How Green is Your Supermarket?

by Julie Gibbons on January 25, 2011

supermarket shelves

Setting aside the argument of whether a supermarket really can be considered green, Ethical Consumer‘s latest Ethiscore report on Supermarkets makes for interesting reading.

I know that many Organikal readers just don’t find it convenient to shop any any other way, and there’s no doubt that the growth of supermarket continues;

At the beginning of the 1990s, the UK’s then ‘big four’ took just under half of the British shopper’s spending on food. Today, Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons control around three quarters of our grocery market. (extract from Ethiscore Report)

So which supermarket do you shop in? Will these Ethiscore results change your mind?

47% The Cooperative
36% Marks & Spencers
26% Waitrose
23% Sainsburys
11% Tesco

The rating has been devised by Ethical Consumer:  you can find out more about the methodology and read the rest of the scores in the detailed report  at Ethical Consumer’s website . The full report is available to subscribers, or you can download the Buyers Guide for only £3. Nineteen shops are included overall, including Morrisons and Asda, Iceland and Lidl.

I’m really pleased to see The Co-op score so highly as this is our local supermarket. I’ve always thought M&S could take more of a stance – perhaps aiming to go all out organic, for instance. Their customers are generally not as price sensitive as those that frequent my local Co-op, for instance, so if there was a difference in price initially, it wouldn’t cause as much outrage! And of course, by doing so, they would help to bring the cost down.

It’s a shame, though not surprising, to see Tesco so far down the table particularly given their continued growth in market share (and profits).

By changing our shopping habits, we can really make a difference to the environment, to our own health and wellbeing – and to our purses. There’s no doubt that supermarkets offer us convenience. They’ve become so ubiquitous, it’s hard to imagine life without them. I wonder if you can guess where ASDA sits in this league table?

photo credit: kayboydell

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January 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm

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Mrs Green @ my zero waste January 26, 2011 at 8:37 pm

I’d guess that ASDA was around 11% too? I too use the Co-Op mostly, but I also use Sainsburys and Waitrose (when I can afford it!) Fortunately I have a localish organic farm shop which I have started using more and more. Last week my shopping came to £35 in there, which shocked me, but then I realised I only needed to ‘top up’ at the supermarket, rather than doing a big shop there and ‘topping up’ at the farm shop. I’m going to keep increasing my use of local shops and seeing if I can cut back on the supermarkets more and more; it’s not easy though is it – with them being cut out for convenience…

Thanks for sharing the results. I used to subscribe to Ethical Consumer, but let it lapse because a lot of the articles weren’t relevant any more… By that I mean I’ve become less of a consumer so I don’t really care which the most ethical trainers or gadgets are as I rarely buy them ;)


Julie Gibbons February 6, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Haha – you were nearly bang on there – ASDA was down in the doldrums at only 9% …

I’ll admit, I haven’t read the whole report yet – to be honest, I kinda know already how bad the supermarkets are… what I need to spend time on is getting better at never visiting them! Hard to do here in the villages of central Scotland, where independent shops are far and few between.

You are such an inspiration when it comes to consuming less. Isn’t it amazing how much stuff you really don’t need to have a joyous life? :)


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