Businesses cut waste in supply chain by 70,000 tonnes

18 May 2012

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17 May 2012 | Kamalpreet Badasha

Companies have avoided creating 70,000 tonnes of waste in the supply chain through collaboration.

Initiatives developed through the Efficient Consumer Response forum, facilitated by analysts IGD, which involves 34 companies including Sainsbury's, Nestlé UK, Kraft Foods and Warburtons, have led to the reduction in waste.

The reduction was achieved through measures such as removing excess packaging in the supply chain, improving the use of weather data in order forecasting, introducing collaborative planning and replenishment, and the redistribution of unsold product for human consumption via clearing houses and charities.

“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,” said Gavin Chappell, supply chain director at Asda.

Marks & Spencer and its sandwich supplier Uniq (now part of the Greencore Group) analysed its supply chain and cut waste by 129 tonnes in 2010. The two worked together using collaborative forecasting to improve the handling of poorly performing lines.

Kraft Foods minimised waste by measuring stock levels. A regular report detailed the volumes at risk, the number of weeks remaining before the guarantee and shelf-life of products helping to review actions to prevent waste sent to landfill. Products nearing the end of their shelf life are then used in promotional activity, clearance and charitable donations.

Co-operative Food sells ‘naked’ cucumbers saving an estimated eight tonnes of plastic every year. Cucumbers had previously been sold in individual plastic sleeves but now are delivered to stores in cardboard boxes with recyclable long-life ‘smart’ lining.

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive at IGD said in a statement: “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.”

The companies involved have a target to cut waste by 75,000 tonnes by the end of 2012.

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