The foods we choose are as important as the footprint we leave when we consume them, that is why a good diet must be sustainable, as well as healthy and safe. Our future depends on what we do today.
As highlighted by both the World Health Organization, WHO, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, “food production represents the use of 48% of the earth’s resources and 70% of the % of water resources worldwide ”, affecting the environment.
Therefore, it is urgent to bet on a sustainable diet, which produces a low impact on the natural environment. It is about adopting a varied, healthy and accessible diet, based on agriculture, livestock and fishing that guarantee and promote healthy ecosystems. The objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, take care of natural resources and preserve biodiversity.
Also, sustainable diets involve the economic and socio-cultural sphere, since they must be economically fair and affordable, and be culturally acceptable.
The need for citizens to act in the care of the environment is increasing, and in this sense, The European Commission has developed the strategy “From farm to table” within the European Green Deal program to reach 2050 being the first climate neutral continent. Here it raises sustainable and inclusive growth that boosts the economy, improves people’s health and quality of life, and takes care of nature without leaving anyone behind.
As consumers there are many actions that we can join, such as choosing fresh, local and seasonal products or reducing waste, to benefit local economies and reduce CO emissions.2.
What sustainable options can you find at El Corte Inglés?
Fresh product: Always as a first option you will have available products from the country such as sea bream, sea bass or corvinas from Murcia and the Valencian Community. Nationally farmed fish from the Mediterranean and others that also come from sustainable reserves only. Imported, you will find only products that are not found in Spain, such as salmon or other tropical pieces.
Local product: The commercial model of the El Corte Inglés group is based on working with local producers, suppliers and fish markets. Thanks to this vocation you can find such special meats as Galician Beef, Euskolabel beef, Asturian Beef, Avila Beef, Aragon Beef, Extremadura Lamb, Sierra de Guadarrama Beef, all of them with the Protected Geographical Indication seal. And other prestigious specialties such as Carne de La Finca, Angus by Miguel Vergara, and Wagyu from Santa Rosalía, of national production.
Seasonal product: Greengrocers are surely the section with the longest temporary periods. In order to always have the best products, especially citrus and stone fruits, the expert buyers of El Corte Inglés play with the concept of “against season”, and always offer you oranges, for example. However, this no longer happens with other products such as potatoes, because you can already find these tubers of national production all year round!
Pieces such as Skrei cod or blue fish also have seasonality, depending on their reproduction cycles. And in the Almadraba bluefin tuna season, you can get to know the ronqueo and choose the pieces that you like the most. You dare?
Food waste reduction: Thanks to the action plan designed by the group based on preventing, redistributing and raising awareness, it has improved the internal purchasing and supply processes and adapts its orders based on the demand of customers like you. It also develops donation actions and when donation is not possible, it gives a second life to discarded products, for example to generate biofuels. But the most important thing is the design of awareness actions to avoid food waste.
How to recognize sustainable food?
For some time now, there have been a series of seals and certificates that help us consumers to quickly identify those sustainable products that we can find in the greengrocers, fishmongers and butchers of the El Corte Inglés group centers.
You can choose local and national products with Denomination of Origin or Protected Geographical Indication and buy Rincón de Soto pears, asparagus from Navarra or bananas from the Canary Islands, find fresh fish from the fish markets of Galicia, Asturias, Catalonia, Valencian Community and Andalusia, or enjoy select meats thanks to the collaboration of the group with very local farms and some of them with very small productions, which suppose a great support for the survival of breeds such as the Sayaguesa de Zamora cattle, previously doomed to disappearance.
Stamps to look for
During 2020, El Corte Inglés has worked to expand the assortment of sustainable products with more than 4,000 products with Denomination of Origin or Protected Geographical Indication, and 3,800 articles of ecological origin available in the 21 spaces of La Biosfera.
Buy sustainable fishing with the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) seal that measures the impact of each fishery on wild fish populations and their ecosystems, also available in canned tuna and anchovies or frozen, and the ASC for sustainable aquaculture (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) that guarantees a responsible aquaculture process.
El Corte Inglés also belongs to the framework agreement with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that supports the implementation of sustainability projects that favor biodiversity in the seas and in other productive sectors, as well as Malta’s marine conservation commitments that favor expanding supply to reduce pressure on the most demanded species.
Buy animal welfare products like the poultry, beef and pork Spanish white coat that has the ‘Certified Welfare Commitment’ seal promoted by the Interprofessional del Porcino de Capa Blanca (Interporc). This certificate endorses the standards in health, biosecurity, animal handling and traceability in all links of the value chain.
Choose other certificates such as the Fairtrade (Fair Trade) seal that certifies the rigorous Fair Trade Standards, Rainforest Alliance, which seeks to protect both nature and improve the lives of farmers and foresters and the Sustainable Dairy Product (PLS) seal that ensures quality and origin of dairy products, as well as economically sustainable marketing in the Spanish dairy sector.
Are you signing up for sustainable shopping with El Corte Inglés?
Here are eight tips to fill your shopping cart while respecting the environment and taking care of your health.
Check your fridge and pantry. What do you really need?
Plan your menus before you go shopping. You will save money and avoid throwing food away.
Do you already have the shopping list? Make one to avoid buying more food than you can consume.
Buy fresh seasonal products and prioritize local ones. You will help reduce CO emissions2 and they are durable.
Bring your own reusable bag. And if you left it at home, ask for one made of bioplastic that you can use as an organic garbage container, or one made of paper with a forest certificate.
Do not buy hungry. Remember that sometimes we “buy with our eyes”.
Take advantage of the offers, but with a head. Think about whether and when you are going to use the product, taking into account the expiration date.
Bet on bio / eco products or with sustainability certifications. They are respectful with the environment and the surroundings.