// Lidl and supplier Wyke Farms to create supermarket-first carbon-neutral cheddar cheese by end of 2021
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// Discounter to roll out similar programmes with other suppliers to support carbon reduction ambitions
Lidl has announced plans to create carbon-neutral cheddar cheese by the end of this year as part of a wider commitment to tackle carbon emissions across its supply chain.
The British arm of the German discount grocer said it was working directly with one of its suppliers, Wyke Farms and its farming base, on the carbon-neutral cheddar project.
Through sustainable working practices, Wyke Farms will aim to save 22.5 million kg of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent weight of more than 1875 double-decker buses.
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Lidl GB said chilled cheese was the second biggest carbon emitter in the supply chain.
The retailer added that its cheddar will reach carbon neutrality through a mixture of sustainable farming, improved business practices and the purchase of “gold-standard” carbon credits.
Lidl consumers will also see the discounter’s carbon neutral pledge on Lidl Deluxe Cheddar products as from this week.
Lidl added it would work directly with Wyke Farms to help them take “decisive action” to reduce their on-farm emissions in five key areas: feed management, soil and land management, manure management, herd management and energy management.
Specific actions which farmers could adopt include cutting down on fertiliser use, converting to deforestation-free feed or using low food-mile feedstuffs.
An independent third party, The Carbon Trust, will also verify the project to ensure the approach taken stands up to scientific principles.
Lidl and Wyke Farms are also working together on a bigger ambition to pioneer a closed-loop system by 2030, which will ensure that carbon neutrality is being achieved from completely within the supply chain itself.
This programme aims to incorporate carbon captured by Wyke Farms through the process of turning bio-waste from local Lidl stores and suppliers into renewable energy, paving the way for a fully sustainable dairy farming model.
“At Lidl, we’re passionate about making good food accessible for everyone, produced in ways that benefit producers and our planet,” Lidl GB head of responsible sourcing Amali Bunter said.
“We are also committed to future-proofing British farming by helping introduce more sustainable practices.
“Our partnership with Wyke Farms is aiming to tackle some of the barriers to addressing carbon-neutrality in farming.
“Developing a closed-loop system requires significant investment, but we believe that this pioneering programme will help set the standard for our supplier practices going forward.”
Wyke Farms managing director Richard Clothier said: “I’m hugely excited by this collaborative project. It is only by all parts of the supply chain working together that we can hope to address climate change.
“We are delighted that Lidl and our farmer suppliers are on this important journey with us. As ‘practical environmentalists’, for the sake of our children, we absolutely have to produce quality cheese products in a way that creates a net positive impact on the environment.”
The news builds on a 25-year partnership between Lidl and Wyke to pioneer sustainable farming and business practices.
Past measures have included paying farmers a bonus to incentivise more sustainable practices, reducing plastic and improving recyclability of cheese packaging.
Lidl also plans to work closely with other suppliers in a range of categories to support their carbon reduction journeys.