Food sector collaborates to refine product sustainability strategies
Major brands are joining forces to improve the environmental performance of selected product lines through better waste prevention and resource efficiency measures.
Nestle, Sainsbury's and the Co-operative Group are the first companies from the grocery and home improvement sectors to pilot pathfinder projects to identify and implement opportunities to prevent waste and improve wider resource efficiency such as energy and water consumption.
The move follows new research published today from the Product Sustainability Forum which brings together product lifecycle data from over 150 published studies and from forum members and industry, making it the most comprehensive study of its kind.
The research, carried out by WRAP on behalf of the forum, examined greenhouse gas emissions, product waste, and water, energy and resource use of traditional grocery products through their lifecycles.
Through that it identified priority products - for example potatoes and bread - which offer significant opportunities for improvements across the different types of environmental impact.
The Co-operative and Nestle will respectively look at waste prevention and resource efficiency measures across potato, milk and chocolate supply chains, while Sainsbury's is focussing on its meat, fish, and poultry products as well as produce.
The Co-operative Group is engaging internal stakeholders across its entire fresh potato value chain, from farm to fork, on the project and intends to replicate learnings from this exercise across other fresh produce in the future.
Meanwhile Nestle is working on a collaborative project with its principal milk supplier in the UK, First Milk. As well as taking an integrated approach to tackling resource efficiency, the team are working with a group of dairy producers to pioneer new working methods.
As more companies follow suit, these pathfinders will help improve the resilience of supply chains and manage potential business risk.
According to WRAP CEO Dr Liz Goodwin, who also chairs the forum, this integrated approach will enable companies to consider the biggest environmental and cost saving opportunities.
"By highlighting opportunities for improvement the forum is enabling whole supply chains to come together and tackle the hotspots that have been identified. The approach is to focus on solutions, and these pilots are the start of that process," she said.