Waitrose earned the highest marks of any UK supermarket from the Environmental Investigation Agency and Greenpeace for its reduction of plastics in its product lines and throughout its stores.
Since 2017, the retailer has reported a more than 6% reduction in plastic in its own-brand and branded ranges – the lowest of all supermarkets in the UK. And in 2019, it launhed a refillable range in some stores as a trial for packaging-free shopping.
“We are pleased that Greenpeace’s league table has recognised our efforts to decrease our plastic packaging and pioneer unpacked shopping, but we realise there’s more to do,” James Bailey, Waitrose Executive Director, said. “We know this remains as important to our customers as it does to us so we have continued to explore ways we can do more.” Waitrose is also the first to “integrate unpacked items into its regular aisles within its shop in Wallingford Oxfordshire, rather than having a single unpacked fixture.”
It is hoping to see through this initiative how persuasive shopping for unpacked items can be. A report by Waitrose shows consumers are supportive of the efforts, as nearly all single-use packaging was eliminated across Unpacked products. One store had a 98% reduction in single-use plastics and 83% in all plastics during a trial.
“Waitrose Unpacked requires a fundamental change in shopping behaviour that has been ingrained for years,” Bailey said. “This next phase will help us to understand if we can make refillables a routine part of customers’ shopping trips that would allow us to roll out Unpacked further in the future.”
Lidl gives workers a boost: Lidl GM is rewarding all front-line colleagues with a one-time £200 “thank you payment” for their work and dedication during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Customer assistants, warehouse operatives and cleaners in more than 800 stores and a dozen distribution centres will receive the bonus “in recognition of their tireless efforts to keep the nation fed and provide a safe shopping experience for customers up and down the country.” Lidl GB is also giving each member of its office-based staff a £100 payment.
More than 25,000 colleagues are expected to get a reward, which totals £5.5m, from the company. Lidl’s colleagues not only received a £150 voucher in March but also saw slight increases in pay during November.
“Everyone in the food retail sector has been in the privileged position of being able to continue operating throughout this pandemic,” Christian Härtnagel, CEO at Lidl, GB said. “However, it has been an extremely challenging period and our teams have done a phenomenal job in helping to keep the nation fed. I am incredibly proud of the dedication and commitment our colleagues have shown and continue to show and this payment is about recognising their unrelenting hard work and thanking each individual for the important part they’ve played in the year like no other”.