Asda extends online best practice forum to save £50m across supply chains

Major retailer Asda will extend its online forum Sustain & Save Exchange to all of its food and drink suppliers with the aim of helping them reduce their environmental impact and make collective savings and investments of £50m across their supply chains by 2020.

The Sustain & Save Exchange programme provides suppliers with access to information and connects them to other businesses, allowing organisations to share best practice to increase resource efficiency. Suppliers also have the opportunity to join a range of workshops and site visits to evaluate technologies and approaches used in all types of food operations.

Asda sustainable business senior director Chris Brown said: “The aim of the Asda Sustain & Save Exchange programme is all about collaboration with our suppliers to create a world class supply base – learning from each other to increase efficiencies and building resilience to the growing challenges of resource scarcity. What is most important to us is ensuring that our suppliers benefit from the savings so they can continue along the journey.”

‘Continual process’

Since its launch in 2012, the Sustain & Save Exchange has seen businesses across the UK share experiences and information, demonstrating more than £143m of savings and investments in collaborative resource efficiency projects as a result.

To date, more than 1,200 members from 350 of Asda’s fresh, chilled and frozen suppliers have collectively saved and invested more than £21m through the programme, which has removed more than 35,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions from the supply chain and ploughed £9.6m back into the companies.

Stateside Food chief engineer and Sustain & Save Exchange member Rick Lloyd said: “Sustainability is a continual process that needs to be kept visible at the forefront of any business so it’s essential that we’re up to date with the latest technology and keeping our projects moving forward. Even the simplest changes can make the biggest difference.

“Keeping in touch with like-minded people is also key – it’s great to know that I can contact my opposite in bigger companies to ask a question and they’ll answer it, and vice versa. The inter-company siloing is gone and this alone has made the SSE an invaluable tool for us.”

Wonky vegetables

Asda’s recent focus on sustainability has seen the supermarket reduce its environmental impact and save money for its own business, suppliers and customers.

In February, Asda became the UK’s first supermarket to sell a ‘wonky vegetable’ box, which contained enough ugly potatoes and knobbly carrots to feed a family of four for an entire week for just £3.50.

Just a few days earlier, the retailer announced it had used the money generated from the carrier bag charge to fund a ground-breaking new scheme in Scotland which aims to increase the availability of supermarket products that have a positive social or environmental impact.

George Ogleby

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