Biodiversity is critical to maintaining the natural ecosystems that safeguard food security worldwide. Overapplication of pesticides and unsustainable land use, means plants, animals, and microorganisms that pollinate, clean our air, and fertilise our soil are being lost with devastating consequences, putting global food security at risk. At Waitrose, we want to ensure our food is produced in a way that preserves and even enhances key natural resources, and we are conscious that maintaining and increasing biodiversity is essential.
The Waitrose Agriculture Plan sets out our commitment to farm with nature, enhance biodiversity, and regenerate the natural resources we rely on. We are already making strides within the Waitrose fresh produce category to protect biodiversity. We were the first major and for many years the only UK retailer to insist all our conventional UK (non organic) fresh fruit and vegetables are grown to Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF) Marque Standards, with a focus on nature-friendly farming and minimising impact on the environment. In 2021 we became the first major retailer to sign up to The UK Robust Potato Pledge - which will see us move away from the use of copper-based fungicides on our organic fresh potatoes in order to combat late blight Phytophthora. We have pledged to grow and sell only resistant or ‘robust’ organic fresh potatoes by 2026 provided that these varieties meet the required quality, thus removing the need to use potentially harmful copper fungicides.
View our policy on the use of pesticides in Fresh Produce.
In our dairy supply chains, all farmers are encouraged to devote at least 10% of their dairy farm to biodiversity and habitat management. We encourage planting mixed leys, including legumes such as red or white clover, which is nutritious for cows and also beneficial for bees.
Our Waitrose egg farmers have used a seed mix to plant over 100 acres of wild flowers to provide much-needed food for bees and butterflies which, in turn, provide food for farmland birds. The summer flowering of these wild flowers will offer a rich nectar food source for up to four years.