By Marcus Leach

Sainsbury's has unveiled a new £1 billion plan, which will ensure the company remains at the forefront of sustainability between now and 2020.

The Sainsbury's 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan, which was launched on Wednesday, sets out 20 sustainability targets to be achieved by 2020.

The commitments address four key areas of focus:

- Sustainable and Healthy Products - including Best for British: By 2020, we'll double the amount of British food we sell.

- Operational Excellence - including Operational carbon emission reduction: By 2020, we'll have reduced our operational carbon emissions by 30 per cent absolute and 65 per cent relative, compared with 2005.

- Colleagues - including 20 years service: By 2020, 20,000 of our colleagues will have reached 20 years service at Sainsbury's.

- Communities - including New jobs and skills: By 2020, we'll create 50,000 new jobs in the UK.

Planned initiatives include carbon-saving technologies for new and existing stores that will drive down energy usage, thereby reducing energy costs. There will also be an increased focus on providing customers with more British food as the company seeks to double the amount it currently sells, as well as a target to increase sales of fairly traded products to £1 billion.

"I welcome the announcement from Sainsbury's. It is a great example of the principles of Every Business Commits - helping to create jobs and growth whilst also tackling our shared social and environmental challenges, investing in their workforce and in our communities, and building a bigger, stronger society," Rt Hon David Cameron MP, the Prime Minister, said.

The industry-leading targets are intended to help shift everyday behaviour in favour of sustainability, while still providing the value and quality that UK shoppers demand. It will also help shoppers make more nutritious, sustainable and ethical purchasing decisions.

"Given the scale of our business, we believe these 20 commitments represent the most ambitious sustainability targets in our industry," Sainsbury's chief executive, Justin King, said.

"If we are to meet the sustainability challenges that lie ahead, it is important that companies such as Sainsbury's invest in the future right now. We do not see this plan as a luxury, it is rather, an essential investment that will ensure we can continue to provide customers with quality food at fair prices, sustainably.

"This represents another step in helping our customers live well for less, following hot on the heels of our re-launch of by Sainsbury's and Brand Match. The 20 by 20 shows customers that they can indeed have greater quality at lower prices, without compromising on standards or their values."

One of the targets is a commitment to double sales of British food. Sainsbury's is already an industry leader in the sale of British produce, spending over £4 billion each year with its UK suppliers, and its pledge to double sales of British food will ensure it continues to be at the forefront of British sourcing.

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