2018 Leaders in Sustainable Thinking

Sustainability professionals gather in Toronto for a day of collaboration and inspired thinking

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What do you get when you bring together 35 sustainability professionals from a combination of start-ups and established companies with the purpose of tackling a common challenge? Innovative ideas and new relationships that take sustainability to new heights.

On February 27, Kruger Products held its 7th annual Leaders in Sustainable Thinking event in conjunction with Canadian Grocer. This year’s event built off of ideas from the 2017 Hackathon, with a focus on “How We Can Decarbonize the Retail Value Chain by 2040.” Participants broke into groups and were challenged to bring the 2017 ideas to life, acknowledging the real challenges companies face and the hurdles they would encounter to actually implement the ideas.

The commonality among every group’s plan was collaboration – none of these ideas are possible without companies coming together to achieve a shared goal. After the workshops, we created a Top Ten list of realistic steps the industry can take to tackle decarbonization of the retail value chain. While the thinking behind this list is collaborative and inspired, everything is grounded and can be actualized if companies join forces. It only takes one company to start the process and engage others. Who will step up and lead the industry?

Top 10 ideas to collaborate and reduce emissions in the retail value chain:

1. Joint Business Planning
Vendors and suppliers set joint emission reduction targets for product categories. Plans include credits for renewable energy usage and using standard carbon label on products to inform consumers. Savings must be shared along the supply chain for success.

2. Initiate Carbon Risk Assessments for Products
Develop an industry standard assessment and engage companies to voluntarily comply. Assessments would identify high carbon hotspots, allowing the industry to tackle these areas and make a difference.

3. Forecast Emissions
Understand current forecasting methodologies and select a standard. Companies can evaluate their own emissions, and tackle category forecasting with others.

forblog14. Reduce Packaging
Find more creative ways to market other than packaging, which would reduce product packaging and save on transportation, packaging production and waste.

5. Share Data
Sharing data helps companies understand the full lifecycles of their products, which can identify areas of improvement and opportunities for collaboration to make industry-wide improvements.

6. Align Incentives Throughout the Supply Chain
Discussing the various incentives for sustainable production and products, then aligning these incentives with appropriate representation along the supply chain will engage more companies to collaborate.

7. Leverage New Technology
There are simple tools that already exist to help identify ways to reduce emissions, particularly for the transportation of goods. Integrating these tools will help save emissions and contribute to reaching targets set through Joint Business Planning.

8. Share Consumer Engagement Efforts
Creating common labels and consumer education tools will enable consumers to make more informed decisions and understand how to select products that contribute to reduced emissions.

9. Issue Request for Solutions (RFS)
When emission hotspots are identified through forecasting and risk assessments, issuing a RFS can provide new ideas and different perspectives.

10. Create the Business Case for Collaboration
Creating category emission reduction targets will help make the case for collaboration. Work with industry groups to bring companies together and provide the opportunities for collaboration to occur. Category or industry-wide targets encourage collaboration.

To read more on the event, flip to page 39 in Canadian Grocer’s May edition.