Mike Coupe

Sir, As we head into 2017, I wanted to share my support for your campaign to reduce food waste and increase food surplus redistribution. Whilst it’s not for me to speak on behalf of other grocery retailers, I am sure I’m not alone in saying that it is of paramount importance for our industry.

As a co-founder of FareShare, with Crisis in 1994, sharing surplus food has long been a priority for Sainsbury’s. Since 2004 alone we’ve been able to supply FareShare with over 11.5 million meals, with a further two million meals donated by encouraging our suppliers to do the same. Over 80% of our supermarkets now have at least one partnership in place and we’re working hard to build this to 100% by 2020, making sure we are making impact where it is needed most.

While we never send any waste to landfill, Sainsbury’s has achieved further success in reducing the amount of food waste sent to anaerobic digestion, with a 9.4% drop year on year. We are now completely transparent with our reporting. By publishing our performance we believe we motivate colleagues to continue making a difference and we help the wider public understand the efforts that are going on behind the scenes.

Of course, while we have taken these positive steps, there is much more to be done, but we cannot solve the issue of food waste alone. I firmly believe that it is the responsibility of the entire food industry to work together to find solutions. So For me, the standout aspect of your campaign is the call for collaborative efforts. It’s vital that all aspects of the food industry, as well as government and NGOs, work collectively and share learnings.

It’s with this in mind that I’m pleased to note similarities between your campaign and our Waste less, Save more programme - Sainsbury’s £10m investment to help people cut food waste in their own homes. It’s a five year journey and, positive or negative, we promise to be completely transparent with our results so that communities, councils and fellow businesses can share and implement what works in the fight against food waste. We look forward to sharing the latest discoveries from the work we have been doing in our test-bed town of Swadlincote when we receive the next set of data later this year.

Mike Coupe, CEO, Sainsbury’s