New ‘Foundation Earth’ initiative to reveal environmental impact of British food labels

UK Government and major brands collaborate and launch new initiative to help consumers shop more sustainably

Will Broome, CEO of Ubamarket, discusses the pre-existing technology available to consumers in the fight against plastic waste.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that food production is a major contributor to carbon emissions and the industry is responsible for up to 37% of greenhouse gases. Foundation Earth, a new government-backed initiative, is in collaboration with major brands, such as Nestlé, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Co-Op and Costa Coffee to help consumers make better decisions while shopping. A new ‘traffic light system’ on food and drinks packaging is due to be launched in September and will allow consumers to easily understand the environmental impact of their shopping items and to make more environmentally friendly choices in buying goods that have a low-carbon footprint from suppliers focused on sustainability.

Based on a system developed by food scientists at Oxford University with support from the World Wide Fund for Nature, the initiative aims to provoke innovative-thinking in supply chains of the food and drinks industry to reduce their environmental impact.

The new partnership has been welcomed by innovators of reducing plastic waste within the grocery sector. Having active partnerships with EuroSPAR, Central England Co-Op and Warner Budgens through the provision of Scan, Pay, Go apps, Ubamarket provides a ‘Plastic Alerts’ feature to offer retailers and customers alike a solution to combat their sustainability concerns. This allows shoppers to scan every product in-store for information on the recyclability of any packaging. Customers then receive a “sustainability score” at checkout, to see where they can easily make changes to shop more sustainably. 

Will Broome, CEO and Founder of Ubamarket, discusses the importance of sustainability moving forward for Britain’s retailers and provides insight into the role of technology in the movement towards a more sustainable future of retail:

“As the climate crisis is a pressing issue, it is encouraging to see the UK government and major brands coming together to reduce the impact of carbon emissions in the UK. This is helping us as a society take major steps towards creating a more sustainable future for the food retail sector, and retail across the board. It is imperative that other retailers take heed of this and work quickly to establish their own sustainability goals and action plan. 

“Implementing mobile technology, such as that provided by Ubamarket, is one effective way for retailers to get ahead of the curve – not only can it improve in-store efficiency and provide access to useful data for the retailer, but Ubamarket’s Plastic Alerts feature allows customers to shop according to the recyclability and environmental footprint of different products, and enables the customer to scan packaging for information on whether it can be widely recycled or not. We have also shown that customers spend 21% more on their shop using Ubamarket’s technology, but less of their shopping goes to waste as they purchase more of what they consume most.  

“It is my hope that we see more sustainability initiatives in the coming weeks and months, and I would strongly encourage retailers to look into the benefits of mobile technology, for sustainability and increased success.”

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