The move follows the success of the scheme with Sainsbury's 325 dairy farmers, who are part of Sainsbury's Dairy Development Group (SDDG) - they recorded a reduction in excess of 5,000 tonnes of CO2 during their carbon footprint assessment over the last twelve months.
Sainsbury's meat and poultry suppliers will be using the same carbon foot printing model, which is the first in agriculture to be certified by the Carbon Trust, in an effort to increase farm efficiency, reduce their environmental impact and provide farmers with greater cost savings.
AB Sustain has created these models exclusively for Sainsbury's which will calculate the carbon footprint for each sector on a farm by farm basis.
Annie Graham, Sainsbury's head of brand sustainability & agriculture said: 'We have been delighted with the way our dairy suppliers have taken on the challenge of environmental responsibility in the last 12 months. We are also pleased that following a year when conserved fodder was of medium quality, due to last year's appalling summer, a large proportion of our SDDG farms have still made significant improvements to their carbon foot print. We are delighted to announce this major environmental initiative to help our farmer suppliers.'
Over the last year AB Sustain has measured the carbon footprint of each of the 325 Dairy farms that supply Sainsbury's, which is a first for farming. The carbon footprint of each individual farm was then independently certified by the Carbon Trust. No other work has been certified which captures data by visiting every farm and running it through an accredited model.
On every farm factors such as energy use, grass conservation, manure storage and management, feed usage, housing and water recycling were assessed to identify areas for improvement.
This information was used by dairy farmers to make changes that were often small scale, such as putting sensors on yard lights and harvesting rainwater for re-use. Farmers have also been able to cut unit costs of production, for example through higher yields per cow, using feed more efficiently, or managing fertiliser and manure applications differently.
Mr Robert Reader - SDDG farmer said: 'We have just completed our second annual assessment and are delighted to have made real improvements. We started looking at our power use; we changed our electricity supply to a dual tariff, put in PIR sensors around our yards and photo electric cells for lights inside. We progressively reduced our hot water heating times and put in better lagged tanks. This has reduced our electricity usage by 17%.
'We also started to monitor the fuel used by our tractors and decided to change one of these tractors for a more efficient one. This has cut down our fuel usage by 44% year on year. On top of this we monitored and planned the utilisation of our slurry and manure and have cut back on the use of artificial fertiliser by 15%.'
Euan Murray from the Carbon Trust said: 'Sainsbury's and AB Sustain lead the field in carbon foot printing of livestock products, and I'm delighted that the scheme is being extended to benefit even more farmers. The Carbon Trust provides assurance that our numbers meet the internationally recognised ‘PAS2050 methodology' and their own rigorous requirements for comparability with other certified footprints. We at The Carbon Trust continue to be impressed by the scale and detailed nature of this work.'