Carbon footprint the new animal welfare

Consumers are increasingly concerned about the sustainability issue, a retail boss has warned.

Consumers are increasingly concerned about the sustainability issue.

That was the message from Chris Brown, director of ethical trading at Asda. at the UECBV - the European Meat Trading Union's meeting co-hosted by all the UK meat trade associations in Edinburgh last Friday. "Carbon footprints which take into account energy and water usage are becoming the new animal welfare."

He added industry was responding faster than government to consumer needs. "It is an area in which we cannot afford to prevaricate. We need grasp and we responsive to customer needs."

Brown also brought up the issue of producer supplier relationships. He said it would to be nice to say everything was rosy in the garden when there were still challenges to be met such as price and food safety. "Consumers are driven by price and see food safety as a given and put faith in the name on the door. So we have to make sure we have a responsive supply chain. Farm standards are being marked to EU standards and at the same time we recognise the British support the idea of local produce."

From a livestock perspective Brown was quick to point out it was not just producers who were affected by CAP reforms retailers were also, he said. "Everyone is looking for the silver bullet. We hope our relationship with producers is one of trust. Trust doesn't come in anything but fractions."

He said although many would say there currently there is an imbalance in producer-supplier relationships this would inevitably change when demand started outstripping supply. 'Good relationships require commitment on both sides. There is a big problem engaging with farmers. We have to get away from throwing bricks at each from trenches."

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