Updated: Feb 18
The by-products of improving sustainability for the Food & Beverage Supply Chain
Sustainability has been on the minds of almost every industry for the past few decades. The drastic need to move away from practices that are damaging our planet, reduce carbon emissions, and prevent further environmental degradation is unavoidable, and change is needed on a global level.
Certain Industries and sectors, due to their nature, have led these sustainable developments. Focusing on the retail sector, given its consumer-facing position, has felt the most pressure from the media, and consumers generally, to actively make changes that improve sustainability. Their spotlight status means poor practices, with non-recyclable packaging, unnecessary plastic usage or avoidable wastage being obvious.
However, behind the scenes, food & beverage distributors have not felt this same pressure. This means that sustainability has been less of a priority, and overlooked by a large portion of distributors. Despite this, the change is just as important as their retail counterparts.
The benefits extend past the environment
It’s important to remember that making changes to become more sustainable will also improve productivity, profits, and the overall growth of the business.
Distributors that are considering the switch to digital can take some important lessons from retail. Retailers who were early adopters of new technologies, and those who publicise their stance on sustainability, saw customer loyalty rise. This couples with the growing demand from consumers who want to play their part in protecting the environment by reducing wastage, and consuming more consciously. Supermarkets understood these demands, and so they aligned their stance with that of their target audience. It is a misconception that because distributors are business-to-business, customers are not as concerned about who they purchase from.
Even on a distribution level, businesses that focus on sustainability want to do business with like-minded companies.
Businesses are run by people, with ethical stances and values and these are expressed through their brand, and so Food & Beverage distributors can learn from these developments, showing that they are actively doing their bit for the environment, driving loyalty and building their customer base in the process.
Why is it important that the entire food network works collaboratively?
This question answers itself; the food industry is a network. Each supply chain link is connected directly or not, and changes to one area will have knock-on effects, good or bad.
When supply fluctuates for distributors, prices will change which in turn impacts retail, who may then pass these costs on to the consumer.
When looking for more sustainable ways to do business, it is the responsibility of each supply chain link to act both internally, and encourage change with their counterparts and networks. Meeting carbon emission reductions and lowering our impact on the planet needs a response on a global scale, and so collaboration is absolutely essential when addressing such a huge challenge.
Removing paper processes and using available technologies will not only help supply chains as a whole to be more sustainable, but the added benefits of automating processes, improving efficiency, communication and productivity, in turn, will maximise profits in a crowded and competitive industry.
If you have any questions about ways to improve the sustainability of your business, then please book a discovery call to discuss how our software provides you with sustainable processes.
If you’d like to keep reading, you can check out our recent article that covers the importance of communication for distribution businesses here.