Land App, Sainsbury’s and UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology have formed an exciting partnership leading the way in the transition to sustainable food production and resilient supply chains.
This week, Land App announced a new and exciting partnership with Sainsbury’s – one of the UK’s leading food suppliers – to work towards a more resilient and sustainable supply chain. The project makes the most of Land App’s cutting-edge technology to highlight areas where biodiversity and habitat connectivity can be improved or restored, whilst targeting key interventions such as soil erosion and water pollution. By providing the tools for Sainsbury’s to monitor and track the environmental impact it has within their supply chain, the partnership will empower suppliers to make more informed decisions about farming with nature in mind. Increasingly, insight into land-use is recognised as critical for meeting biodiversity and net zero targets, and Sainsbury’s joining forces with Land App represents a significant step in this direction.
Making a “Digital Twin”
A key part of this process is to accurately map all of the farms that make up the Sainsbury’s suppliers, allowing for insight on the state of nature to be derived. Understanding key metrics such as the location of cropland, woodland and peatland – data which the farmers themselves own securely – as well as watercourse flow is critical to form what’s called the “baseline”. Once the “baseline”, or currently existing, contributions to biodiversity, connectivity and water quality are accurately mapped, then key steps to retain or improve them can be mapped out in a “land management plan” right across the supply chain. By creating access to a “digital twin” of the land that Sainsbury’s influences, not only can live habitat data be used to assess impact, but the pathway to a sustainable future can be precisely mapped before implementation.
“The demand for balancing food production with environmental recovery has never been so pressing. Land App is delighted to partner with Sainsbury’s to help drive environmental regeneration across our landscapes, whilst promoting sustainable food production” – Dan Geerah, Innovation and Partnerships, Land App
The UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
However, Land App is not working alone. Partnering with UKCEH – the leading scientific research centre for Hydrology and Ecology – we are providing the suppliers with key information to ensure that nature-positive interventions not only happen, but are placed in the most ecologically beneficial position. We are now hosting the E-Planner datasets from UKCEH, which provides key information on the best place to create five habitat types, including plant pollinator mixes and wet grassland. This aims to empower farmers to identify areas on the farm where they can maximise the benefit for nature, and the farm as a whole. E-Planner supports and streamlines decision making by presenting complex environmental data in an easy to interpret way. To learn more about E-Planner, please visit the E-Planner Tool here.
“It’s really important for us as environmental scientists to find ways to ensure that our research can make a difference on the ground. We designed E-Planner to place our research data in the hands of farmers, in a way that helps them find opportunities to manage their land in more environmentally sustainable ways. It’s been great to work with Sainsbury’s, with its broad range of suppliers, and with the Land App’s widely used digital mapping tool, to widen the reach of E-Planner and help integrate it into farm decision making”. – Dr John Redhead, Spatial Ecologist, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Growing Food for the Future
As policy makers and land managers start to think in broader terms of nature recovery at the landscape scale, and government schemes promoting soil health and biodiversity wait just around the corner, the drive to improve “Scope 3 Emissions” is all the more pressing. This means there is a greater need to understand the environmental impact from the individual field level in specific farms, to right across the supply chain. Improving biodiversity, soil carbon and habitat connectivity are all essential stages in transitioning to regenerative and sustainable land use. By using its vast network of suppliers to make genuine improvements to the environment where their products are grown, we hope that our Sainsbury’s partnership will establish them as leading figures in producing food with, and for, the future.
“The environment is extremely important to Sainsbury’s and our customers, as a business we depend on nature and want to ensure that through our direct operations and wider supply chains we are doing everything we can to protect and preserve it. By collaborating with industry experts and combining it with the wealth of knowledge that our farmers have, together we can play a part in making our food better for the planet.”
– Gavin Hodgson, Director of Agriculture, Horticulture & Fisheries, Sainsbury’s
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