Tesco signs 1,500th supplier to Knowledge Hub to collaborate on sustainability

2degrees: managing Tesco producer groups

2degrees: managing Tesco producer groups

Tesco has signed up the 1,500th member to its Knowledge Hub, its initiative to promote supplier collaboration on reducing carbon emissions.

At the same time Tesco’s Producer Network, a similar initiative for agricultural producers and suppliers, has expanded to 828 members and is now open to all 700 Tesco dairy farmers, and will be extended to other farming sectors over the summer.

Launched in 2010, the Tesco Knowledge Hub and the Tesco Producer Network are dedicated to forging closer relationships between the retailer and its international producers, farmers, growers and suppliers.

The 1,500th member to join the Tesco Knowledge Hub comes from dairy firm Müller Wiseman Dairies, Britain’s biggest fresh milk firm and one of the Hub’s original company members.

By joining the Tesco initiatives, which are developed and managed by 2degrees for the retailer, the companies are able to benefit from sharing knowledge, best practice and the ability to access ready advice.

Talitha Cherry from Tru-Cape, a South African-based supplier of soft fruit, said: “The Tesco Producer Network is very effective, I use it regularly. The main benefit is that the information you need is immediately available and it’s very practical. You can ask questions and get the right answer straight away.”

APS Salads, a Cheshire-based Tesco supplier for more than two decades, found the Tesco Knowledge Hub acted as a positive driver for change, strengthening its relationship with Tesco.

“No one has all the right answers,” said Philip Pearson of APS Salads. “To develop we must collaborate and the Knowledge Hub provides the platform to work together to foster partnership and growth.” As a result, APS Salads has accessed insight and support via the Hub which has resulted in the implementation of thermal screens, water cooled refrigeration and a Bio Refinery, which produces bio-methane that can be used to power an on-site Combined Heat and Power (CHP) with CO2 extraction.

Kevin Grace, Tesco’s group commercial & supply chain director, said: “In February we set out commitments to have better, more constructive relationships with our suppliers and to create more transparency in our supply chain for customers. The work we were already doing on the Knowledge Hub and the Producer Network is great example of how we can support our suppliers, and how they can support each other through sharing information and expertise on matters of efficiency and sustainability.

“Building on their success, we want to help these networks manage costs and risks by offering support on logistics, packaging, finance, commodities and other areas, so we are recruiting a dedicated agriculture team with expertise in each farming sector and led by a new Agriculture Director.” 

The Tesco Knowledge Hub helps to reduce the energy costs, waste and environmental impacts of the products Tesco buys, and aims to cut 30% of the carbon emissions from their supply chain by 2020. It is a private online community that links Tesco suppliers together, to share sustainable business best practices, to exchange experiences, solve practical problems and make informed decisions. The Hub now includes supplier members from over 630 companies, plus independent experts, Tesco representatives and partners including WRAP, IGD and the Carbon Trust.

The Tesco Producer Network is an online forum for agricultural producers and suppliers to Tesco. The Network is an opportunity for them to discuss efficiency and sustainability of food supply with other producers around the world and with Tesco teams.