF conservation projects to help protect the environment in regions from which it sources.

WWF International director general Kirsten Schuijt said: “In order to halt and reverse what is the biggest crisis facing humanity today, we need bold and urgent actions towards changing our food and energy systems, and the food and retail sector has a big role to play in driving this change.

“As one of the largest retailers, Lidl has enormous international leverage to drive sustainable change in the food and retail industry. WWF is proud to accompany Lidl on this journey on which we will both support and challenge the retailer.”