The company, which has almost 1,000 stores and over 21 million customers, said it was an ambitious and one of the most far-reaching programmes ever announced in the industry, as it sets out 20 targets covering its employees, products and community work.
Sainsbury’s fair-trade foods accounted for £276million worth of sales in 2010 and are the world’s largest Fairtrade retailer. The supermarket company are also the largest retailer of RSPCA Freedom Food-certified products and MSC certified fish.
The initiatives was launched under the 20 by 20 sustainability plan will include increasing sales of fairly traded products to £1billion, making sure suppliers of meat, eggs, poultry and dairy products follow higher welfare standards as well as driving down energy use in stores and doubling the amount of British food sold from the current £4billion a year.
Sainsbury’s is also pledging that by 2020, they will create 50,000 new jobs by which point it expects 20,000 members of staff will have reached 20 years service.
Sainsbury’s new plan also overlaps with their new Brand Match scheme. The company are pledging to save customers money by price matching thousands of items sold by rival supermarkets including Asda and Tesco, which follows Tesco’s launch of its Big Price Drop campaign.
Justin King, Sainsbury’s chief executive, said, “Given the scale of our business, we believe these 20 commitments represent the most ambitious sustainability targets in our industry. If we are to meet the sustainability challenges that lie ahead, it is important that companies such as Sainsbury’s invest in the future right now. We do not see this plan as a luxury, it is rather an essential investment that will ensure we can continue to provide customers with quality food at fair prices, sustainably. This represents another step in helping our customers live well for less.”
The announcement was welcomed by David Cameron, who said it was a fine example of the Every Business Commits government scheme, which encourages all companies including suppliers, UK restaurant insurance providers, restaurants and everyone else to help build a “big society”.
President of the National Farmer’s Union (NFU), Peter Kendall, said “We’re delighted to see Sainsbury’s commitment to double its sourcing of British food. It recognises the high quality and standards of production that British farmers meet and that consumers increasingly expect in the food that they buy. This additional demand will send a really positive signal to the industry at a time when farmers are facing massive investment pressures.”
Fairtrade Foundation’s executive director, Harriet Lamb, said that Sainsbury’s was building on an already remarkable record over fair trade product sales.