The UPS Environmental Sustainability Award: Morrisons

Winner of Business in the Community’s UPS Environmental Sustainability Award 2019

Morrisons: Ambitious goals to remove plastic packaging for own-brand products 

  • 100 per cent of own-brand packaging will be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025 
  • Target to reduce weight of own-brand plastic packaging by 25 per cent 
  • 50 per cent of fruit and veg will be sold loose in 60 stores by 2019 

The planet is in the grip of a plastics crisis. By 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean1.  

Spurred by increasingly concerned customers – a recent survey showed more than 7,000 of them identified plastic as their most important new sustainability issue – food retailer Morrison has taken action. 

The Morrisons’ packaging policy, launched in 2018, has some big goals. The company aims for all of the company’s own-brand plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and it will contain 30 per cent recycled content on average. 

“Our customers have told us that reducing plastic is one of their most important concerns. That is why Morrisons is committed to keeping plastic in the economy and out of the environment.” 

David Potts, Chief Executive, Morrisons 

There is also a commitment to make a 25 per cent reduction to the weight of its own-brand plastic packaging and remove “problematic plastics” such as expanded polystyrene, PVC and black plastic by 2019. 

The business, which has its headquarters in Bradford, is already making progress. It has been working with its supplier, Arla, to ensure that own-brand milk bottles contain 30 per cent recycled content. Arla has adopted a similar policy for its own milk bottles too. 

The supermarket has also increased the number of loose fresh fruit and vegetables it sells in six of its stores. A typical produce aisle contains about 25 per cent loose produce. But Morrisons has removed plastic packaging from 50 per cent or more – and now wants to extend this to 60 stores in 2019. 

The company says its actions are based on listening to customers. Following feedback, it now provides paper rather than plastic-produce bags, allows customers to bring their own containers for meat and fish, and, in selected stores, offers loose cereals, grains and nuts. 

“Morrisons impressed the judges with their passion while working in an extremely competitive market. Morrisons have challenged the norms within their industry; their leadership is providing sustainable solutions across a variety of different ranges.”

Mark Vale, President, UK, Ireland and Nordics, UPS
References 
  1. Earth Day Network. Fact Sheet: Plastics in the Ocean. Available at earthday.org

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