Speaking at the Reuters IMPACT climate summit in London, Murphy said that sustainable innovation in the food industry could be transformational, helping to cut costs, lower carbon emissions, protect food safety and stimulate green growth.
'Safeguard The Shopping Basket'
“As we work to protect customers and suppliers from rising costs today, we must also do all we can to safeguard the shopping basket from shocks tomorrow," he said.
"That means building a more resilient, sustainable and productive food system. One that guarantees customers a long-term supply of quality, affordable food as well as improving the economy and world they live in."
At the event, Murphy announced that Tesco will expand its trial of low-carbon fertilisers, many of which are produced in the UK, and partner with suppliers to drive a tenfold increase in the number of hectares being cultivated by low-carbon alternatives for the 2024 growing season.
'Part Of The Solution'
As he explained, low-carbon fertilisers could be both a positive sustainable and economical move, given recent price hikes in the fertiliser industry.
“Innovations like low-carbon fertiliser are part of the solution," said Murphy. "As the early results show, they have huge potential to cut greenhouse gas emissions, enhance soil health and water quality, as well as providing greater cost certainty for farmers and create industry here in the UK – which is why I am so pleased with our plans to scale up usage next year. But to realise the full benefits, we need to see action beyond our supply chain, too.
“We’ll only get there through cross-industry and cross-party collaboration. We all need to drive towards the same goal, and be better at sharing learnings and resources on the way. The food industry is willing to invest, but needs more stability and confidence when it comes to future policy. That is why it’s critical that all parties, regardless of political creed, stand by their Net Zero commitments and timelines.”
During the trial period, some 1,300 hectares of land were cultivated using eight different low-carbon fertilisers, manufactured from materials such as food waste, chicken litter, fire extinguisher waste and algae. Tesco plans to increase the trial to 13,000 hectares next year.