Justin King today announced sainsburys 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan

Justin King today announced sainsbury's 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan

Sainsbury's today (12 October) unveiled a GBP1bn (US$1.57bn) plan to invest in British food, provide new jobs for communities, reward staff and reduce its carbon footprint.

The 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan sets out 20 targets for the supermarket giant to achieve by 2020, such as doubling the amount of British food it sells, reducing carbon emissions by 65% compared to 2005 levels and creating 50,000 jobs in the UK.

The retailer also aims to increase sales of ethical products to GBP1bn.

Justin King, Sainsbury's chief executive said: "Given the scale of our business, we believe these 20 commitments represent the most ambitious sustainability targets in our industry.

"If we are to meet the sustainability challenges that lie ahead, it is important that companies such as Sainsbury's invest in the future right now. We do not see this plan as a luxury, it is rather an essential investment that will ensure we can continue to provide customers with quality food at fair prices, sustainably.

"The 20 by 20 shows customers that they can indeed have greater quality at lower prices, without compromising on standards or their values."

Ben Eavis, Sainsbury's head of corporate responsibility, said that corporate social responsibility also makes business sense.

"While shoppers' budgets are coming under more and more pressure, their aspirations remain the same. They still want products and goods they can trust without compromise on standards, quality or ethics", he said.

"This plan will require a commitment of at least GBP1bn but it will be profitable and will start to pay back immediately. Indeed, on a planet with limited resources, commitments such as these are essential if we still want to be a profitable business in 2020 and beyond."

Prime Minister David Cameron, welcomed today's announcement as an example of his Every Business Commits partnership, which sets out guidelines for businesses to help society.

NFU president Peter Kendall is "delighted" that Sainsbury's is committed to double its sourcing of British food.

"It recognises the high quality and standards of production that British farmers meet and that consumers increasingly expect in the food that they buy. This additional demand will send a really positive signal to the industry at a time when farmers are facing massive investment pressures," he said.

On Sunday Sainsbury's announced Brand Match, a promotional activity that compares the price of a basket of branded grocery products at Sainsbury's stores with the price of the same products at Tesco and Asda and gives consumers a coupon if there is a difference.