MORRISONS has pledged to become the first supermarket to be completely supplied by ‘zero emission’ British farms by 2030 – five years ahead of the industry.

The move comes after customers said they wanted their food to be as low emission and ‘green’ as possible.

Agriculture currently accounts for 10 per cent of all UK greenhouse gas emissions, with new research revealing that two thirds of people are considering the environmental impact of the food they eat.

Morrisons is UK farming’s biggest customer and will work directly with its farmers to create affordable zero emission produce. The first to hit shelves will be zero emission eggs by 2022, with lamb, fruit, vegetables, pork and beef following before the end of 2025.

Beef farming is the most challenging product to make greener as it currently generates 45 per cent of all UK agricultural carbon emissions for only five per cent of products sold. Almost half of this is due to methane produced by the cows. Morrisons is working closely with its farms to create a zero emission beef range by 2025 by using smaller cattle breeds, low-methane feed, methane reducing supplements (such as seaweed), and by planting trees.

The National Farmers Union has asked farmers to work towards a 2040 ‘net zero’ emissions goal, with other supermarkets working towards 2035. British farming’s biggest supermarket customer, Morrisons, will work alongside its 3,000 farmers and growers to achieve this target five years earlier, in 2030.

Morrisons and a selection of its farmers are this month starting work on zero emissions ‘farm models’ that will look at the complete journey of meat and crops from germination to leaving the farm. They will serve as a blueprint - and be rolled out across all Morrisons farms to produce all food in this zero emissions way.

The models will look at reducing carbon by: rearing different animal breeds; using low food-mile feedstuffs; using renewable energy and low emission barns; and cutting water and fertiliser use. Offsetting carbon emissions will also be done by: planting grassland and clover; restoring peatland; planting trees, and seeding hedgerows.

As part of the programme, Morrisons will set up the world’s first School of Sustainable Farming at Harper Adams Agricultural University to offer farming training for future generations. The supermarket will also work with the NFU to pool farmer knowledge, Natural England on planting and water use, and will use industry experts to measure its schemes. David Potts, Chief Executive of Morrisons, said: “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges for our generation and growing food is a key contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. As British farming’s biggest supermarket customer, we’re in a unique position to guide our farms and help lead changes in environmental practices. It’s years ahead of industry expectations, and an ambitious target, but it’s our duty to do it.”