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Achieving supply chain sustainability: The whys and hows

By James Humphreys, specialist in green manufacturing at Katana ERP

Businesses are placing more emphasis on reducing their environmental impact and embracing ethical responsibility. Supply chain sustainability is a critical component of this effort. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of sustainability and examine how companies are integrating it into their supply chains…

With the planet facing more frequent and severe natural disasters, it’s becoming increasingly clear that our current manufacturing supply chain practices are not sustainable. The effects of climate change, such as droughts, floods, and storms, interrupt supply chains across the globe, while manufacturing itself is largely to blame for these catastrophes. According to the EPA, the industrial sector (including manufacturing) made up 23% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States in 2021.

However, there are steps that companies and individuals can take to improve supply chain sustainability and mitigate the risks of climate disasters. This means taking a hard look at current systems, and what we can do to minimise the negative effects on the planet.

What is supply chain sustainability?

The sustainability of a supply chain is crucial in promoting environmentally and socially responsible practices.

It involves ensuring that companies prioritise the welfare of the planet and people while producing the goods that we enjoy. It is a collaborative effort where companies choose suppliers who share their values and employ ethical methods. For instance, a clothing company may opt for a cotton supplier that uses organic farming methods, which avoids harmful chemicals and conserves water.

A major factor of sustainability is reducing waste and pollution.

One solution is implementing a closed-loop system where a company recycles and reuses its own materials to reduce manufacturing waste and minimise the need for new resources. A tech manufacturer can recycle old electronics to make new products instead of sending them to landfill. Plastic bottles are often gathered after use and remelted into new containers.

Finally, it is crucial to ensure that every stakeholder is treated fairly, enjoys the experience, and stays safe. A fair and safe supply chain operates with transparency, integrity, and respect for everyone’s rights. It ensures workers are treated fairly, get a living wage, and have safe working conditions.

How to make your supply chain more sustainable?

Making your supply chain more sustainable can involve a range of strategies and actions that aim to reduce the environmental and social impacts of your operations. Here are some steps you can take.

1. Assess your current supply chain

Start by mapping out your supply chain and analysing the environmental and social impact of each stage. Identify areas of improvement and prioritise actions based on their potential impact and practicality.

2. Set sustainability goals

Establish measurable objectives and targets for reducing your environmental impact and improving social responsibility. Consider using established frameworks such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals or GRI Standards to guide your goal-setting process.

3. Engage with suppliers

Work closely with your suppliers to promote sustainable practices throughout the supply chain. Encourage them to adopt eco-friendly and socially responsible policies and practices. Consider establishing a supplier code of conduct that outlines your expectations and standards.

4. Reduce waste and emissions

Implement measures to reduce manufacturing waste and greenhouse gas emissions in your supply chain. This often means using more efficient transportation methods, minimising packaging, or investing in renewable energy sources.

5. Adopt circular economy principles

Consider adopting circular economy principles that aim to keep resources in use for as long as possible and minimise waste. This could involve using renewable materials, designing products for disassembly, or implementing recycling programs.

6. Ensure compliance with regulations

Stay up to date with relevant environmental and labour regulations and ensure that your operations and suppliers stick to them. Conduct audits and adopt third-party certifications to verify compliance.

7. Monitor and report on progress

Regularly monitor your progress towards your sustainability goals and report on your performance to stakeholders. Use data and metrics to track your impact and identify areas for improvement.

What are the business benefits of a sustainable supply chain?

A sustainable supply chain can benefit your business, the environment, and society. Here are some key advantages.

1. Reduced costs

Adopting sustainable practices such as waste reduction, energy efficiency, and responsible sourcing can help reduce manufacturing costs in the long run. For example, reducing packaging and transportation can lower shipping costs, while energy-efficient manufacturing can save on electricity bills.

2. Improved brand reputation

A sustainable supply chain can enhance your brand reputation and help you differentiate yourself from competitors. Consumers are increasingly conscious of sustainability issues and are more prone to supporting brands that prioritise responsible practices.

3. Increased customer loyalty

You can build stronger relationships with customers who share your values by demonstrating your commitment to sustainability. This can lead to an increase in customer loyalty and repeat business.

4. Mitigated risks

A sustainable supply chain can help you reduce risks associated with environmental and social issues such as climate change, resource scarcity, and labour abuses. By proactively addressing these issues, you can avoid legal, financial, and reputational risks.

5. Enhanced innovation

Adopting sustainable practices can spur innovation and creativity within your organisation. By challenging traditional business methods, you can identify new opportunities and develop innovative products and services.

From raw materials extraction to product disposal — every stage of the supply chain can potentially harm the environment. However, with sustainable practices, businesses can reduce their ecological impact and protect the planet for future generations.

Is carbon management crucial for a clean supply chain win?

As the urgency to combat global warming intensifies, enterprises are increasingly adopting rapid decarbonisation practices to align their business strategies with sustainable development goals (SDGs).

With a focus on addressing the dual crises of climate change and the ongoing destruction of natural ecosystems, businesses are at the forefront of sustainability efforts and are highly interested in investing in carbon management technologies to systematically reduce their CO2 emissions, says GlobalData.

Kiran Raj, Practice Head of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, said: “From green financing and green buildings to green IT, investments in clean technology are on the rise, defying the considerable geopolitical and macroeconomic headwinds that affected most capital markets. The fast-paced adoption of carbon management technologies will continue in 2023 and beyond as governments, corporations, and investors increasingly collaborate to make the low-carbon future a reality.”

Shagun Sachdeva, Project Manager of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, added: “Across the broad spectrum of carbon management solutions from new materials, clear sustainability disclosure standards, improved carbon capture techniques to more adaptive supply chains, companies are constantly innovating to stay ahead of the curve. The key for the companies will be to evaluate their strategies in light of growth and return projection and strike a balance between capability and profitability.

GlobalData’s Innovation Radar report, “Green business: How carbon management technologies help reduce CO2 emissions,” highlights how the real-world innovations in carbon management across industries can allow companies to either draw analogies with existing products, services, and processes or transfer strategic approaches for a revolutionary transformation.


Sachdeva added: “While there has been a slow yet steady rise in carbon management concepts such as carbon assessment, reduction, recycling, trading, and green fuels in the last few years, new innovations in use cases such as carbon capture & sequestration and green IT will take carbon management ecosystem to the next level.”

Carbon capture & sequestration

Carbon capture & sequestration will play a promising role in the energy transition, especially in heavy industries like power, steel, cement and oil and gas. It refers to the suit of technologies used for capturing CO2 produced during industrial processes. In June 2022, Italy-based startup Energy Dome developed a CO2 battery for long-duration energy storage. Energy Dome claims that the battery uses CO2 to store renewable energy on the grid and can be deployed anywhere. In March 2022, Danish green-tech startup Algiecel developed a photobioreactor based on a mobile container using algae to absorb CO2 emissions from industrial processes.

Green IT

Green IT or green computing covers information and communications technology (ICT) and computing technologies with lower carbon footprints. This starts with manufacturers manufacturing sustainable products to IT departments switching to more environmentally friendly options like virtualization, power management and proper recycling habits. In February 2023, a Taiwan-based manufacturer and distributor of computer hardware, Gigabyte, introduced next-generation servers with an aim to reduce carbon emissions with its green computing solutions. In January 2023, California-based Data Center-as-a-Service provider ECL launched a modular, environmentally friendly, off-grid data center that uses green hydrogen as its main power source.

Sachdeva concluded: “Despite a strong push towards carbon management solutions, the industrial application of carbon management technologies is still in its infancy and will take significant time to scale up. No major industries currently operate in an entirely circular way. Infrastructure implementation, cost control and standard as well as lack of efficient reporting frameworks being the key challenges at present, it will be interesting to watch how companies will strategically place their bets and meet their M&A targets that not only capture the climate-focused tailwinds but also keep them insulated from the macroeconomic headwinds.”

How retailers can improve sustainability and profitability in home delivery 

Today, home delivery and sustainability are coming together in consumers’ minds. Descartes recently conducted a comprehensive study to help retailers understand not only how this convergence is changing consumer home delivery preferences; but also how retailers can take advantage of these evolving preferences to help themselves and the environment. 

The good news is that consumers are becoming more flexible about their delivery choices. They want retailers to provide sustainable delivery options; and favour retailers that are focused on sustainability

The even better news is that most of the sustainable delivery options come at a lower cost for retailers to operationalise, compared with traditional deliveries. This presents a strong opportunity for retailers to create more customer loyalty and to reduce delivery costs, while helping the environment. Chris Jones, EVP, Descartes explains and reveals key findings from Descartes’ recent research…

The demand for “eco-friendly” home delivery is strong

The study surveyed 8,013 consumers from nine countries in Europe, the US and Canada. It pointed to a number of findings that indicate that many consumers care about the environment and what retailers do about it does impact their buying decisions. The last finding in the list below is a significant one for retailers because it helps to drive the first three metrics:

  • 45% said that helping the environment is quite/very important in their daily lives
  • 39% said that they always/regularly make purchasing decisions based upon the environmental impact of a company or a product
  • 40% would buy more from grocers who demonstrated that their supply chains were more sustainable than the competition
  • 50% were quite/very interested in environmentally friendly home delivery options.

Three sustainable delivery options were highly appealing to consumers

Respondents were asked what sustainable delivery options were most important to them. The following findings point to the three most appealing sustainable delivery options for consumers—all of which can reduce costs for retailers:

  • 50% thought the ability to combine orders to have them arrive all at once was quite/very important
  • 48% said that they were quite/very interested in having retailers recommend the most environmentally friendly delivery option
  • 38% were quite/very willing to wait longer for deliveries to make them more environmentally friendly.

Making sustainable delivery happen

Achieving these three sustainable delivery options allows retailers to better consolidate deliveries and increase delivery density. The key to leveraging eco-friendly delivery options, though, is to understand which are more sustainable, and present them to customers before they make a delivery decision.

Specialised delivery appointment scheduling tools can help here, and provide retailers the capabilities to highlight the most environmentally friendly delivery options to their shoppers – for example, options for dates and times that are ecofriendly across different service levels, including free standard delivery, premium delivery or same day delivery. These intelligent scheduling tools can dynamically offer services that combine deliveries too – and they can present options that extend the delivery time (e.g. slow down the delivery) to create more environmentally delivery plans. These options combine to help create more efficient and profitable delivery operations for retailers, and reduce their carbon footprint.

Combining deliveries 

For retailers such as grocers and broadline sellers whose customers make frequent purchases, combining orders provides an excellent opportunity to minimise the number of deliveries. Retailers can provide either a fixed delivery on a regular basis (e.g. Amazon Prime Day) or dynamically choose the day based upon existing orders. Strong delivery appointment scheduling tools can identify when customers have existing orders and, during the ordering process for additional purchases, determine if it is possible to add new orders to the existing delivery or dynamically suggest a new delivery time. For customers on a fixed delivery schedule, this techology can assign new orders to the fixed time as long as the solution determines that it is feasible to add them to the delivery.

Scoring eco-delivery options 

For retailers who want to provide customers with more dynamic eco-friendly delivery options, intelligent delivery appointment scheduling tools can score options based upon the factors that determine carbon footprint. This is usually possible to achieve because the delivery appointment scheduling process dynamically creates delivery options for each order as customers are making their purchases. With today’s modern tools they can typically score options to show which ones have the shortest travel distance/lowest mileage and enable retailers to determine which options they want to present to the customer. Eco-deliveries can be highlighted with supplemental explanation (e.g. “Help us reduce miles and improve the environment”) to educate the customer. Anecdotally, some organisations employing this technique have seen mileage reductions of up to 20% for eco-deliveries versus non-eco-friendly delivery options.

Lengthening lead times for deliveries

Similar to eco-deliveries, effective delivery appointment scheduling tools can score delivery options over a time horizon. This provides retailers the insight to understand what longer lead-time options are more environmentally friendly and present them to the customer during the buying process.

Additional performance and sustainability improvement tactics

Virtually any improvement in home delivery performance results in a lower carbon footprint and greater sustainability. While scheduling tools offer retailers tangible benefits, there are several other tactics that retailers can deploy to improve home delivery performance and make it more sustainable.

  1. Route optimisation that helps to maximise fleet productivity, which results in less fuel consumed, fewer vehicles used and lower vehicle maintenance.
  2. Advanced road network modeling that helps to ensure compliance with state and local government restrictions in congested areas, which reduces traffic and related pollution.
  3. Route orchestration to better coordinate multiple resources during delivery execution, which reduces fuel consumed and the number of vehicles deployed and maintained. AI and machine learning capabilities improves route planning accuracy and addresses route execution exceptions to make delivery fleets more productive, reduce fuel consumed and decrease the number of vehicles deployed and maintained.
  4. Mobile applications that eliminate paper-based delivery documentation and IoT-based telematics that minimize excessive idle time and help contain aggressive driving traits that consume additional fuel and increase vehicle maintenance.
  5. GPS-based fleet tracking, that reduces vehicle turnaround and idle time at distribution centers and depots, can be used.
  6. Customer delivery notifications can help to decrease the number of failed deliveries and the need to reschedule.


Sustainability is no longer a challenge. It is an opportunity. For retailers to continue to succeeding in this current challenging business environement, while meeting consumers’ expectations, they will need to consider what their shoppers want in terms of delivery options against agains sustainability requirements.

Today, meeting these needs is not only good business sense – investors want it, consumers want it, and governmental legislation across the planet is driving and demanding it too. By investing in technologies that enable effective transport routing, scheduling and delivery resourcing, retailers will be able to meet the various needs of their shoppers, the environment, and the market that they operate it.

FMCG giants ramp sustainable packaging efforts

Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies are increasingly pledging to bring the environmental, social and governance (ESG) element into packaging with an aim to address various environmental challenges.

Amid mounting pressure from customers, investors, and governments, they are making forward-thinking moves to improve the world by offering ethical, sustainable purchase choices to consumers, says GlobalData.

GlobalData’s poll conducted in April 2022 highlights that nearly 35% of companies have changed their behavior in the last 12 months to achieve ESG goals.

Kiran Raj, Practice Head of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, said: “As we step into a post-COVID-19 pandemic world, consumers are reassessing their purchases and manufacturers are aligning their products to the 4Rs of sustainability–Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Recover–given the target date for various ESG standards edge closer. Sustainability seems to have outgrown corporate social responsibility (CSR) tokenism to stand at the top of manufacturers’ business agenda, thus accelerating the shift towards a circular economy.”

Shagun Sachdeva, Project Manager of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, added: “Although recycling is a step that companies are heading in the right direction, it is not the ultimate solution to sustainability as many recyclable plastics are simply not recycled and considerable energy is required to turn those used products into new ones. As plastics remain in circulation and recycling waste ends up in landfills, the focus is shifting more towards green packaging materials.”

Coca-Cola UNITED partnered with O-I Glass, Inc. to recycle glass bottles in May 2022. The Coca-Cola Company collaborated with Graphic Packaging International to launch United States’ first KeelClip paperboard packaging for multipack cans in June 2022 and with e-commerce retailer Inc to support China’s circular economy in January 2022.

Nestle SA invested around $ 5 million in the Italian venture capital fund Eureka! Fund this January to accelerate the research of innovative packaging solutions, improve the quality of collection and recycling processes, and increase the adoption of recycled food-grade plastics.

PepsiCo inked a deal with Carlsberg Group early this year to minimize its reliance on single-use packaging. It also partnered with blockchain firm Security Matters in June for plastic recycling.

Danone SA moved the entire PS (polystyrene) cups portfolio in the UK to PET cups and launched PET & rPET cups in France, Spain, and Belgium last year. It invested around $6.2 million in Bailleul, France to transform three out of six production lines into PET, and the cups contain 30% recycled PET.

Sachdeva concluded: “Even though key FMCG players have sustainable goals in place for the next 5-8 years, there are still complexities in terms of scaling, long-term planning, and slow market adoption, making it hard for them to execute the sustainability promise with ease. However, in the long run, it will be interesting to watch how companies will make impactful changes on a global scale in the sustainability game.”

87% of business leaders expect to increase sustainability investment

87% of business leaders expect to increase their organization’s investment in sustainability over the next two years. Customers are the primary stakeholder group creating pressure for organizations to invest or act on sustainability issues, selected by 80% of executives, followed by investors (60%) and regulators (55%).

“Sustainability enables businesses to cope with disruption,” said Kristin Moyer, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner, which conducted the research. “Economic uncertainty, geopolitical conflict and escalating materials and energy costs are forcing businesses to reexamine all forms of expenditure. This focus on essentialism, in combination with increasing stakeholder desire to see progress on environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, creates new opportunities for enterprises to grow while mitigating cost and risk.”

The survey was conducted in June and July 2022 among 221 respondents in North America, Europe and Asia/Pacific. Respondents were executives in director roles or above within organizations with enterprise-wide annual revenue of at least $250 million for fiscal year 2021, which are currently engaged in sustainability-related activities.

It found that 86% of business leaders see sustainability as an investment which protects their organization from disruption. Additionally, 83% said sustainability program activities directly created both short- and long-term value for their organization, and 80% indicated that sustainability helped their organization optimize and reduce costs.

Specifically, the top areas where survey respondents said sustainability programs are mitigating cost increases are energy consumption, business travel and customer transactions (see Figure 1).

Fig. 1. Top Operations-Related Costs Being Mitigated Through Sustainability Programs

Source: Gartner (November 2022)

“Executive leaders are achieving both operational and supply chain savings through their sustainability programs,” said Moyer. “This kind of ‘two for one,’ where sustainability investment supports a business goal like cost optimization, significantly enhances the program’s impact by creating a virtuous cycle.”

Sustainability Drives Growth and Innovation

Sustainability can also enable new value creation and business growth opportunities. Fifty-seven percent of business leaders said the enterprise sustainability program has a strong connection to the results on the income statement, and 42% of respondents are leveraging their sustainability activities to drive innovation, differentiation and enterprise growth through sustainable products.

“Investing in sustainability can support product differentiation but be wary of greenwashing risks – there are no shortcuts to sustainable growth,” said Moyer. “Focus on product attributes that are important to customers and how these priorities shape buying decisions. When viewed through a strategic lens, sustainability can provide a ray of sunshine for businesses during difficult market conditions.”

Digitalise to decarbonise: The emerging manufacturing imperative 

By Saša Petrovic, EMEA Digital Strategy Director, Citrix 

As the world grapples with the immense challenges of decarbonisation, headlines often focus on points of failure. New fossil fuel exploration or biodiversity loss, after all, are more attention-grabbing than making marginal improvements to existing systems. However, being aware of successes that society can capitalise on is just as important as highlighting areas where progress has stalled. 

A perfect example of this is the ongoing wave of digitalisation which every industry is now working through. While the motivation to digitalise might often stem from seeking growth, agility, and competitive advantage, it is also having a significant impact on our collective carbon footprint.  

How we should capitalise on this kind of success story, though, is not always obvious – especially when it comes to industries like manufacturing where the environmental impact seems more intractable. After all, the manufacturing plant is – along with the power plant – probably the first thing that most people think of when they imagine industrial emissions. In fact, manufacturing accounts for 12% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, just behind transportation (15%).  

With environmental responsibility now an imperative for the sector, how can manufacturing best capitalise on the potential of decarbonising digitalisation? 

Understanding digital decarbonisation 

In many sectors, the work of digitalisation can often be understood as working towards substitution. The way that digital technology can give familiar processes more speed, agility and flexibility is something everyone is familiar with from their work and personal lives, from videoconferencing meetings to online shopping. 

Of course, while many things, like collaborating on documents, can be entirely virtualised, others, like actually delivering what you buy online, cannot. In this sense, there is a kind of spectrum when it comes to economic activity that digitalisation can make more environmentally-friendly which has processes that can be entirely substituted at one end of it – and much of manufacturing deals with at the other.  

Substitution is not, however, the only way that digitalisation can provide value in this area: for necessarily physical processes, we can also think in terms of digital addition. Delivery services, for example, can reduce emissions by minimising the overall amount of travel needed, whether that’s through plotting more efficient routes or through storing goods closer to their end-users.  

Similarly, with greater adoption of augmented reality and digital twins, analogue processes can be further digitised. This would allow for some blue-collar workers to carry out their roles remotely. This kind of complex optimisation, which demands rich data insights to be delivered in real-time, is precisely what is enabled with the addition of digital, cloud-based platforms.  

The digital decarbonisation windfall for manufacturing, therefore, might be seen in how IT can expand its remit in the business beyond enabling existing workflows and into adding new ways of working. Examples of this might be found in every part of the value chain. Storing and managing raw materials, for instance, requires significant land and energy use; richer insight into where resources are held and where they are needed can reduce dwell time and its associated impacts. Likewise, downtime in plants causes not only revenue loss but carbon overheads as systems and workers are forced to idle; enabling engineers to monitor and repair machinery digitally can reduce that downtime from days or weeks to hours. 

The sustainability imperative 

Manufacturing businesses are no strangers, of course, to either digitalisation or decarbonisation. Over the last decade, a huge amount has been written about how technologies like the Industrial Internet of Things and digital twinning will deliver the benefits of digital to manufacturing’s physical processes, while strides are being made in directly reducing the impact of high-emissions manufacturing work through innovations in areas like materials science and additive manufacturing.  

Today, however, there is a growing urgency to bring these areas together into a more holistic strategy as businesses grapple with the twin crises of skills and the supply chain. These are immediate threats to growth and revenue which also need to be seen as risk factors for longer-term viability. Even while difficulties around attracting labour and sourcing vital resources like semiconductors and feedstock threaten to stall progress towards sustainability, the climate crisis is increasingly becoming a direct contributor to disruptions to how, where, and whether labour and resources can be obtained. 

There is now an opportunity for manufacturing to align around new ways of working which support both resiliency and sustainability. Circular economy workflows are a key example of this in action: introducing the materials embedded in end-of-life goods back into manufacturing process creates a reliable, predictable supply while also potentially minimising material travel and reducing the need for raw resource extraction. Implementing this mindset, though, demands a holistic digital approach, in which businesses not only have rich data on the entire lifecycle of goods, but can also make that data shareable and understandable across the whole organisation. 

In other words, IT-based sustainability gains in manufacturing may indeed be marginal when taken individually, but they stem from a thorough rethink of how digital technology can empower everything manufacturers do. Engaging with that task has never been more critical. 

Hubbub outlines challenges and opportunities for reusable food and drink packaging

Environmental charity Hubbub has launched ‘Reuse Systems Unpacked’, a report uncovering the challenges and opportunities for reusable food and drink packaging systems.

The report, unveiled at The Royal Society of Arts in the presence of key players in the sector, provides recommendations on how reusable packaging systems can work and what needs to happen for such systems to be used by consumers and become mainstream.

The research was funded by Bunzl and involved in-depth interviews with 40 organisations and individuals in the sphere of reusable food and drink packaging, from start-ups and small-scale trials to big brands and events, as well as people in the fields of policy, academia and logistics, including Tesco, DEFRA, Just Eat and Abel & Cole.

Hubbub also commissioned polling across the UK to gather public opinion on the motivators and barriers to individuals engaging in reuse systems for food and drink packaging.

The survey of 3,000 people shows a clear public appetite to cut down on single-use plastics, with 67% of people saying they want to reduce the amount of single-use packaging they use when buying food and drink products.  73% think more needs to be done to make it easier to use reusable alternatives and 67% said they’d be open to borrowing and returning a reusable container for groceries.

The research also identified the main motivators and barriers to people using reusable packaging schemes for food and drink. Price is the main motivator with 2 out of 5 people saying that being able to use the reusable packaging scheme for no extra cost would encourage them. Earning rewards or discounts for using a scheme, as well as knowing that it reduces waste and is better for the environment than single use packaging, would encourage 38% of the public.

In terms of barriers, concerns that the packaging might not be clean or hygienic was mentioned by 38% of respondents, followed by thinking it might cost more money (31%) and having to carry or store the packaging until it can be returned (27%).

Key recommendations  

Hubbub has identified 10 key recommendations to help reuse systems set up and scale: 

  1. Convenience is key: minimise the friction points and fit into people’s current patterns of behaviour.
  2. Keep the price down: the price needs to be as close as possible to single-use.
  3. Choose the right incentives: they play an important role to encourage use and returns, but deposits can put people off and rewards can lead to over-complication.
  4. Integrate logistics: innovation is needed here, such as creating centralised logistics networks in cities, backhauling through existing systems and developing new washing processes.
  5. Be smart with packaging design: clever design is about more than aesthetics; it integrates tech, encourages returns and reduces the environmental footprint of packaging and transport.
  6. Understand the lifecycle analysis: a consistent process needs to be established to work out the environmental impact of reuse systems in a way that’s accurate and comparable.
  7. Collaborate: a system working across multiple brands, locations and platforms will be more convenient and less confusing for users.
  8. Consider the role of tech: tech can simplify payments, deposit refunds, rewards and tracking usage, but it can complicate the user journey and put off some audiences.
  9. Offer reassurance: the public have concerns around hygiene which can be addressed through a robust washing process supported by good communications.
  10. Support through policy: a range of potential policies, standards, incentives and subsidies would support the growth of reusable systems.

Alex Robinson, CEO of Hubbub, said: “To effectively tackle the issue of packaging waste, reuse must become mainstream. For this to happen, it’s crucial that companies across the food & drink industry, along with policymakers, work together and learn from each other. The ‘Reuse Systems Unpacked’ report is the first of its kind and brings together the findings from existing schemes and systems, along with insight into public attitudes towards reusable packaging. It’s clear the public are hungry for change. We hope this report helps to accelerate progress across the food and drink industry and drives us quickly towards a society where reusable food and drink packaging is the norm.”

James Pitcher, Head of Sustainability at Bunzl plc, said: “It’s been a long-held mantra of Bunzl that the life of packaging does not end at the point of sale and our ambition doesn’t either. We have been using our scale and unique position at the centre of the supply chain to work with our customers and suppliers to lead the industry towards a more sustainable approach to packaging. To move away from a linear mindset to a more circular one we need to understand the opportunities and challenges involved, which is why we’re pleased to have supported this work. The circular economy has to go mass market to be effective and research like this means we’ll understand what’s collectively required to reach a macro-solution sooner.”

Hubbub has extensive experience of encouraging reuse through a series of campaigns and partnerships including the recent launch of the Bring It Back Fund, a £1m fund in partnership with Starbucks to support reusable food and drink packaging systems.

For more information and to read the report, visit

Driving supplier sustainability: In uncertain times, control the controllables

By Mark Perera, CEO and Founder, Vizibl

I recently had the pleasure of giving a presentation at Procurement and Supply Chain Live at Tobacco Dock. Given it was my first in-person event since the pandemic shut everything down, it was a real buzz to be in front of an audience of my peers again, and great to hear the contributions of the other speakers.

Like many of those speakers, I chose to present on the considerable sustainability challenges facing those of us who work in procurement and supply chain in my talk ‘Procurement’s Carbon Crisis’.

Though our focus was similar, I noticed a considerable difference in the advice I gave versus what many others were counselling. There was a lot of talk about baselining, about data, and about constructing complex, long-winded frameworks before we can truly embark on making progress against our sustainability goals.

Here I’d like to share the opinions and insights I gave to the audience at Procurement and Supply Chain Live and offer an alternative route to improved supplier sustainability that takes into account a simple fact.

That fact? We are running out of time. Running out of time to baseline, time to pore over data, time to model the myriad consequences of every decision we could possibly take, and – most importantly – running out of time to act. Thankfully, there is another way.

The scale of the problem

Today’s world is facing uncertainty on an unprecedented scale. With trade wars, the invasion of Ukraine, supply chain shortages, socio-political upheaval, food shortages, rising energy prices, the increase in cost of living, and the aftermath of the pandemic, we’re experiencing disruption like never before.

These crises are placing pressure on companies as they struggle to mitigate shocks to their businesses and handle the increased level of unpredictability affecting every area of their operations. This pressure and unpredictability will only increase as the climate crisis worsens – an issue that will inevitably touch every continent, every nation, every citizen, and every business.

Our behaviour, as people and as organisations, has already caused an enormous shift in our climate, with Met Office researchers predicting an even chance that the planet will exceed the 1.5˚C threshold during the next five years, if only temporarily at first. Without changing our behaviour, we have little hope of limiting this crisis, let alone averting it.

We are already 23% into the 2020s, and every 5 weeks we move 1% closer to the 2030 deadline. It’s clear we are not moving quickly enough to meet net zero by the end of the decade.

The importance of our value chains

As if the looming emissions deadline wasn’t scary enough, business leaders are facing a new challenge: the growing scrutiny of our impact beyond our own operations. Businesses, particularly large enterprise companies, are increasingly being held accountable for their end-to-end value chain emissions, and rightly so. No enterprise is an island, and the scrutiny of what goes on to enable our businesses outside our own four walls is growing.

The scrutiny is not unfounded. Today, 80% of most large enterprises’ greenhouse gas emissions sit in the upstream supply chain. Though these emissions sit outside of their direct control, the leaders of those companies are being tasked with using their power and influence to effect change in their supply base and bring supplier stakeholders on their sustainability journey.

Though decisive action is needed, no organisation can simply cull 30-40% of their suppliers if they are non-compliant without plunging themselves into further disarray as a result of lost products, services, and revenue. Thankfully, awareness has been growing of the alternative: working much more closely with supplier stakeholders, particularly the large emitters, to drive sustainability across the end-to-end value chain of large businesses.

Don’t wait for the perfect data set

Though it holds the key to improved alignment and engagement from supply base stakeholders, Supplier Collaboration isn’t easy, and there is a vast quantity of variables to grapple with in improving supplier sustainability credentials.

Organisations that we talk to frequently cite ‘analysis paralysis’ or ‘we don’t have the data’ as the reasons they’ve failed to take meaningful action with suppliers. Scope 3 is complex, the data is difficult to obtain, aggregate and normalise, and it can be hard to establish a robust baseline of supplier sustainability as it exists today.

In a world that values data-driven decision making (and as a data and tech nerd myself!), I get the urge to wait until the numbers come in. But we simply do not have the time to sit on our hands failing to make improvements until we can quantify our baseline.

The question we should ask ourselves instead is: if we do not have time to wait for perfect data, how do we make the best decisions without it?

Control the controllables: focus on what you do know

The process of improving supplier sustainability, particularly in regards to scope 3 emissions is usually one that I distil down to four steps:

  1. Constructing a rough estimate of value chain emissions (note: estimate – we don’t have the time for perfection)
  2. Prioritising your efforts according to scale and how much you can do to influence these emissions
  3. Seeking alignment with these suppliers over goals and targets
  4. Collaborating selectively to find green products and solutions

As I mentioned, many organisations will stall at step 1, convinced they don’t have enough to go on. But step 2 can be hugely helpful. I call this prioritisation step ‘controlling the controllable’. Put simply, we need to focus on what we do know.

I know for example, that most of my emissions sit in my supply chain. I am likely to have a good idea of what scope 3 category is largest (purchased goods and services), and which procurement categories my biggest emitters fall into. I know who those suppliers are, I know what products or services they provide me, and I know how much I spend with them.

Focusing on what I do know, that gives me a place to start. And it’s imperative that we do start.

Use a leading indicator

Another issue that organisations come up against with supplier sustainability is a second data-related quandary. Reliable emissions numbers or supplier sustainability scores from common frameworks are updated infrequently, and only provide a retrospective view of performance. This is because our ultimate goals (such as carbon emissions reduction in kilotons, as one example) are lagging indicators.

A key issue with lag metrics is that if we take the wrong route, it’s too late to go back and course correct when we get the data – which could be years out. What we need is a leading metric that measures our progress towards our goals and provides a reliable indicator of lag success.

Build active collaborative relationships

The leading indicator we use at Vizibl for supplier sustainability success is called ‘active, collaborative relationships’, or ACRs.

We know that success in supplier sustainability is determined by our ability to align our intentions and goals with suppliers, and work in close collaboration and partnership with them to effect change.

Active relationships are the defining characteristic of successful Supplier Collaboration. They denote relationships with productive activity such as ongoing projects, open opportunities, live initiatives, and up-and-running proofs of concept that are aimed at an ultimate shared strategic goal set out by buyer and supplier. This activity can be easily checked, its data is frequently updated, and successful collaborations around a strategic sustainability goal are predictive of success against that very goal.

An organisation running multiple emissions reduction projects with a cohort of strategic sustainability suppliers, centred around alignment of objectives and expected outcomes, with clear success criteria, would be an organisation with many active relationships. Correspondingly, it is also an organisation which is much more likely to deliver against its lag metric.

Just get started

Whatever your environmental sustainability lag metric, whether it’s net zero by 2030, a percentage reduction across all three emissions scopes, or reducing virgin plastics from your products, is one that we cannot afford to fail at. Though it can feel like we’re “flying blind” to take action without the data, three things are clear:

–        We are facing unprecedented disruption as a result of climate change, and we are running out of time to avert or limit its effects

–        Getting the data in is time-consuming and complex, and we cannot afford to do nothing while we wait to run the numbers

–        We can make robust decisions without the data based on what we already know, and as a result we can begin taking action to control the controllables, today.

Building active, collaborative relationships with stakeholders in our supply chain is the best way to control the controllables and make concrete progress against our collective looming deadline.

Supply chains critical to educate fleet masses about electric vehicles

By Tomas Edwards, CMO, Daloop

Sustainability is a heavily discussed topic right now, with individuals and businesses seeking to have less impact on the environment as they become more aware of the increasing threats to our planet.

One of the clearest moves toward a more sustainable environment is the purchase of an Electric Vehicle (EV).  EV sales are continuing to rise alongside correlating proposals over infrastructure and manufacturing developments. With sales of new combustion-engine vehicles set to end in 2030 and the UK government’s latest proposal to legislate that 50% of automakers’ sales must be electric by 2028, the trend is clear.

However, anxieties over the transition remain ever-present in conversations that I have with fleet managers, drivers and in some of the more negative articles I’ve read.

The switch to EV is happening

The transition away from combustion engines is set to become mainstream. Recent surveys show that investment in EVs continues to rise with more EVs purchased in March 2022 alone than in the whole of 2019.

Alongside this impressive statistic, the trends indicate that increasing numbers of businesses and people are planning on making the switch. According to research from BP, 43% of managers and 41% of drivers expect to make the switch to EVs within two years. Survey results in May from major tyre manufacturer, Bridgestone, revealed that 67% of motorists intend to switch. Of that figure, 47% want to change to an EV to save on fuel bills, while 56% are sold by the environmental benefits. This is interesting and highlights the conscious effort being made to reduce carbon emissions and improve sustainability.

This is happening not only on an individual level but also across the vehicle industry. Over the past year, we have seen Ford, Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi all making commitments to massively invest in EV production. It is the same for luxury carmakers, with Mercedes-Benz, Bentley, and Jaguar-Land Rover all announcing pledges to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Anxieties persist

Despite these positive statistics, anxieties remain around the EV transition process but some of these problems are simply out of most businesses’ and governmental control. Take for example, the issues surrounding global supply chains. Volkswagen announced earlier this month that they will deliver no new EVs to customers in Europe and the US for the rest of 2022 due to sell-out of battery-powered models, citing issues within supply chains as primary cause.

Away from supply chain issues, unfortunately, and broadly reflecting the same issues facing individuals, general anxieties around fleet electrification amongst businesses persist. The main concerns regularly discussed relate to the driving range of EVs and whether necessary infrastructure will be in place to support transport decarbonization. This is where education needs to occur, because such worries can only exist if you believe that the roadside on-demand fuel supplymodel will be replicated come 2030 and beyond.   It won’t.  Charging facilities will be found at home, at work, at leisure and retail sites – anywhere where vehicles are parked for the necessary length of time. That being the case, charge will be obtained before it’s necessary and road-side facilities will be used en-route for seldom taken longer journeys.

Regardless, the UK government’s promise to increase the number of electric charge points by more than ten times to 300,000 by 2030 was broadly welcomed across the industry.

This announcement included new standards and legislation which means EV operators will have to provide real-time data for customers to check the status of charge points, and apps for customers to find the nearest available charger. Enterprises clearly have a role to play in supporting this proposal. To reduce EV charging anxiety, it is imperative that the infrastructure to support the EV transition is in place.

This is where companies like Daloop, with our data-driven mobility management software, can deliver clear benefits to fleets and businesses and alleviate concerns that some may have about EV charging and range anxiety. The software that fleet managers and businesses use to manage their EV operations is just as essential in keeping their vehicles on the road as the charge points themselves. With the correct, data-driven approach, the EV transition can be a seamless and valuable choice for any individual or business without compromising on either efficiency or costs.

Invest in our planet

Sustainability and ‘saving our planet’ is clearly one of the top drivers for switching to EVs and, in April, we had the annual World Earth awareness day.  This provided an opportunity for us all to reflect on our impact on climate change and assess what we can do to reduce our carbon footprint. The theme this year was “invest in our planet”. Evidently a key investment individuals and businesses are making to reduce their carbon footprint is with the purchasing of an EV. This remains an important step, especially as the transport sector has continuously been a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions across the globe.

Aside from the environmental factor, it also makes economic sense. Research from Compare the Market found that driving an electric car for a year cost almost £600 less than a petrol equivalent after recent fuel price increases. Moreover, for businesses’ by using the right software fleet managers can safeguard journey routes and ensure that EV fleets are maintained and operated efficiently.

With the government setting clear commitments for all new HGVs to be zero-emission by 2040 and all car and van sales similarly needing to hit 100% zero-emission by 2035. EVs are now one of the most important investments that can be made to achieve global net-zero by the mid-century.

Your potential to reduce carbon emissions

This year, to support Earth Day 2022, Daloop launched a new online platform: Daloop.Earth. This platform provides business owners with an accurate, visual reflection of their potential to reduce global carbon emissions. The platform uses a simple calculation to illustrate the potential impact of a business’s fleet transition and quantifies emissions for focus and action as we all begin to make efforts toward a more sustainable transport industry.

UK has second-highest number of B Corps in the world

Research by green energy experts Uswitch has revealed Moodle, an online educational platform designed for distance learning, is the world’s most popular B Corp business, followed by Coursera and TOMS.

B Corp certification is awarded to businesses that meet the highest standards of accountability when it comes to their social and environmental impact, and there are now almost 5,000 B Corp businesses officially achieving B Corp Certification in the world.

The Most Searched For Sustainable Brands

The social and environmental impact of the products we buy, and the companies we buy them from, is now more important than ever to consumers. So, to discover which sustainable businesses are the most well-known around the world, researchers analysed Google search data, to reveal which ones consumers are Googling the most.

Moodle tops the list with over 53.5 million global searches each year. The Australian-based company is hailed as the world’s most popular learning management system and was crucial throughout the pandemic when classrooms were closed.

Coursera, the open online course provider that works with universities to offer qualifications, is second on the list with 35.9 million global annual searches, followed by the sustainable shoewear brand TOMS in third place, receiving over 14.9 million searches every year.

Popular brands such as premium ice-cream manufacturers Ben & Jerry’s and the world’s first carbon-neutral brewery BrewDog also appear in the top 15 most popular B Corp businesses list, ranking in seventh and 15th place respectively.

Top 15 Most Popular B Corps

Rank Company Name Annual search volume
1 Moodle Pty Ltd 53,550,000
2 Coursera 35,930,000
3 TOMS 14,920,000
4 Redbox 14,480,000
5 Athleta, Inc. 13,643,000
6 Warby Parker 11,335,000
7 Ben and Jerry’s 10,281,000
8 Kickstarter PBC 10,257,000
9 Envato 9,384,000
10 Boomera 8,403,000
11 Nature et Decouvertes 6,555,000
12 Vestiaire collective 5,736,000
13 Rentcars LTDA 4,812,000
14 Allbirds, Inc. 4,781,000
15 BrewDog 4,688,000

The Most Searched For Sustainable Food and Drink Brands

The research also looked at food and drinks organisations that have been recognised by B Corp – it reveals the American ice-cream manufacturer, Ben & Jerry’s, is the most popular sustainable food and drink brand in the world with over 10.2 million searches every year.

Scottish-founded BrewDog is the second most popular food and drinks B Corp business, with 4,688,000 searches every year, followed by Thrive Market, the membership-based retailer selling purely organic and natural food products, in third place.

The top five is made up of two subscription services; the UK-based meat delivery company ButcherBox is fourth, and Gousto is fifth with over 2.4 million searches.

Top 10 Most Popular Food & Drink B Corps

Rank Company Name Annual search volume
1 Ben & Jerry’s 10,281,000
2 BrewDog 4,688,000
3 Thrive Market 3,669,000
4 ButcherBox 2,737,000
5 Gousto 2,447,000
6 NATURALIA 2,104,000
7 Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams 1,719,700
8 Alpro (Alpro SCA) 1,286,500
9 Mindful Chef 1,240,500
10 Tony’s Chocolonely 1,149,000

The Countries With the Most B Corp Certified Businesses

From Australia to Zambia, there are B Corp certified businesses all over the world, and the research also reveals the countries with the most certified B Corps. The United States takes the top spot, with 1,418 in total, followed by the United Kingdom with 590, and then Canada with 323.

Although it might not be a surprise that the USA is on top given the size of the country, it is worth noting that the process to become recognised by B Corp and receive the certification is very tough and incredibly thorough, so it’s only handed out to organisations who really are making a difference.

Top 10 countries with the most certified B Corps 

Rank Countries Total number of certified B Corps
1 United States 1418
2 United Kingdom 590
3 Canada 323
4 Australia 296
5 Brazil 181
6 Chile 136
7 France 151
8 Italy 134
9 The Netherlands 126
10 Argentina 119

To read the full research, please visit: