The UPS Environmental Sustainability Award: Morrisons

Award Type: 

Finalist for Business in the Community's UPS Environmental Sustainability Award 2019

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

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% recycled content on average. 

There is also a commitment to make a 25% 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% 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% loose produce. But Morrisons has removed plastic packaging from 50% 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. 

References 

  1. Earth Day Network. Fact Sheet: Plastics in the Ocean. Available at earthday.org