Special Edition: Sustainable Supply Chain

Asda exceed sustainability targets through supply chain reduction

By Mark Astley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Carbon dioxide Asda

Asda exceed sustainability targets through supply chain reduction
Asda has exceeded a 10% carbon emission reduction target for 2015 through the elimination of 17 million miles from its supply chain to date, according to figures released by the UK retailer.

According to Asda, it does more than any other UK retailer in its efforts to improve sustainability, reduce packaging and educate consumers - a claim it has reiterated today following the release of sustainability figures.

Wal-Mart-owned Asda, which operates over 500 stores in the UK, revealed a decrease in its overall operational emissions of 11.9% - surpassing the company’s 10% target, four years ahead of schedule.

It’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions for it overall operations has been met through the elimination of 149,000 tonnes of carbon from its operations since 2007.

The company’s Sustainability 2.0 strategy, Environmental Sustainability Targets 2010-2015: Our Public Commitments​, included the introduction of the Sustainable Product Index.

The Index, a three step process for evaluating the sustainability of suppliers, has been used by Asda since 2010, and Wal-Mart since 2009.

Sustainable Product Index

Asda provide suppliers with a survey of fifteen questions, in order to evaluate their own company’s sustainability.

This information is then used to form a global database, which in turn provides customers with product information – allowing them to make choices and consume products in a more sustainable way.

In a written report submitted to the UK parliament earlier this year, Asda spoke of its commitment to the development of the Sustainable Product Index and the need for a database on a “global rather than a local scale.”

“In order to reduce the environmental and climate change impacts of the food we eat, retailers can work with the suppliers in two main areas – responsible sourcing of materials, and carbon reduction throughout the supply chain,” ​said Asda in a report submitted to the UK parliament earlier this year.

“In 2010 at Asda we re-focussed our sustainability strategy to put greater emphasis on our work to improve the sustainability of our supply chain and the products it generates.”

“We are already working in our supply chain to improve efficiency and to reduce our impact on the environment. However, with complex issues and thousands of suppliers, one of the biggest challenges we all face is measuring the sustainability of a product,” ​added the report.

Overall reduction

Previous sustainability schemes, conducted between 2005 and 2010, produced a 7% carbon reduction for Asda.

Since then the retailer has continued its efforts and achieved its overall carbon reduction target of 10% for the decade from 2005.

The company has been working towards sustainability targets since 2005, when it parent-company Wal-Mart announced its sustainability commitments.

Reflecting on the progress of the Sustainable Product Index, Wal-Mart’s 2011 Global Responsibility Report said: “One of the biggest challenges consumers, retailers and suppliers face is measuring the sustainability of a product. Since 2009, we have been working relentlessly to develop the solution: a worldwide sustainable product index.”

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