Asda reveals impact of climate change on supply chain

Climate change is having a direct impact on 95% of fresh produce stocked in Asda stores, with food sourcing, processing and transportation all facing an growing threat from environmental issues.

The Climate Adaptation Framework study, developed with PwC, maps out the risks that climate change poses across Asda’s entire trading operations and looks at potential obstacles that lie ahead. (Scroll down for full report).

“The role of responsible business is to adapt to change, help others to do so, and work with suppliers and customers to make sure we cut carbon emissions and deliver a more stable climate future for our children,” said Asda’s vice president for corporate affairs Paul Kelly.

“Asda is proud to take a lead… “Our programme aims to bolster Asda’s resilience to the risks of climate change. We’ve carried out what we believe is a wide ranging analysis of long term climate trends and the implications for our supply chains and business operations.

“Now we’re going to implement a framework to adapt to these.”

The PwC study looked at a sample of Asda’s products, along with 23 stores and 19 distribution centres which were analysed for temperature, precipitation and flood risk.

Evaluating risk

It discovered the following risks to Asda’s operations: –

  • Sourcing: £101.9m value at risk 
  • Processing: £163.9 value at risk 
  • Logistics: £103.8 value at risk 

With a number of supermarkets battered by heavy rain and gale-force winds in the recent UK floods, Asda identified the stores that were most ‘at risk’ and the firm is now looking further into individual situations as well as liaising with the Environment Agency to conduct full flood-risk impacts for all stores and distribution centres. 

The company is also set to repeat the study for its general merchandise and home shopping arms; to build up a more complete picture of the threat climate change poses to its wider operations.

Commenting on the study, Friends of the Earth’s senior food campaigner Vicki Hird said major retailers ‘must wake up to the enormous climate change threat to food supplies’

“Asda must now put the problem at the core of its business,” said Hird. “If they really want to be a greener grocer they must take steps in its marketing strategy, reviewing products which use too much water and steering customers off meat, and in its supply chain, paying producers to cover the cost of sustainable production.”

View Asda’s full Climate Adaption Framework study below.

Luke Nicholls

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