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Big Players Join Forces to Improve Environmental Impacts of Their Products

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Big Players Join Forces to Improve Environmental Impacts of Their Products

Big Players Join Forces to Improve Environmental Impacts of Their Products
March 15
09:03 2013

The Co-operative Group, Nestle and Sainsbury’s are going to test ways to improve the environmental performance of some of their products, following new ground breaking research published from the Product Sustainability Forum (PSF). The research looked at the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, product waste, and water, energy and resource use of traditional grocery products through their life cycles. Through that it identified priority products – for example potatoes and bread – which offer significant opportunities for improvements across the different types of environmental impact.

As a result, the Co-operative, Nestle and Sainsbury’s are the first companies from the grocery and home improvement sectors that will pilot projects known as ‘pathfinders’, to target their efforts where many of the biggest environmental savings are. More companies will follow. These pathfinder projects will also help to improve the resilience of supply chains and help to manage potential business risks.

The findings of the research report – ‘An initial Assessment of the Environmental Impact of Grocery Products’ – has been published by WRAP on behalf of the PSF.

The research brings together product life-cycle data from over 150 published studies and from PSF members and industry, making it the most comprehensive study of its kind.

Over 3000 data points inform the analysis and provide an invaluable knowledge base for information on product-level environmental impacts. Detailed findings and data sources are provided in the report’s appendices, which contain information for over 200 grocery products.

Dr Liz Goodwin, CEO of WRAP and Chair of the Product Sustainability Forum says: “The main objective of this important research has been to establish which grocery products are likely to contribute the most to environment impacts associated with UK household consumption. By gaining a better understanding of the products that matter in the context of UK consumption, we can help businesses to prioritise their efforts to improve the environmental performance of their products in areas that will generate the biggest economic and environmental savings.”

The Co-operative and Nestle will respectively look at waste prevention and resource efficiency measures across potato, milk and chocolate supply chains, while Sainsbury’s is focussing on its meat, fish, and poultry products as well as produce.

The top 50 product groups, where many of the biggest environmental savings could be made, were grouped at a level considered to be most useful for business, (and are listed alphabetically, by category, below):

* Alcoholic drinks: Cider and perry; Lager; Spirits; Wine

* Ambient: Breakfast cereals; Canned fish and seafood; Canned meat products; Canned vegetables, soups, pasta and noodles; Cat food and dog food; Chocolate; Coffee; Crisps (potato); Processed snacks; Rice; Sugar confectionery; Tea

* Bakery: Biscuits (sweet); Bread and rolls; Cakes, pastries and morning goods

* Dairy: Butter; Cheese; Milk and cream; Yogurt

* Fruit and vegetables: Bananas; Onions; Potatoes; Tomatoes

* Household: Dishwashing products; General purpose and toilet cleaners; Laundry detergents; Toilet paper and kitchen rolls

* Meat, fish, poultry and eggs: Beef (chilled and frozen); Deli food; Eggs; Fish and seafood (chilled and frozen); Lamb (chilled and frozen); Pork (chilled and frozen); Poultry (chilled and frozen)

* Non-alcoholic drinks: Carbonates; Concentrates; Juices

* Other chilled and frozen: Frozen vegetables and potato products; Ice cream and frozen desserts; Margarine; Pizza (chilled and frozen); Pre-packed sandwiches; Ready meals (chilled and frozen)

* Personal care:Bathand shower products and shampoos; Deodorants; Nappies

These products are an initial ‘Top 50’ that will be reviewed and expanded in future iterations of the PSF’s prioritisation effort.

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