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Source: The Co-op

The pilot, in collaboration with Co-op’s beef partner Dunbia, will see farmers paid a premium for reducing their impact on the environment

The Co-op has launched a pilot scheme that financially rewards farmers in its beef supply chain for sustainable farming practices.

The retailer has outlined plans “to rapidly decarbonise its supply chain” via a new ‘Beef Sustainability Pilot’ in partnership with its supplier Dunbia, which will support and reward farmers for reducing their impact on the environment.

The two-year programme will enable Co-op to monitor the impact of integrating sustainable farming practices within its beef supply base.

The pilot will look to provide accurate emissions data and inform actions as part of the Co-op’s wider plan to be net zero by 2040.

Farmers in the pilot group, representing around 10% of Co-op’s Beef Supply chain, will be supported throughout the programme and have access to a bespoke emission reduction plan. Farmers will also receive a sustainability dividend linked to the level of reductions achieved over the course of the programme. 

“Recognising and rewarding farmers who are leading the way and making positive changes to reduce their carbon footprint is important in developing a more resilient and sustainable agriculture industry, so we’re thrilled to announce our new Beef Sustainability Pilot at Co-op alongside Dunbia,” said Co-op agriculture manager Joseph Keating.

“As a responsible retailer, we continue to lead on the issues that matter most to our member owners and customers, and supporting British farmers on their collective sustainability journey is at the very heart of this,” he added. ”We know that by investing in British agriculture, we are investing in the UK economy, supporting farming communities and meeting our members concerns for food provenance.”

Farmers will look to integrate different farming practises to lower carbon emissions, and as each farm was different, farmers will implement the options that have been recommended as part of their individual emissions reduction plan, the retailer said.

Throughout the programme, Dunbia will share knowledge and best practise, raise awareness and offer support to farmers seeking to reduce their on-farm emissions. Once completed, the results of the pilot will be used to help shape future sustainability plans at The Co-op.