An initial assessment of the environmental impact of grocery products, published by the Waste and Resources Action Programme on behalf of the PSF, analyzes the 50 grocery products with the biggest environmental impact. The production and sale of these products — which include bread, potatoes, bananas and milk — contribute between 21-33 percent to household consumption of GHG, the report says.
As a result of the study, the Co-operative, Nestlé and Sainsbury’s will pilot projects called “pathfinders,” intended to shrink the supply chain footprint of products with the most GHG emissions, product waste, and water, energy and resource use.
The Co-operative says it will work with stakeholders across its fresh potato value chain to identify and implement ways to prevent waste and improve wider resource efficiency, including energy consumption, water consumption and GHG emissions. Similarly, Nestlé will work with its principal milk supplier in the UK: First Milk, supported by the PSF. Sainsbury will focus on the environmental impacts of its meat, fish, poultry and produce.
The PSF intends for other grocery and home improvement companies to take similar actions and reduce their supply chain environmental footprints.
UK retailers and brands including Sainsbury’s, the Co-operative and Nestlé, among others, have reduced their supply chain waste by 8.8 percent compared to a 2009 baseline, putting them ahead of a three-year target of 5 percent, according to an October 2012 report by WRAP.
An Oxfam report published last month gave the world’s 10 largest food companies — including Nestlé — low overall ratings on their social and environmental policies. Nestlé received the highest overall score of 54 percent (out of 100 percent possible) with “fair” rankings in transparency, climate and water. The company received a poor ranking for its land policy.