Creating a More Sustainable Food Supply Chain, But at What Cost? (Waste Matters! Part 8)

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How do we make the supply chain more sustainable? What changes can we implement to reduce the amount of wasted food? While businesses are clearly losing money either overbuying or underselling their food products, efforts to make changes to the supply chain cost money, too.

Would that cost travel down to the consumers? That’s something else businesses need to think about. And would consumers be willing to pay extra for food products from a store that practices sustainable practices?

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A recent study by the Sustainable Food Supply Chain Commission says maybe not. The report said there is a “limit to how much companies can expect consumers to pay for higher standards…” However, it also notes that some companies have proven to be successful by demonstrating their smart supply chain sustainability techniques. “Many food businesses have been able to gain a competitive advantage by showing leadership on sustainability issues by demonstrating their commitment to sustainability in their supply chains.”

The Need for Sustainability

Sustainability includes much more than limiting the amount of food a company wastes, but these efforts are becoming increasingly necessary. Another report by consulting firm Accenture said, “Most companies now recognize that a sustainable supply chain is no longer just an optional nice-to-have – it’s a business imperative, critical to the success of the organization as a whole in a perilous world.”

A 2010 survey by the company showed 96% of CEOs thought sustainability should be “integrated into all aspects of strategy and operations.” Additionally, 88% said the supply chain was a core area to focus on sustainability.

Has your business taken steps to reduce waste? If so, we would love to hear from you. What did you do to implement positive changes and limit the amount of food going to the landfill. Share your story with us!

In our next installment, we talk about how the Chicago Food Depository is using some of this access food from local grocery stores to help feed the hungry.

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