How will Race to the Top work?

The aim is to track the social, environmental and ethical performance of UK supermarkets, and catalyse change within the UK agri-food sector and beyond. An alliance of farming, conservation, labour, animal welfare and sustainable development organisations has developed several indicators of supermarket performance. These will provide comparative data to track progress towards fairer and greener food over the next five years.

By identifying and promoting best practice by supermarkets, the project will point to key issues for public policy, consumers, investors, retailers and campaigners. It will also provide objective data and analysis. An advisory group of independent experts provides advice and quality control.

There are seven groups of indicators:

Race to the Top will benchmark the major supermarkets annually using these indicators, and publish the results, along with case studies of best practice by supermarkets and their suppliers.

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The project will use the following methods:

  1. Benchmarking
    • Defining key social, environmental and ethical issues on which supermarket companies can act;
    • Through dialogue, developing a framework of representative indicators that measure each company’s policies and performance on these issues;
    • Collecting data from each company and from other sources in relation to these indicators; and
    • Scoring and publishing the results on an annual basis, showing each company’s performance and progress over time.
  2. Good practice case studies
    • Publication of case studies of good practice by supermarkets on the issues covered by the project.
  3. Ongoing dialogue
    • Ongoing dialogue between supermarket companies, civil society organizations and government bodies, to explore contentious issues, to refine the benchmarking process and to find ways of overcoming barriers to improved company performance.


The key principles of the project are:


These principles are implemented by strong project governance procedures involving:

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