Food production relies on natural resources like fresh water and fertile soil, but high input, intensive agriculture can undermine the health of soils and freshwater systems.
We need to adopt nature friendly farming to help restore the fertility of the soil, make space for abundant wildlife, clean up our waterways, minimise pollution and lower greenhouse gas emissions, in line with science-based targets.
WWF Basket - Key Metrics for Agriculture
What is the target?
The WWF Basket gathers data from retailers on the percentage of fresh produce and grains in robust schemes for biodiversity and soil health (formerly referred to as robust environmental schemes') and the percentage of meat, dairy and eggs sourced to 'Better' standards, as set out by Eating Better's Sourcing Better Framework.
Water resources are also critically important for agriculture. The WWF Basket includes data on the percentage of fresh produce sourced from regions with sustainable water management. This metric has been included because the most effective means to understand whether water resources are being managed sustainably is to assess their use at landscape and regional level, not just on individual farms or sites.
You can find out the latest WWF Basket data on agriculture in our 2023 report, What's in Store for the Planet: the Impact of UK Shopping Baskets on Climate and Nature - 2023.
You can find out more about the WWF Basket ambition for agriculture in the Blueprint for Action and WWF Basket Outcomes and Measures.
WWF’s Retailers’ Commitment for Nature – Water Roadmap
The agricultural pillar of the WWF Basket includes an outcome aligned to the Courtauld Water Roadmap, for 50% of fresh food to be from areas with sustainable water management, by 2030.
WWF is working directly with WRAP to support and encourage the entire food and drink sector to take action, as set out through the Courtauld Water Roadmap, to deliver on the commitment to source 50% of fresh food from areas with sustainable water management by 2030. Over 55 UK food & drink businesses have signed up to this Roadmap, including all major UK food retailers.
In May 2023, working with WWF and WRAP, signatories to WWF’s Retailers’ Commitment for Nature – Co-op, Lidl, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose – agreed to a series of leadership actions and associated funding contributions intended to drive progress towards the milestones set out in the Courtauld Water Roadmap, and to catalyse other organisations across the food and drink sector to also act, fund and support delivery of the Roadmap.
To find out more about the Courtauld Water Roadmap, click here.
What's in Store for the Planet: The Impact of UK Shopping Baskets on Climate and Nature - 2023
Land of Plenty Report
Land of Plenty is WWF’s blueprint for how the agriculture and land use sectors in the UK can help fight climate change and bring nature back to life.
Low Carbon Farming
This report explores the capacity of UK agriculture to reduce GHG emissions, and the cost-efficiency of on-farm GHG emission reducing interventions. The associated Low Carbon Farming Guide transforms this information in to practical, printable guide for farmers.
Future of Feed I: Accelerating the use of Insect Protein in Animal Feed Systems
The report explores the potential opportunity to expand the use of insect protein in animal feeds, as a replacement for soy and fishmeal.
Future of Feed II: Low Opportunity Cost Feed Systems
This research explores the environmental and dietary impacts of a conceptual scenario whereby UK agriculture no longer fed any high opportunity cost feeds (such as grains and soybeans) to livestock.
Soil health guides
Created in conjunction with the UK Soil Health Initiative (UKSHI), these guides provide simple, practical steps to improve soil health in a variety of farming systems.
Soil health initiative: managing soils for a sustainable future in combinable crops
Soil health initiative: managing soils for a sustainable future in field vegetables
Soil health initiative: managing soils for a sustainable future in rotations with root crops and maize
Soil health initiative: managing soils for a sustainable future on lowland livestock farms
Soil health initiative: managing soils for a sustainable future on mixed farms
Soil health initiative: managing soils for a sustainable future on upland livestock farms
Pathway to harmonised metrics for the food industry
This report explores the opportunities for and barriers to driving greater alignment of the various sustainability metrics and initiatives which seek to measure and communicate the impact of the food industry.
Nitrogen: Finding The Balance
This report explores the impact of nitrogen on the UK’s environment, and whilst the scope of the report is limited to agriculture the analysis shows how agriculture is a large user of nitrogen and is a significant contributor to nitrogen losses in the environment.
Farming With Biodiversity
This WWF-International report outlines the changes that are needed to create food systems that support, rather than exploit, nature, with a focus on agricultural production systems.
Carbon Sequestration and Agri-Carbon Markets
This report explores the capacity of UK agriculture and land use to capture and sequester carbon, via various on-farm and land use change interventions. The report also considers the risks and opportunities associated with the emerging markets for captured carbon.
Regenerative Agriculture Policies of Food Businesses
This report reviews the soil health and regenerative agriculture policies of some of the UK’s largest food businesses, and provides recommendations for businesses seeking to develop their own robust and impactful policies.
Robust Schemes for Biodiversity and Soil Health - Explainer
An explainer setting out key details on 'robust schemes for biodiversity and soil health' for UK grown fresh produce and grains - a key WWF Basket metric.