water is the new carbon for food retailers


We led a workshop at Sainsbury’s about water use in the food supply chain based on original research done by cuttingthecarbon. A rapidly growing global population and the associated industrial development have long been seen as significant threats to fresh water supplies. But it is now increasingly clear that the additional problems of climate change and peak oil (the carbon cost of water) are worsening the situation.

Climate change is making weather patterns more unpredictable and farming more precarious. The combination of demographics and climate change is creating a perfect storm for fresh water supplies that threatens increasingly fragile food supply chains.

Alison Austin, Environmental Affairs Manager at Sainsbury’s said: “cuttingthecarbon made a compelling case for food retailers like Sainsbury’s to think hard about how we prepare for a world which is likely to experience dramatically increased stress on fresh water supplies."

"We currently source food from many areas that are going to be under pressure from water scarcity, water inundation or water pollution," Ms Austin went on to say. "The workshop they led for a group of our senior managers was extremely well received and stimulated considerable discussion. We are now reflecting on how best to take forward their recommendations.”

If you would like to read more about these issues, then please download the following cuttingthecarbon report:

“What should a responsible food retailer look like in terms of water use and what are the implications for UK government policy?”