June 10, 2013

Waitrose to source LEAF Marque certified commodity crop ingredients

LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) is to work with Waitrose to source LEAF Marque certified commodity crop ingredients, such as wheat and rapeseed oil.

The LEAF Marque is a global environmental assurance system recognising sustainably farmed products. It is based on LEAF’s Integrated Farm Management (IFM) principles and all LEAF Marque farms are independently inspected.  There are 487 LEAF Marque farmers in the UK and 580 in another 36 countries.

LEAF Marque farmers already supply Waitrose with all of its UK sourced fruit and vegetables and Leckford Estate – the Waitrose Farm – is a LEAF Marque certified farm.  Adopting the LEAF Marque standard for its commodity crops means that Waitrose will strengthen its control frameworks for ingredients such as wheat and oilseed rape.

Jeremy Boxall, director of LEAF Marque said: “We’ve worked with Waitrose for many years now and this commitment to sourcing more LEAF Marque certified commodity crop ingredients provides an excellent market opportunity for our farmers. It also offers a clear incentive for other wheat and oilseed rape farmers in the UK to consider LEAF Marque certification. It’s becoming increasingly important for food businesses and retailers to ensure and demonstrate that they are sourcing responsibly and sustainably and the LEAF Marque is an ideal way to do this.”

Alan Wilson, technical manager agronomy, Waitrose added: “This is an important decision and signals the beginning of a new opportunity to work with progressive farmers who share the values of Waitrose and LEAF.  It is part of our Waitrose Way initiative to ensure that we engage and support farms that operate in an environmentally responsible way. This platform has already been a success for our fresh produce and we look forward to extending this into commodity crops such as wheat and oilseed rape.”

Waitrose plans to focus on oilseed rape in the first instance with a view to all UK oilseed rape production coming from LEAF Marque growers by 2016. A timescale is currently being agreed for wheat.

LEAF Marque farmers adhere to Integrated Farm Management (IFM), a whole farm approach enabling farmers to maintain high standards of food production with minimum environmental impact.

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