An increasing number of leading businesses have partaken in green initiatives, aimed at making their supply chains more efficient in order to reduce waste. Boots and Tesco, for example, have committed to reducing food and drink waste by signing up for the third phase of the Courtauld Commitment.
This voluntary agreement is focussed on improving resource efficiency and mitigating the environmental impact of the grocery sector. The initial phases of the project prevented 2.3m tonnes of waste (with a total waste value of £3.5bn) being added to British landfills.
Innovation in Waste Management
Many large retailers are committed to achieving sustainability and focus on a number of green policies. These include reducing and preventing waste, using lower levels of packaging, revamping products, reducing energy use, fewer distribution trips, reducing product miles by sourcing items locally and employing renewable energy sources.
In this context, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose no longer send any waste to landfills. All waste is either recycled or processed by anaerobic digestion to generate renewable energy. Waitrose donates all surplus food that is fit for consumption to charities.
In addition to the environmental benefits associated with green supply chains, companies have also been able to achieve significant savings. A more sustainable approach enhances productivity through greater resource efficiency, creates more resilient supply chains and provides organisations with a competitive advantage.
Changing Consumer Values
Although the above all represent great initiatives, businesses are still only scratching the service of eco-friendly enhancements and benefits. Fully sustainable supply chains will only become a reality when companies look beyond pure sales and customer service.
As consumers become more and more aware of environmental issues, the onus will be on companies to entice them with their green credentials. Research has already demonstrated that eco-friendly companies are more likely to retain and attract customers.