Sainsbury’s has today (12 October) unveiled bold plans to double the amount of British food it sells by 2020.

The target is part of its ’20 by 20 Sustainability Plan’, which sets out 20 sustainability targets to be achieved over the next nine years. These include water stewardship, cutting relative carbon emissions by 65% compared with 2005 and increasing sales of fair trade products to £1bn.

It also wants all meat, poultry, eggs, game and dairy products to be sourced from suppliers who “adhere to independent higher welfare standards” and are “leaders in meeting or exceeding our social and environmental standards”.

Currently, the supermarket spends more than £4bn with UK suppliers and hopes the pledge to double sales will keep it at the forefront of British sourcing.

Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the plan, calling it a “great example” of the principles of the Every Business Commits initiative launched by the government last December to help create jobs and tackle social and environmental challenges.

NFU president Peter Kendall was also “delighted” to see the commitment to British sourcing and said it recognised the high quality and standards British farmers met and consumers expected.

“This additional demand will send a really positive signal to the industry at a time when farmers are facing massive investment pressures,” he said.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King said the ambitious targets were intended to show that customers could have “greater quality at lower prices, without compromising on standards or their values”.