The Co-operative Group, Nestlé and Sainsbury’s say they will improve the sustainability performance of some of their products in response to research from the Product Sustainability Forum.The study, published by the Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP), analyzed 50 grocery products with the biggest environmental impact and found that together they contribute between 21 and 33 percent of household greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Some of the products include such staples as bread, potatoes, bananas and milk.
Most of us who visit these pages are quite familiar with how Walmart used its influence to drive sustainability improvements in its supply chain. But were the gains really about sustainability at all? Strictly speaking, no.Indeed, the most anyone can say about the effects of Walmart’s strategy on its supply chain is that improvements in eco-efficiency, ethical sourcing or what have you may have been made (all good things), but not necessarily in sustainability performance, per se. Costs, too, may have declined and that's always a good thing as well. But to equate decreases in, say, the carbon or water intensity of products with improvements in sustainability performance is to make a serious category error.