The partnership’s white paper, ‘Sustainable Manufacturing for the Future’, considers ways to improve manufacturing processes in the UK food and drink industry.

CCE GB group director of supply chain operations Steve Adams said “collaboration is key” when tackling the issues impacting sustainability in the manufacturing industry.

Adams said: “Today’s white paper marks the first step in unlocking the future of sustainable manufacturing, and we look forward to exploring the themes in even more depth to identify the most important ideas and innovations which will help to progress and improve our industry.”

Six themes

The drinks manufacturer’s research partnership with Cranfield University began with a roundtable event in March this year, attended by academics and industry experts.

Cranfield Univeristy professor of sustainable manufacturing Dr Peter Ball said: “The gathering of experts resulted in the identification of six themes – People, Big data, Technology, Collaboration, Value and Resilience that are now the subject of intensive research by Cranfield masters students.

“The focus will be on how we can achieve rapid and fundamental change, and will explore further working across boundaries not only in the food and drink manufacturing sector but across the entire manufacturing industry.”

The six initial themes from the research include:

  • People: Sustainable businesses must focus on having well-trained, engaged and skilled staff.
  • Big data: Data will play an ever more important role in business and society and output will need to be tailored using consumer data.
  • Technology: Advances in technology may not be the sole solution for sustainability. The increase in data and a shift away from globalisation could instead see radical new innovations.
  • Collaboration: Companies are likely to develop a more symbiotic relationship with its supply chain and will become more involved in local communities. Knowledge sharing and collaboration between competitors to reduce resource use will be vital.
  • Value: Resources used will have ever greater value placed on them by consumers, encompassing ethical concerns, traceability and environmental impact. Placing value on waste and developing circularity will become ever more prominent.
  • Resilience: The ability to adapt businesses will become ever more important as businesses seek to maintain a supply of ethically sourced materials while ensuring transparency.

Sustainability report

Along with the white paper came the launch of CCE’s GB corporate responsibility and sustainability report. The report stated in 2014 CCE had reduced its water used on 2007 levels by 16% as well as replenishing 286m litres of water through partnership with WWF-UK.

The company’s GB report comes after CCE’s tenth global corporate responsibility and sustainability report, released earlier this month. The report said the company aimed for a “more circular economy way of thinking” with a commitment to 40% recycled or renewable materials for its PET bottles.

Last week, CCE director of corporate responsibility and sustainability Joe Franses wrote for edie on how the bottling firm is planning to boost its green efforts over the next five years. 

Matt Field

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