Morrisons launches scheme to support sustainable beef and lamb farmers
UK supermarket retailer Morrisons has launched a new initiative to recognise, help and financially support environmentally conscious beef and lamb farmers.
The Sustainable Beef and Lamb Scheme will offer a slew of benefits to eligible meat farmers to incentivise aiming for net zero, including premiums for sustainably reared livestock, subsidised audits, and free advice on carbon emissions, animal nutrition and biodiversity.
Sophie Throup, Head of Agriculture at Morrisons, said: “UK agriculture currently accounts for 10% of all UK greenhouse gas emissions and we know our customers want to eat meat that’s produced in a sustainable way.
“True sustainable farming means looking at the whole farm and all of its environmental aspects – and putting nature right at the middle. We are investing in the Sustainable Beef and Lamb Scheme to maintain value for customers while helping farmers reach net zero and go beyond to become nature positive.”
Payment premiums will form a large part of the scheme, with farmers receiving at least 10p per kilogram extra for rearing what it considers sustainable beef – with the two main stipulations being that the cow has been slaughtered aged younger than 18 months and fed an as-yet-unspecified sustainable diet.
The premium will likely be welcomed by farmers, given the struggles many are facing currently with soaring production costs.
Beyond sustainable rearing of cattle for meat Morrisons said other environmentally conscious behaviours that would be rewarded, include sourcing ‘greener’ feeds, improving things like soil health and biodiversity, and taking greater care to maintain the health of herds.
The Sustainable Beef and Lamb Scheme supplements Morrisons’ existing programme of action working toward net zero. Launched last year, it pledges the supermarket will exclusively source its meat and produce from net zero farms by 2030 – a target it says is at least five years ahead of its competitors.
So far, over 130 beef and lamb farms have signed on to the scheme, with a further 500 expected to be onboard by the end of the year. While this is a substantial figure, it pales in relation to the total 2,100 beef and lamb farmers which currently supply the supermarket.
Morrisons said this new scheme will be assessed by Red Tractor, through its Environment Module which was launched last year to recognise the sustainability commitments of farms.
Red Tractor Chief Executive Jim Moseley said: “Red Tractor’s Environment Module is aimed at developing a common industry approach, that will enable our farmer members to meet the requirements of their customers, without the need for multiple programmes.
“We relish the opportunity to work with Morrisons, who are proud supporters of British meat, to demonstrate the green credentials of British farmers.”