Sustainability | Our Products

Costa Rica: Biodiversity partnerships

We all love bananas, but there’s more to growing them than just planting a few trees. As plantations and cattle farms developed in Costa Rica, areas of rainforest became isolated and disconnected from each other. This meant that the animal species living there were cut off from others. This caused problems in terms of reproduction – and the shrinking gene pool affected the natural processes of evolution.

Monkey corridors

Nature and Community Project

To tackle this, Chiquita and Migros set up a ‘biodiversity partnership’ in 2003. In 2004, the biodiversity partnership –the Nature and Community Project – was officially launched. The German government’s development corporation, GTZ, joined in 2005 and Asda’s sourcing arm, IPL, joined in 2011. Together, these companies work with local businesses, schools, communities, scientists and government institutions to help protect and preserve Costa Rica’s biodiversity.

The motto of the biodiversity partnerships is: ‘conserving biodiversity, with the community and for the community’.

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Posted in Sustainability | Our Products on 07 October 2014
Sustainability | Food Waste

We’re working hard to reduce food waste. Working in partnership with our suppliers and the charity FareShare, we have developed an innovative and sector-leading scheme to reduce food waste within our supply chain, while at the same time increasing food donations to charities across the UK. It’s all based around surplus stock at distribution centres and the choice between returning stock to suppliers or redistributing it to charity.


How does the scheme work?

In partnership with FareShare, our new scheme aims to take surplus stock and use it to feed those that need it most thus ensuring that perfectly good food does not go to waste. With around nine million cases being handled in our supply chain every week, this could amount to approximately 35,000 cases of food being distributed to charities every week.

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Posted in Sustainability | Food Waste on 07 October 2014
Sustainability | Energy

We’re working hard to reduce energy across our operations. From 2007-2013 our energy efficiency programme resulted in savings of £41.9 million. By 2020 we are aiming for flat energy usage, based on 2012 figures, irrespective of future growth.

Save energy

Investing in efficiency

Every year, we invest £10-15 million to improve energy use and reduce carbon emissions from our stores, depots and offices. Since 2005, we have reduced energy use by 33% in existing stores and 45% in new stores. The energy saved is the equivalent to that used by over 60,000 homes every year.

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Posted in Sustainability | Energy on 07 October 2014
Sustainability | Our Products

As the first UK supermarket to stock sweet yellow passion fruit, we’re really proud to be at the forefront of new products. The sales of exotic fruits are on the increase and introducing new products is a great way to stay one step ahead and offer our customers even more choice.

Sweet yellow passion fruit

But, the story behind these exotic fruits goes much deeper than simply stocking new fruit on our shelves.

From Kenya to Asda…

Known as ‘grenadilla’ and native to South America, passion fruit was introduced to the UK in 19th Century. The fruit we’re used to seeing is the small, dark purple variety, but this new Kenyan variety is larger, yellow in colour, with much sweeter seeds so it can be enjoyed straight from the fruit bowl or added to fruit salad, jellies or mousse.

It’s not just about a new addition to the fruit bowl though. Our Kenyan smallholder suppliers are supported by the Department for International Development (DIFD) in a project which helps them to become long-term sustainable suppliers to the UK. And this support and assured market for their produce can help to create new jobs, boost incomes and help to reduce their dependency on aid.

Our sourcing arm, IPL, has been working directly with partners in Kenya to scale up the production of sweet yellow passion fruit. Alongside increasing the number of vines, smallholders are being trained in good agricultural practice and food safety techniques.

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Posted in Sustainability | Our Products on 07 October 2014
Sustainability | Store Energy

Refrigerants, it’s a complicated field. With changes in legislations, recommendations and disagreement within the industry, it’s also a key area of focus for us.

And we’ve taken a different stance from many others in the retail sector. We believe that remaining technically flexible for an ever changing future will allow alternative and emerging technologies to be implemented based on merit and evidence rather than emotion. We are concerned that committing to a single track technical route too soon could become very limiting, potentially missing out on a whole host of new development opportunities.

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Posted in Sustainability | Store Energy on 07 October 2014