Source: Morrisons 

The scheme builds on the retailer’s commitment last March for its 3,000 UK farmers and growers to achieve net zero status by 2030

Morrisons has announced the launch of a new Sustainable Beef & Lamb Scheme designed to support and incentivise its livestock farmers to reach net zero by 2030.

The scheme will include a number of payment premiums for meat producers who meet sustainability targets, with beef farmers, for example, receiving at least 10p per kg extra for rearing one type of cattle under 18 months on a sustainable diet.

Other incentives include free advice on carbon emissions, animal nutrition and biodiversity – including tree planting and landscape assessments; subsidised environmental audits and soil testing; and a range of discounts on products and services which will help improve farm sustainability.

Initiatives that would be recognised included sourcing greener feeds and introducing measures to become land and nature positive, by improving aspects such as biodiversity and soil health. Farmers would also be rewarded by becoming animal and enterprise positive by focusing on herd health, protecting family farming and more, Morrisons added.

The scheme builds on the retailer’s commitment last March for the 3,000 UK farmers and growers that supply its vertically integrated food manufacturing business to achieve net zero status by 2030. Morrisons expects the first products to reach net zero status will be eggs this year, followed by lamb, fruit, vegetables, pork and beef in the years to follow.

To date, more than 130 beef and lamb farms had already joined Morrisons’ net zero agriculture programme, it said, with 500 farms expected to be on board by the end of the year. Morrisons is supplied by 2,100 beef and lamb farmers in total.

“UK agriculture currently accounts for 10% of all UK greenhouse gas emissions and we know our customers want to eat meat that’s produced in a sustainable way,” said Morrisons head of agriculture Sophie Throup.

“True sustainable farming means looking at the whole farm and all of its environmental aspects – and putting nature right at the middle. We are investing in the Sustainable Beef & Lamb Scheme to maintain value for customers while helping farmers reach net zero and go beyond to become nature positive. The whole farm can be part of the solution.”

Morrisons intended to “significantly reduce carbon emissions in meat through improvements to what our animals eat and we’ll offset the remainder with initiatives such as sensitive tree planting and soil sequestration”, Throup added.

“But it’s also important to recognise that sheep and cattle largely graze on grass from their home farm, that their manures improve the soil health and biodiversity of the landscape, and that they are a nutrient-rich food. All of which can also significantly improve sustainability.”

Morrisons said the new scheme would be assessed by Red Tractor through its ‘Environment Module’, announced last year, to recognise each farm’s greener commitments.

“Sustainability and the environment are increasingly important to consumers, so retailers, caterers and brands are responding to this,” said Red Tractor CEO Jim Moseley.

“Red Tractor’s Environment Module is aimed at developing a common industry approach, that will enable our farmer members to meet the requirements of their customers, without the need for multiple programmes. We relish the opportunity to work with Morrisons, who are proud supporters of British meat, to demonstrate the green credentials of British farmers.”