Sir: The food industry is clearly a very early adopter of sustainable business thinking and practice (‘Tesco urges transparency on food waste,’ 1 February). Manufacturing, oil and gas, media and others all take CSR and EH&S seriously, but the food industry is truly pioneering. It is feeling the pressure to be genuinely sustainable and it is responding.
You only have to look at how Ireland is trying to enable its whole food industry to become certifiably sustainable under its Origin Green initiative to realise that the pressure on producers, suppliers and retailers is significant.
The new targets announced for waste and carbon reduction are admirable, but should be seen as part of an ongoing journey by grocers and their suppliers, not the beginning of one. They are part of a genuine effort to improve competitiveness, secure supply and lower costs and impacts that has been going on for at least five years.
We manage three large-scale supplier-retailer collaborations on behalf of Asda and Tesco. Over 2,000 food producers and manufacturers are involved in the programs and the levels of engagement, investment and impact/cost reduction are at an all-time high.
With a population hurtling towards nine billion and consumption by the burgeoning middle classes of the BRIC economies going through the roof, perhaps it is no surprise there is pressure to produce more from less. The good news is that the food industry is doing just that.
Martin Chilcott, CEO, 2degrees