Last reviewed 19 April 2021

Major UK supermarkets and food businesses — including Co-op, Iceland and Waitrose — have joined WWF in calling for a bold and forward-looking vision for UK trade, that puts the environment and the transition to a green economy at the heart of policy.

Highlighting the food sector’s reliance on ‘ecosystem services’, from healthy soils to clean water and a stable climate, the businesses have signed a statement urging ministers to develop core standards for trade, in line with recommendations set out by the Trade and Agriculture Commission.

This would include environmental, animal welfare and public health standards for all food sold in the UK, no matter where in the world it is produced.

In the statement, available at https://www.wwf.org.uk/sites/default/files/2021-03/Business_Statement_Trade.pdf, the signatories urge the Government to capitalise on the UK’s new status as an independent trading nation to define a path for trade that will help tackle the climate and nature emergency, and enhance supply chain resilience.

Tanya Steele, Chief Executive at WWF, said: “Businesses know what is at stake and – like us – they want politicians to act. The UK Government must stand up for nature by setting core environmental standards for all food bought and sold in the UK, championing those standards at home and overseas and supporting farmers who are committed to a sustainable approach.”

WWF also draws attention to a recent report, “Environmental standards for UK agriculture in a new trade policy framework”, produced by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), which can be found at https://ieep.eu/uploads/articles/attachments/e635600e-43e8-4fef-9f09-691fbae16f2d/Environmental%20standards%20for%20UK%20agriculture%20in%20a%20new%20trade%20policy%20framework%20(IEEP%202020).pdf.