Asda expands sustainability scheme after £13m savings

Asda is planning to expand its sustainability collaboration programme, Sustain & Save Exchange, for its suppliers, after the supermarket announced that it saved £13m through sustainability innovations over the past year.

The scheme, launched in early 2012, enables Asda and its suppliers to share knowledge and innovations in energy, waste and water efficiency through an online portal.

A sixth of Asda’s total supplier base, responsible for more than £3bn in products, are already represented on the Exchange, which will now be rolled out across the retailer’s entire fresh, frozen and chilled supply chains. This will make it the biggest programme for supplier collaboration on resource efficiency and sustainability in the UK.

Head of Corporate Sustainability at Asda, Julian Walker-Palin, said: “Since 2005, our work to minimise the environmental impact of our operations has delivered over £80m in savings. Now, through our exchange programme, we can go even further, helping over 300 suppliers find efficiencies in energy, waste and water that can also help keep prices down”.

Through the scheme, over 300 suppliers including Youngs Seafood, Warburtons and Cranswick will all be able to share best practice across a range of sustainability issues, including closed-loop crop feeding, solar power and waste segregation, all with the aim of improving the environmental impact of Asda’s entire supply chain.

Sustainability measures have helped the supermarket chain cut absolute carbon emissions by more than 4% over the last 12 months, taking the total reduction to an industry-leading 17.7% since 2007 and exceeding its original 10% target for 2015.

It also reduced waste to landfill last year with 93% of the remaining waste, including all unsold food, now recycled through various projects, including energy conversion programmes.

According to Asda, the introduction of 130 new double decker trailers, depot store re-alignment and fleet reductions have helped eliminate over 18m miles from the supply chain since 2005, which is the same as going to the moon and back 75 times.

The savings, which represent a £7m increase on last year, means that the retailer remains on course to deliver efficiencies of up to £800m by 2020.

Asda’s Food Trading Director, Barry Williams, said: “We want to work together with our supplier partners so we can learn from each other to increase our efficiencies and resilience to the growing challenges of resource scarcity.

External Affairs Director of Warburtons, Sarah Miskell, said: “The Exchange is really good for sharing best practice; it’s a good networking opportunity. We talk about our learning’s in sustainability – we’re all learning and we don’t necessarily know all the answers, so it’s good to hear from other people in the group.”

Leigh Stringer

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