IGD's Product and Packaging Waste workgroup, an ECR UK initiative, has avoided creating 70,000 tonnes of supply chain wastage and also beaten its supply chain waste diversion target.
The workgroup exists to help encourage businesses to eliminate waste by making better product and packaging design, range and forecasting decisions. It also aims to facilitate improved collaboration with colleagues and trading partners. The workgroup's 34 members are leading retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers or foodservice operators, including Asda, Booker, Brakes, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Heinz, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Sainsbury's and Unilever.
Waste prevention and diversion targets beaten early
The ECR UK Product and Packaging Waste workgroup, formed in 2010, gave an update on its progress at a breakout session at the 2012 ECR Europe conference held in Brussels last week.
The group is working towards two targets. The first is to prevent 75,000 tonnes of supply chain waste by the end of 2012. By the end of 2011 the group's participants had eliminated 70,000 tonnes between them. Believing prevention is the best outcome from both a commercial and environmental perspective, ECR UK has challenged the workgroup's membership to prevent and divert waste between the factory gate and the till.
The group has a second target, to divert 150,000 tonnes of supply chain waste from landfill by 2012. This objective has already been exceeded, with 195,000 tonnes having been diverted by the end of 2011. Although the main goal of the group is waste prevention, it is recognised this is not always possible and that instead companies should divert waste away from landfill or sewer and recover some of its value through anaerobic digestion or recycling, for example.
Gavin Chappell, supply director of Asda and co-chair of ECR UK, said: “Today's announcement represents another significant step forward in our drive to reduce waste in the UK supply chain. Co-chairing this ECR workgroup this year has reinforced the need for even more collaboration between retailers and manufacturers. We often see decisions and actions in one part of the supply chain create waste in another. Only by working together will we truly be able to reduce waste in the end to end supply chain.”
Wide range of initiatives
Through the workgroup, ECR UK has been able to facilitate a variety of activities to eliminate waste, such as reducing packaging, introducing collaborative processes, including waste in line profitability analysis when reviewing ranges and making best use of weather data in order forecasting and redistributing unsold products. To see a selection of case studies on reducing waste click here.
Simon Bailey, customer service director, Unilever UK and Ireland, one of the workgroup's co-chairs, said: “It’s good to see how much progress our industry has made on reducing waste to landfill, but now we must all focus on preventing waste arising in our supply chains in the first place."
“The ECR waste workgroup is aiming to make it easier for everybody within each of our organisations to understand how the choices they make in their roles could prevent waste in the supply chain. This is key to accelerating our progress.”
What happens next
ECR UK continues to support the participating companies and to encourage the consumer goods industry to work collaboratively to eliminate waste. To further build on the Product and Packaging Waste group's work, a new forum, WastePreventConnect, has been created to help bring UK trading partners together to help find waste solutions. To find out more about the forum and to complete a registration form, please click here.
Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD said: “The work of ECR UK members to date is very encouraging – they have exceeded one target by 30% and made good progress on the other. This demonstrates the industry’s strong commitment to removing supply chain waste.
“But the work doesn’t stop here. IGD and ECR UK are taking the lessons learned so far and helping to spread best practice to the wider industry. Waste elimination should remain front of mind across all business functions. There are still many opportunities and to achieve further progress, it is crucial to continue to work together, both internally and externally.”
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