UK food companies on track to achieve supply chain waste targets by December

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IGD and ECR UK: spreading best practice

IGD and ECR UK: spreading best practice

Leading UK food and consumer goods companies have avoided creating 70,000 tonnes of supply chain waste and are on their way to hitting the target for a reduction of 75,000 tonnes by December 2012, according to figures released by the IGD.

Through ECR (Efficient Consumer Response) UK’s initiatives, businesses are being encouraged to eliminate waste by making better product and packaging design, range and forecasting decisions, with colleagues and trading partners, said the IGD.

Prevention is the best outcome from both a commercial and environmental perspective. Where that is not possible, companies should divert waste away from landfill or sewer and recover some of its value through anaerobic digestion or recycling, for example.

Two targets, set by ECR UK in 2010, challenged 34 UK companies to prevent and divert waste between the factory in-gate and till. This table shows the progress achieved so far:

Targets set by ECR UK Targetby December 2012 (tonnes) Progressby December 2011 (tonnes)
Prevention of supply chain waste 75,000 70,000
Diversion of supply chain waste 150,000 195,00

Examples of activities to eliminate waste already facilitated by ECR UK include:

  • Improved use of weather data in order forecasting
  • Removal of excess supply chain packaging
  • Introducing collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment
  • Including waste in line profitability analysis when reviewing range
  • Redistributing unsold products for human consumption via clearing houses and charities

ECR UK continues to support the participating companies and to encourage the consumer goods industry to work collaboratively to eliminate waste.

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.”

Gavin Chappell, supply director, Asda, 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.”

Simon Bailey, customer service director, Unilever UK and Ireland, 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.”