Slash in supply chain waste thanks to supermarkets’ efforts

October 12, 2012

A recent report by The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) shows that some supermarket giants such as Asda and Marks & Spencer have maximized their efforts to cut waste in their supply chains in a bid to try and reduce waster by up to five per cent over three years. Last year’s figures showed that this target may not be achievable although the supermarkets’ new redoubled efforts to reduce waste may prove 2011’s figures wrong.

WRAP have also published an updated second phase of the Courtauld Commitment, which is a series of voluntary waste reduction pledges made my various companies within the retail industry. There have been 53 signatories, including Boots, Britvic and Coca-Cola, as well as Asda and M&S.

New figures exceed supply chain target

The pledge previously included a commitment to “reduce supply chain product and packaging waste by five percent between 2009 and 2012,” but figures from last year suggested that it the goal was unachievable.

However, recent figures now show that suppliers have slashed their product waste by 8.8 per cent (2009-2011), proving last year’s figures wrong and exceeding the tough target by a mile.

WRAP’s director of design and waste prevention, Dr Richard Swannell, said these results “reflected the efforts that signatories have put in to be more resource efficient.”

However, he then went on to say that further efforts were needed to ensure the retail industry reaches the goal for 2012 – that is, to cut all packing waste by 10 per cent between 2009 and 2012. He urged the industry to not become “too complacent” with the results, especially as even more effort is needed to reach the 2012 target.

He said: “The reduction in supply chain waste is particularly important given it’s a new area for Courtauld.”

“In this, its final year, we are continuing to work with the sector to help ensure the Courtauld Phase 2 targets are met in full,” Swannell added.

Voluntary work leading to increase in sustainability

Andew Kuyk, director of sustainability for the Food and Drink Federations (FDF) explains that these figures clearly indicate how voluntary commitments can contribute to the increase in sustainability.

He said: “It is an excellent example of the results that can be achieved through voluntary agreements, where government and industry work together to deliver a common set of aims.”

“FDF members have consistently championed WRAP’s work on preventing waste and were at the forefront of the programme of site reviews. We look forward to continuing to work closely with WRAP in the months ahead, both to complete delivery of the remaining Courtauld 2 targets and to help frame what happens when the current agreement expires at the end of this year,” he concluded.

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