Environment secretary David Miliband met yesterday (20 July) with representatives from the UK's four largest supermarkets to discuss the implementation of the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs' Food Industry Sustainability Strategy.

The Strategy, launched in April this year, aims to improve the food industry's environmental, social and economic performance "from the farm gate to the consumer's plate" and tackle the impact that the industry has on resources, such as energy and water, and its relationship to climate change.

"We are calling on supermarkets to cut carbon emissions and adopt more environmentally friendly policies," Defra spokeswoman Jemima Broadbridge told just-food. "Yesterday's meeting was a part of that and a continuation of the Food Industry Sustainability Strategy. It was an opportunity to open a dialogue with the four major supermarkets and a chance for the new environment secretary David Miliband to introduce himself. No additional concrete targets have been set."

Of the meeting, Miliband said: "The food industry has the potential to significantly affect our fragile environment, but it is also in the unique position of being able to make a significant contribution to reducing our environmental footprint.

"I asked the supermarket leaders for their suggestions as to how they plan to increase their uptake of locally-produced, seasonal food; meet targets for reducing carbon emissions ... and to consider the most effective ways for them to tackle their wider environment footprint; provide clearer, more accessible guidance and information to consumers to help them evaluate the 'greenness' of electrical products on sale by using their purchasing power to influence the range of products available to consumers."