CASE STUDY JOHN LEWIS PARTNERSHIP
Delivering guidance to decarbonise agriculture with the John Lewis Partnership
3Keel worked with the John Lewis Partnership, the UK’s largest employee-owned business and parent company of John Lewis and Waitrose, to support the implementation of Waitrose’s Net Zero Farms target.
In 2022, John Lewis Partnership (JLP) took a leadership position within the retail sector by committing to transitioning its UK agricultural supply chain to Net Zero by 2035, a commitment which covers all own brand products sourced from a UK farm. This is five years in advance of the NFU’s target of Net Zero by 2040.
Achieving this goal will involve charting new territory – specifically when it comes to monitoring their supply chain’s progress against the target. The standards and conventions for measuring and monitoring emissions of greenhouse gases from land management are rapidly evolving, especially as a result of recent publications by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), including the SBTi’s new guidance for Forest, Land and Agriculture (FLAG). This guidance is complex, and has clarified some pressing questions but opened many others.
3Keel worked with JLP to develop the detail behind the Net Zero Farms target. This detail was formalised through the development of an internal guidance document, which will serve as a guide for the people in JLP who are responsible for delivering on this goal.
We began the project by reviewing all existing guidance and key carbon accounting principles that would impact the target that JLP had set. The next step was to understand the implications of taking a whole farm approach to Net Zero versus a product-only approach. For JLP’s own Scope 3 accounting, ultimately the product-only approach would be adopted, but in terms of shaping guidance to support farmers in transitioning to a Net Zero future, the JLP team decided to take a whole farm approach, as this was more consistent with the holistic view of agricultural emissions reductions that JLP are looking to encourage when they set the UK farms Net Zero target.
We began work on the internal technical guidance document for greenhouse gas accounting and mitigation on JLP’s farms. In this guidance, we collated and synthesized information about best practice when it comes to GHG accounting, the latest information on setting and reporting against FLAG targets, guidance on on-farm measurement and the use of carbon calculator tools, as well as reporting on GHG emissions.
Once we had developed an initial draft of the guidance, we reviewed the footprint of JLP’s own farm, Leckford, against the guidance to understand how well the farm’s current reporting aligned with best practice.
In undertaking our analysis, we also found that the agricultural industry was not well prepared for the arrival of the new GHG Protocol Land Sector and Removals Guidance (LSRG), or the SBTi FLAG guidance. While companies along food supply chains are taking action on carbon, understanding how to capture data at farm-level and translate it into monitoring and reporting at the retail level is posing a significant challenge to the industry’s net zero aims. Currently, the most commonly used farm carbon calculator tools are not well aligned with the reporting required for compliance with the GHG Protocol LSRG. As part of the project, we benchmarked the performance of different calculator tools and identified where compliance gaps exist, and made recommendations for how those gaps should be treated until alignment is improved.
The result of the project was comprehensive guidance, clearly articulating the information and action that JLP will need as it works towards its 2035 target. The final goal of the project is to develop an external technical guidance document, which will help suppliers and farmers supplying into JLP understand the steps they will need to take to help JLP reach their target, in line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the SBTi’s FLAG target guidance.
“We really enjoyed working with the 3Keel team, who provided us with the valuable guidance we need to navigate the ever-changing landscape of measuring and reporting on agricultural emissions,” said Sophie Oldfield, climate team, JLP. “This guidance has laid the foundation for our Net Zero Farms work.”
The 3Keel team are excited to see the guidance put into action as JLP works towards Net Zero.
“This guidance has laid the foundation for our Net Zero Farms work.”
Sophie Oldfield, climate team JLP