Red, amber, green: New traffic light labels to help Scots shoppers choose eco-friendly groceries

A pioneering traffic light labelling system signalling a product’s environmental impact is being rolled out in Scottish supermarkets as part of a major trial.

Lidl will apply Eco-Score labelling to more than 50 of its own-brand products, including teas, coffees and hot chocolate, as well as displaying wider communication in its stores.

The labelling system uses open-source data to independently grade products on their sustainability credentials and assigns a colour code – ranging from green ‘A’ for low-impact products to red ‘E’ for high-impact items.

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The coding will help shoppers better understand the environmental consequences of their shopping at a glance.

A traffic light labelling system will be applied on more than 50 own-brand products in all 150 Scottish Lidl stores as part of a major trial aimed at helping customers understand the environmental impact of the groceries they consume

Factors considered in the grading include production methods, effects on biodiversity, packaging and carbon footprint.

Products certified to third-party schemes such as Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance receive a greener score.

The labelling system will be used in all of the firm’s 105 Scottish stores from September as part of the trial.

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The Eco-Score labels grade a product on its impacts on biodiversity, production methods, packaging and carbon footprint, with red being the most environmentally harmful and green the most eco-friendly

The supermarket giant plans to use the scheme to promote its commitment to sourcing 100 per cent of its key raw materials, such as tea, coffee and cocoa, from certified sustainable sources.

“Rolling out the Eco-Score trial in Scotland is a huge milestone for Lidl, one we’re extremely proud of,” said Amali Bunter, head of responsible sourcing and ethical trade at Lidl.

“We know that shoppers want more support in understanding the environmental impact of the products they buy day-to-day and Eco-Score will do just that.

“The trial will help customers in our 105 Scottish stores road-test the new traffic light system and ultimately make greener shopping choices in the process.”

Over the course of the trial, Lidl will take feedback from customers on the new labelling system before deciding how to progress with the scheme.

The company will also share its findings from the pilot scheme to help shape an approach that works best for customers and the wider industry in the long term.

The labelling project comes on the back of the retailer deploying a series of other sustainability initiatives, including the installation of deposit return scheme (DRS) facilities across Scottish stores this year.

A nationwide DRS – a reverse vending system where customers who bring back empty bottles and cans receive a refund on a packaging levy – is due to be established across Scotland next summer.

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