Ekoplaza best in supermarket sustainability test, Jumbo comes last

organic supermarket

Dutch supermarkets are lagging behind when it comes to complying with agreed sustainability goals, such having as less meat on the shelves, clarity about the origin of products and a concrete approach to limit deforestation, a report by research bureau Questionmark has shown.

The research, carried out in 2020 and 2021, comprised eight large supermarket chains, including Ekoplaza, which is the only supermarket which advertises itself as  ‘sustainable’ and sells mainly organic food.

Ekoplaza and Albert Heijn scored the highest marks followed by Plus, Aldi and Lidl with Coop, Dirk and Jumbo bringing up the rear.

Supermarkets are paying mainly lip service to agreements such as the climate accord and the biodiversity Deltaplan, head researcher Gustaaf Haan told the Volkskrant. ‘Their own policies are very short on the measures they will take to reach climate goals,’ he said.

The supermarket chains, which represent 80% of the total market share, are not doing enough to discourage the consumption of red meat, for example.

Researchers found that 90% of the supermarkets still sell red meat, a product with one of the biggest carbon footprints. Six out of eight supermarkets even promoted meat products during De Week zonder Vlees (meatless week), ignoring agreements on limiting the consumption of products containing animal protein.

The responsibility for sustainable buying is often put on the consumer’s plate,’ Haan said,’but it’s impossible to make sure a product has been sustainably made while you’re shopping. It’s the supermarkets who should make sure their products comply with sustainability norms.’

Supermarket umbrella organisation CBL told the paper it ‘does not recognise the results of the investigation’ because supermarkets have ‘made great strides in the area of sustainability.’

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