Temperate and tropical forests are some of the most valuable ecosystems on our planet, in fact we depend on them for our very survival. They are invaluable harbours for biodiversity, help mitigate climate change, protect soils from degradation and support the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on them.
We also understand that forests aren’t the only types of ecosystems in our supply chains that warrant protection. Expansion of agriculture to feed a growing global population is driving pressure on land of high conservation value, such as the Cerrado in Brazil, Gran Chaco in Argentina, local peatlands, land of high carbon stock and land home to protected and endangered species; we are equally committed to protecting these landscapes, alongside the rights of indigenous communities and people who make these environments their home.
For many years we have had commodity specific policies in place to address standards of production for products like wood & derived materials, and palm oil. However, we recognise the need for further action to protect vulnerable ecosystems and improve traceability. As such, we are working towards an ambition, for all key risk commodities, to be assured zero deforestation or conversion of high conservation value land by 2025.
Our plan to meet this ambition, which we launched in 2020, started with action on soy, an important commodity widely used in agricultural supply chains. However, it also includes action on established policies for timber, pulp, palm and cattle products.
Since outlining this ambition we have:
- Launched our sustainable soy policy in 2020
- Included progressive targets to achieve zero deforestation supply chains for key forest risk commodities by 2025
- Achieved certification of soy used in feed for poultry
- Achieved certification of soy used in feed for fish
- Supported the formation of the UK Soy Manifesto
- Revised our sustainable palm policy
- Achieved 100% RSPO certification
- Achieved >80% RSPO segregated certification
- Moved to having all Morrisons brand corned beef from British and EU origin
We still have action to take as part of our plan to address soy used in other agricultural supply chains and we are also working to update our policies on wood and derived materials to ensure they are aligned.
What are cut off dates?
Over centuries humans have inevitably changed much about the natural environment and it would be impossible to claim that land our products are produced on has never been cleared. This is why, along with many other retailers, our action on deforestation and land conversion is underpinned by a 2020 cut off date. In many instances standards that we use to assure deforestation and conversion free supply chains, or voluntary commitments, incorporate cut off dates much earlier than this.
What does zero deforestation mean?
Zero deforestation means no forest areas are cleared or converted. It allows for sustainable management of forest ecosystems, and includes the allowance for harvesting timber at a sustainable level which does not negatively impact biodiversity (such as under the Forest Stewardship Council standard).