Speaking at the Reuters IMPACT event in London, Murphy highlighted the transformational role green innovation can plan in helping to cut costs and carbon, protect food security and stimulate green growth.
However, investment in the UK was well below the Organisation or Economic Co-operation and Development average (2020 main science and technology indicators) and that Government and industry must work together to enable and unlock large-scale innovation.
Low-carbon fertiliser trial
His comments come as Tesco announced it will expand its trial of low-carbon, mostly domestically produced fertilisers through a tenfold increase in the number of hectares being cultivated by low-carbon alternatives – from 1,300 hectares to 13,000 hectares next year.
Of the eight low-carbon fertilisers trailed, six were manufactured in the UK from material including food waste, chicken litter, fire extinguisher waste and algae. About 70,000 tonnes of produce such as lettuces, carrots and potatoes were grown during the trial.
As well as its main vegetable suppliers, Tesco also plans to roll out the initiative to more of its Sustainable Farming Groups, many of whom manage pasture and forage-based systems for rearing livestock. The retailer has also committed to sharing its findings so other businesses can also learn and benefit.
Ken Murphy said: “As we work to protect customers and suppliers from rising costs today, we must also do all we can to safeguard the shopping basket from shocks tomorrow.
‘Resilient, sustainable and productive food system’
“That means building a more resilient, sustainable and productive food system. One that guarantees customers a long-term supply of quality, affordable food as well as improving the economy and world they live in.”
Murphy pointed to innovations such as low-carbon fertiliser as a part of the solution, with early results showing they have huge potential to cut greenhouse gas emissions, enhance soil health and water quality, and provide greater cost certainty for farmers – all while creating industry in thew UK.
“But to realise the full benefits, we need to see action beyond our supply chain, too,” he continued. “We’ll only get there through cross-industry and cross-party collaboration. We all need to drive towards the same goal, and be better at sharing learnings and resources on the way.
“The food industry is willing to invest, but needs more stability and confidence when it comes to future policy. That is why it’s critical that all parties, regardless of political creed, stand by their Net Zero commitments and timelines.”