Better understanding of consumption to help target eco strategies

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Greenhouse gas

Looking at the whole supply chain could improve environmental and financial returns
Looking at the whole supply chain could improve environmental and financial returns
Nestlé and UK supermarkets Sainsbury’s and the Cooperative Group have entered into a pilot project to improve the environmental performance of some of their products, say the project’s organisers at the Product Sustainability Forum (PSF).

Based on research published by WRAP on behalf of the PSF​, the programme is intended to target companies’ environmental efforts toward those that have the biggest impacts – both environmentally and from a business perspective.

“The main objective of this important research has been to establish which grocery products are likely to contribute the most to environment impacts associated with UK household consumption,”​ said CEO of WRAP and chair of the Product Sustainability Forum Dr Liz Goodwin.

“By gaining a better understanding of the products that matter in the context of UK consumption, we can help businesses to prioritise their efforts to improve the environmental performance of their products in areas that will generate the biggest economic and environmental savings.”

In particular, the research looked at greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and water, energy and resource use for grocery products throughout their life cycles, and claims to be the most comprehensive study of its kind, based on more than 150 studies and information from industry.

Within the pilot project, Nestlé will look at resource efficiency measures across its potato, milk and chocolate supply chains, the Cooperative will respectively look at waste prevention and Sainsbury’s will focus on meat, fish, poultry and produce.

The PSF expects that findings from these companies will be used to form the basis of other companies’ strategies for tackling their environmental impacts. For example, Nestlé’s work with its principal UK milk supplier First Milk could help pioneer new working methods in the dairy industry, the PSF said.

Goodwin added: “This integrated approach enables companies to consider the biggest environmental and cost saving opportunities.

“By highlighting opportunities for improvement the PSF is enabling whole supply chains to come together and tackle the hotspots that have been identified.

“The PSF approach is to focus on solutions, and these pilots are the start of that process. By bringing all of the key players into the forum and sharing information they can collectively deliver more sustainable products whilst also identifying what will work best for their own sector or business.”

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