Asda and Co-op team up to share supply chain data

Competing retailers Asda and the Co-op have taken collaborative action to drive supply chain efficiencies by aligning the environmental data they request from mutual suppliers.

The retailers are working with digital platform 2degrees to jointly collect data on waste, water and energy. It is hoped the move will enable suppliers to save time and money on reporting metrics and instead focus on the delivery of quality products.

Commenting on the announcement, the Co-op food sustainability manager Sarah Wakefield said: “The Co-op is committed to a better way of doing business and we believe that collaborating on data collections means our suppliers can focus on what matters most – making great quality products with the lowest environmental impact possible.

“We are also heavily focused on building long-term relationships with our suppliers and this forms part of a better and more collaborative way of us working together.”  

Driving efficiencies

Asda is already exploring ways to drive supply chain efficiencies; earlier this year, the supermarket giant launched an app that delivers an online platform for suppliers to exchange surplus food to help eliminate food waste in the supply chain.

Meanwhile, Asda’s Sustain & Save Exchange (SSE) programme provides suppliers with access to information and connects them to other businesses, allowing organisations to share best practice to increase resource efficiency. 

Last year, the retailer extended the forum to all of its food and drink suppliers, a move it hopes will make collective savings and investments of £50m across supply chains by 2020. Already more than £143m of savings and investments have been made in collaborative resource efficiency projects since SSE’s launch in 2012.

Asda’s sustainability manager Laura Babbs commented on the “fantastic results” achieved by working with 2degrees on the SSE platform.

“Allowing our suppliers to remove duplicated effort has engaged our supply chain giving them the opportunity to drive efficiencies,” Babbs said.

“We have worked with 2degrees and the supplier advisory board to make the request as simple as possible for suppliers. We appreciate that smaller businesses may not have the resources, so providing this reporting function and enabling them to share data will save them time and put their efforts into other critical areas.” 

Princes Ltd, a key supplier to both Asda and Co-op, has called on other retailers to follow suit and help their supply chain save time, money and resources.

“It’s great that two retailers like Co-op and Asda have embraced this approach,” Princes Ltd’s corporate relations director David McDiarmid said.

“With all our manufacturing locations sharing their data between these customers we have cut down duplicated effort, saving time and making the entire process a lot more efficient. I hope other retailers will see the benefits of such a collaborative approach and consider it for their suppliers environmental reporting.”

George Ogleby

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie