Asda to roll out hub for collaboration on sustainability across supply chain

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Asda is expanding its Sustain & Save Exchange programme for suppliers, following the news that it has saved £13m through sustainability innovations over the past year.

The scheme, which launched in early 2012, enables Asda and its suppliers to share knowledge and innovations in energy, waste and water efficiency through a dedicated online portal, managed by the 2degrees network.

A sixth of Asda’s total supplier base – responsible for more than £3bn in products – are already represented on the Exchange. It will now be rolled out across the retailer’s entire fresh, frozen and chilled supply chains – making it the biggest programme for supplier collaboration on resource efficiency and sustainability in the UK, Asda said,

Through the scheme, over 300 suppliers including Youngs Seafood, Warburtons and Cranswick will all be able to share best practice across a range of sustainability issues, including closed-loop crop feeding, solar power and waste segregation; all with the aim of improving the environmental impact of Asda’s entire supply chain.

The retailer, which operates over 500 stores across the UK, has been working towards challenging sustainability targets since 2005 and launched the Exchange to build on its outstanding progress to date.

Despite the addition of 150 stores acquired from Netto, carbon emissions at Asda have fallen by over 4%  over the last 12 months, taking the total reduction to 17.7% since 2007 – significantly exceeding its original 10% target for 2015.

Waste to landfill was also reduced last year, with 93% of the remaining waste – including all unsold food – now recycled through various projects, including energy conversion programmes.

In addition, the introduction of 130 new double decker trailers, depot store re-alignment and fleet reductions have helped eliminate over 18m miles from the supply chain since 2005– the same as going to the moon and back 75 times.

The savings, which represent an £7m increase on last year, mean Asda remains on course to deliver efficiencies of up to £800m by 2020, it said.

Julian Walker-Palin, head of corporate sustainability at Asda, said: “At Asda, our approach to sustainability is based on the belief that protecting the environment and saving people money go hand in hand. After all, wasting resources means wasting money – and we hate waste of any kind.

“Since 2005, our work to minimise the environmental impact of our operations has delivered over £80m in savings – which we have invested in delivering lower prices for our customers. Now, through our exchange programme, we can go even further, helping over 300 suppliers find efficiencies in energy, waste and water that can also help keep prices down”.

Barry Williams, Asda’s food trading director, said: “The Sustain & Save Exchange is an important Asda programme. We want to work together with our supplier partners so we can learn from each other to increase our efficiencies and resilience to the growing challenges of resource scarcity.

“At Asda, we want to build a world class supply base for the future, so we’ll be working with the most proactive suppliers on this agenda to explore how we will continue to support each other for the future. For us, sustainability isn’t about reinventing the wheel – it’s just what we do. It’s also part of what Walmart – our global family – does. And when you are part of the biggest retailer in the world, you have an opportunity – and a responsibility – to make a difference.”

Sarah Miskell, external affairs director of Warburtons, said: “The Exchange is really good for sharing best practice; it’s a good networking opportunity. We talk about our learnings in sustainability – we’re all learning and we don’t necessarily know all the answers, so it’s good to hear from other people in the group.”