Sainsbury's is considering launching an environmental scorecard for its manufacturing suppliers.

The idea was discussed at Sainsbury's first environment-specific conference for suppliers, held recently. "The scorecard was introduced as a possible concept," said environmental affairs manager Jack Cunningham. "It will help shape the data we gather, plus our work in the future.

"This is something we do internally and works well. At the moment it is very much part of a wider discussion and in the next round of conferences in the autumn we hope to get feedback on the idea."

The conference was attended by 70 suppliers, who discussed issues including carbon, waste, buildings, water and resources. It had been organised for suppliers to understand where Sainsbury's was in terms of its work on the environment, and to share best practice ideas, said Cunningham. Manufacturers were already "a long way down the road" on sustainability and the chain was keen to share ideas to tackle issues such as climate change, he said.

"A crucial part of the conference was to introduce the people in Sainsbury's working on the environment to our suppliers. There was an incredible thirst to tap into our experience, policy and technology. For us to achieve our environmental goals we need to use a cross-business approach. We can't do this by telling our suppliers what to do."

Sainsbury's is aiming to cut its carbon footprint by a third by 2030. Last year it reduced energy usage by 2.5% despite a more than 6% increase in new space.

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