The Co-operative Group is at loggerheads with the Soil Association over its plans for air freighted produce.

The Soil Association has called for air freighted produce to meet tough ethical trading standards but the Co-op Group has argued this would hit African producers, according to the Guardian.

“We consider that focusing on air freight is a very poor proxy for the environmental impact of a product, and also does not adequately deal with other social and/or economic consequences of disincentivising air freight, particularly for producers in the developing world,” said Laura Vickery, social reporting manager for the Co-op Group in a letter to the Soil Association.

“We believe it doesn't make sense at the most fundamental level for the Soil Association to focus on air freight when the environmental impact of meat and dairy products and use of forced heating in glasshouses are not subject to the equivalent level of scrutiny and public discussion,” she added.