Sustainable supplier

How to be a sustainable supplier

December 20, 2019

Suppliers looking to tick the right boxes on sustainability need to make sure their credentials properly stack up, says Roger Williams

MAKE A PLAN
Know where you stand. Have details of your carbon footprint and offsetting in place, along with an up-to-date environmental policy. Show how you manage your environmental impact e.g. waste reductions, energy savings, air quality improvements and avoid habitat destruction. Have data to support how successful you are.

MEASURE EVERYTHING
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Companies respect those that apply auditable processes (e.g. ISO 14001) and provide data for continuous improvement.

SEEK ACCREDITATION
Get certification from relevant authorities for your field. Check how the market views different certifications and if there are minimum standards you need to achieve (e.g. MCS for fish). Leave enough time to qualify.

PRIORITISE PROVENANCE
Full traceability is a priority, and means demonstrating your product’s journey from field to plate. Be prepared for exclusivity demands that might limit your outreach.

DELIVER ON PACKAGING
Remove excessive outer wrapping to help reduce logistics waste and design out as much consumer packaging as possible. It needs to be robust to withstand handling, but remain easy to open and be biodegradable or fully recyclable.

KNOW YOUR TARGET
Understand sustainability factors and priorities for operators, look up their CSR vision and values online and find common ground. If supplying a caterer, know theirs too.

FOCUS ON WELLBEING
Show how your product helps improve customers’ health. Can it feed a particular trend, help passengers relax or satisfy certain allergen free demographics (allergens are top of every caterer’s agenda at present)?

USE TECHNOLOGY
Use digital technology and other automation to make processes more sustainable and efficient