Last blog I promised you the highlights video from this Summit. Fresh from the editing suite its now here to view.

If you’re attending the Asda IGD Annual Trade Briefing in Harrogate this week then please drop by and say ‘hello’ as myself and all the Sustain & Save Exchange team will be there.

Posted by Julian on 26 February 2013

I was just reminiscing with my kids that its already over a month since Christmas. It seems like two months at least but in a good way…

We’ve really hit the ground running in the Sustainability Team. In particular, we just held our third Sustain & Save Exchange Summit with our suppliers. We have a venue in Asda House called the Tomato Room – our biggest on-site venue – and there was literally standing room only even on a day of dodgy snow weather!

This conference was our most successful yet and featured key colleagues including Barry Williams, Paul Kelly, Karl Martin and our lead Buyers – Rick, Jim, Holly, Ros, Phil and Janet. Suppliers support was phenomenal and a particular thanks goes to John at ABP, Robin at Arla, Keston at Barfoots of Botley & Caroline at Watts Farms. We also had a keynote from Alan Hayes at the IGD.

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Posted by Julian on 04 February 2013

When I look back on the achievements my team and all of my colleagues working in sustainability across the business have made this year I feel immensely proud. Here’s just a small flavour below…

On products and supply chain, 2012 was the year that we really started to embed sustainability across our suppliers thanks to the strategic vision and support of Barry Williams. We started the year with a pilot and ended with nearly 300 suppliers, amounting for over £12bn of annual sales, on our Sustain & Save Exchange. Using the lens of sustainability to review how products are made is already making these suppliers not only lighter on the environment but also more efficient and closer strategic partners to Asda. We’ve given a Golden Rule – suppliers keep all savings they make from using the Exchange which we also fully fund for them!

Thanks to the guidance of Paul Kelly, in our own operations our latest carbon footprint shows a further 4.3% reduction in carbon emissions since the previous year which totals a whopping 17.7% absolute reduction since 2007. This year’s reductions were driven by colleagues in energy, transport, refrigeration and waste. As these are absolute numbers that means we achieved them in spite of nearly doubling the number of stores we operate – an amazing achievement unrivalled in UK retail.

Posted by Julian on 24 December 2012

A few weeks ago I was a guest speaker at the RSPO’s annual meeting, the RT10. Walmart asked me to write a blog on this event for their Green Room and so I thought I’d also post it here for our readers. If you were looking for one place with all the key Walmart’s palm oil activities and facts and figures then this is it. The video is a little long but again will give you an overview on our key activity to date and what the future for this project holds.

Please let me know what you think…

Palm oil is used in over half of the products we sell so when it’s claimed that its production is leading to loss of habitats for species such as orangutans and Sumatran tigers as well as negative environmental and social consequences we need to act. That’s why Walmart made a commitment in 2010 that by the end of 2015 all the palm oil we use would come from sustainable sources. To us a sustainable source means palm oil or derivatives certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) or to Rainforest Alliance’s standards.

Recently I had the opportunity to speak at the 10th Annual Roundtable meeting on sustainable palm oil in Singapore, hosted by the RSPO. I was asked to talk about Walmart’s experiences and share what successes and challenges we have encountered since we implemented our palm oil policy.

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Posted by Julian on 26 November 2012

Kathryn’s time as the 2012 sustainability intern in my team comes imminently. She’s been an amazing asset teaming up with me on the Walmart global palm oil project and a really nice person to work with. I’m off to Singapore now for the annual RSPO palm oil meeting (more to come on this as we’ve got a very exciting announcement to make there!) so we’ve said our ‘goodbyes’.

Kathryn kindly filmed a few thoughts, above. I’m delighted that I once again achieved my aim of a two-way internship – we get some needed support but our interns get a boost from it too. For Kathryn this means that she is off to a fab new job at Bureau Veritas. That makes it two for two as my first intern last year, Ellie, went off to a great job at DHL. Both have said that the internship was a major factor in them getting these positions. I firmly believe that the fantastic Asda culture helped both of them to achieve their full potential.

Posted by Julian on 29 October 2012