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Maura Maxwell



Retailers' sustainability goals "on track"

Group aims to reach 30 per cent sustainability on fruit and vegetable sourcing by the year-end, rising to 50 per cent in 2015

Retailers' sustainability goals "on track"

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The Sustainability Fruits and Vegetables Initiative (Sifav) claims it is on course to meet its target of sourcing 100 per cent sustainably-grown fruits and vegetables by 2020. Last summer the group, which includes Ahold, ICA, Jumbo, Lidl, Coop and C1000, announced that it was on track with its goal of 30 per cent sustainability in 2014. The target for next year in 50 per cent.

“Sustainability is important, so that we can keep producing in the long term. This means the inclusion of smallholder farmers into the supply chain,” said Tony Bruggink, programme director of the IDH Fruits and vegetables programme at last week’s IGD’s Supply Chain Summit held in London last week.

Bruggink said retailers recognised the important role they had in increasing sustainability in the supply chain, both by scaling up existing initiatives and developing new producer support projects. “Their commitment shows the importance of mainstreaming sustainability in the sector,” he said.

According to Michiel van Zanten, sourcing director at Ahold, customers increasingly demand sustainability, as more and more people are aware of it. “Many non-profit organisations are challenging us, so it has become part of our core business. It is a balancing act to be innovative, have best quality and affordable prices. Sustainability is part of that package, and before we joined Sifav we recognised this,” he said.

 So far in 2014, nine additional companies have joined the initiative, resulting in an increased number of participants in the covenant. European traders and retailers annually import approximately 13.4m tonnes of fruits and vegetables from Central and South America, Africa and Asia, with a total value exceeding €10bn.

“As a market leader, we need to set ourselves high goals: 30 per cent is not enough, as we believe that sustainability is a ladder,” Van Zanten said. “You take it step by step, and it has many challenges that keep moving, so we need to keep fine-tuning our ambitions. We would like to strive for 100 per cent sustainability; it is in our DNA.”


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Old Comments
  • The large amount of fresh food waste is a lose-lose situation for the environment, the struggling families in today?s tough economy and for the food retailers. There is no single cure, or silver bullet for food waste reduction therefore, we should address the food waste problem in every link in our food supply chain. For example, the excess inventory of fresh perishables close to their expiration on supermarket shelves, combined with the consumer ?Last In First Out? shopping behavior, might be the weakest link of the fresh food supply chain.
    The new open GS1 DataBar standard enables applications that encourage efficient consumer shopping by offering him automatic and dynamic purchasing incentives for fresh perishables approaching their expiration dates before they end up in a landfill.
    The ?End Grocery Waste? App, which is based on the open GS1 DataBar standard, encourages efficient consumer shopping behavior that maximizes grocery retailer revenue, makes fresh food affordable for all families and effectively reduces the global carbon footprint.

    Rod Averbuch
  • Which criteria do they use and how do they verify that their statements are correct

    Kobus Pienaar

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