Industry not green enough, says report

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Foodservice operators and suppliers believe that the distribution industry has failed to take the sustainability agenda seriously, according to a study by Keystone Distribution which counts McDonald’s among its customers.

The study, “Chain Reactions”, is the result of interviews with 40 foodservice chains and a further 40 food manufacturers. It found that 46 per cent of suppliers and 36 per cent of operators thought that many companies do not take the issue of sustainability seriously. Three quarters (73 per cent) of foodservice operators believe that the industry must hold up its hands and take responsibility.

The study identified three major barriers to implementing sustainability practices:

1. Industry collaboration was cited as a route through which sustainability issues could be addressed but the study found that almost two thirds (64 per cent) of operators claim that reluctance to work together is a major barrier to the creation of a sustainable industry. A further third (36 per cent) felt that collaborative partnerships lead to a loss of competitive advantage.

2. More than half (55 per cent) of the operators questioned highlighted prohibitive costs as another barrier to the implementation of sustainable solutions.

3. Finally, close to half (46 per cent) of all foodservice operators claim that their supply chain partner is ineffective at helping them to improve the sustainability of their business.

Paul Pegg, vice president of Keystone Distribution Europe and author of the report, said: “It can be risky to enter into a three to five year contract today if the supply chain partner doesn’t have a sustainability plan in place for tomorrow. It’s important to seek out a supply chain partner who can use innovation to create an advantage for customers in the fields of sustainability and efficiency.”

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