Sainsbury’s suggests shared value needs to be ‘science-led’

Creating shared value (CSV) relies heavily on not just knowledge sharing, but applying the right science and technology to make it happen, a Sainsbury's board director has asserted.

CSV, a business concept which interlinks a company’s competitiveness with the health of the communities around it, is a core philosophy that the retailer has adopted as part of its 20×20 sustainability plan. It effectively underpins some of the plan’s targeted objectives around sustainable sourcing and supply chain transparency.

Sainsbury’s group commercial director Mike Coupe was reflecting on a stakeholder event held towards the end of last year, whereby supply chain partners came together to help inform the next steps of the company’s 20×20 strategy.

Part of this included ‘breakout sessions’ to discuss CSV, one of which centred around sourcing with integrity which Coupe chaired.

Writing in his blog for Sainsbury’s, Coupe reflected:”There was plenty to talk about, as you might expect as this integral value directly stems across seven of the stretching targets – spanning from our commitment to double our sales of British food, to fish being independently certified sustainable – all by 2020.”

Coupe said that he firmly believed the 20×20 targets would only be met by working together with the relevant stakeholders to unlock and create new value opportunities across the supply chain.

“I don’t think it’s in our interest to simply get on stage and reel off our achievements, it’s a discussion,” he noted.

“Our job as a retailer is to work with all parts of our supply chain to create sustainable models that allows us to manage the so called ‘triple bottom line’.

“Therefore we need to work with our farming communities to identify sources of value and work out through a combination of knowledge sharing, and the application of science and technology how to do it.”

Coupe referred to a new sustainability standard and scorecard that Sainsbury’s would be developing to help it source key raw materials sustainably and share such knowledge across different industries.

He said this would be instrumental in tackling the issue of “value leakage” – where knowledge is lost due to disconnects along the supply chain.

“What commonalities are there for a pig farmer and an apple grower?” Coupe questioned. “As a starting point – business planning, it’s something they all have to do, but often struggle to share experiences.”

Maxine Perella

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