Government-led taskforce of business leaders to bolster supply chain sustainability

The members of the 17-strong taskforce were unveiled on Thursday (18 July)

Called the Global Resource Initiative (GRI) taskforce, the coalition is being jointly convened by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Department for International Development (DfiD) and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

It consists of 17 leaders from the private sector, public sector and NGOs, with companies represented including Tesco, McDonald’s, Legal & General and Cargill and participating NGOs including WWF and Forest Coalition.

The UK’s new Green Finance Institute is also represented, through its chief executive Rhian-Mari Thomas, with another member being Marks & Spencer’s former director of sustainable business Mike Barry.

Following a series of summits, the taskforce is due to produce a report outlining the steps which British businesses of all sizes and sectors should take to minimise their environmental footprints in international supply chains towards the end of next year. This document will place a specific focus on deforestation, carbon emissions, water consumption and soil degradation in supply chains for beef, palm oil and soy.

According to Environment Minister Therese Coffey, the report will play a key part in empowering businesses to play their part in helping the UK to meet its 2050 net-zero target and its 25-Year Environment Plan commitments.

The taskforce is being chaired by Barclays chairman Sir Ian Cheshire, who said that it “presents an opportunity to transform our approach to sustainable land use and to shape the direction of travel for the UK while creating a model for change that will inspire other countries”.

Earth Overshoot Day webinar 

The GRI taskforce’s launch is timely, falling just ten days before Earth Overshoot Day 2019 (29 July) – the day that humanity uses up all of the planet’s natural resources for the year.

To mark the occasion, edie is hosting an hour-long interactive webinar featuring insight from representatives of Tesco, AB Sugar, Global Footprint Initiative and sponsor Centrica Business Solutions. The session will explore what, exactly, the counter-narrative to over-consumption is – and how businesses can co-create this vision. 


Sarah George

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