Asda colleague Nick Brown recently visited Cape Town ready for a tour of our South Africa wine suppliers. The wine buyer was in store for a jam-packed week of wine tasting, factory visits and vineyard tours.

Nick’s first destination was Worcester, a town in the Western Cape of South Africa. After a meet and greet session with a wine producer, it was straight into the vineyards for a tour. The highlight of the day was visiting a fair-trade project based at the winery: A crèche for the children of the vineyard workers which Asda helped to set up. Such a simple but brilliant idea.

Nick said: “It was amazing to see the kids in their own environment in a project that we have helped build for them.”

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Posted by Georgina on 21 May 2013

I don’t know if you followed our global announcement but we’re really excited at Asda House. Walmart has announced a huge environmental target of a six-fold increase in renewable energy projects by 2020. That’s an ambitious target and one that we over here at Asda in the UK are excited to be part of. It’s part of how we challenge ourselves to become more sustainable whilst delivering low prices for our customers.

It was great to see Mike Duke, CEO at Walmart, making such an important commitment to the environment – something that he described as good for the world, good for our business and good for our customers. He also called out our energy colleagues as an exemplar across Walmart.

For our part, we’ve got a target to make sure that 30% of the energy used in our stores, depots and offices comes from renewable sources, from solar panels and wind turbines to heat pumps, by 2020. On energy efficiency we are not backing away either. We’ve committed that, no matter how much our business expands, we will use the same amount of electricity in 2020 as we did in 2012.

We’re already committed to reducing our impact on the environment, it’s something we take really seriously and we invest £10-15 million every year to help our stores, depots and offices reduce their energy use. Many of the energy reductions achieved already are down to colleagues changing the way they do everyday tasks. It’s not always about making revolutionary changes, we are communicating better with our colleagues, explaining how things work, which activities use the most energy and how to go about changing things…. and it all makes a real difference.

Of course, all of this is also common sense – energy is one of our major costs. With more efficient, cleaner and affordable energy we will lower our energy costs… and we can pass on these costs savings to our customers. It’s a win-win situation and I look forward to updating you on how we’re getting on!

Posted by Julian on 29 April 2013
Chris J

‘Harper Farming’ was awarded the coveted title of ‘Vegetable Grower of the Year’ at the Horticulture Week Grower of the Year awards held at the Lancaster Hotel, London on the 20th March.

Farming 750 acres in Worcestershire, Harper Farming grow and pack a range of summer vegetables including runner beans, salad onions, pak choi and squashes. Harper Farming’s unique joint venture with ASDA’s supplier MWW (Minor Weir and Willis) has enabled them to invest strategically in state of the art farming and packing techniques to ensure that consumers receive high quality British produce in the shortest possible time after harvest.

The photograph shows John Harper (MD of Harper Farming) and Simon Barnett (UK growing manager for MWW) receiving the award from sponsors, New Spitalfield Market and BBC Radio 4 personality Fred Macaulay.

Posted by Chris J on 03 April 2013

Have you spotted that Asda doesn’t have a renewable energy target in our sustainability strategy? Well actually that’s not entirely true – we don’t (yet) have a public renewable energy target but since 2010 we have been working against internal goals.

The key is ‘yet’ – on the 15th April Walmart’s leadership will announce a new series of energy goals to include a new global renewable energy target. On the day you can watch it live here.

So that’s Monday 15th April at 4pm GMT. How’s that as a way for me to celebrate a recent birthday (won’t tell you how old I will be though!)…

Posted by Julian on 20 March 2013

This week I joined over 1,200 suppliers and colleagues in Harrogate for the annual IGD Asda Trade Briefing. It’s our largest supplier event and one where our Executive Team set out the priorities for the year ahead. There was a whole host of speakers on the day, including our CEO, Andy Clarke and Chief Marketing Officer, Stephen Smith. In addition it was great to hear our Chief Merchandising Officer for Food, Barry Williams, speaking at length about the Sustain & Save Exchange – he described it as an exemplar initiative, one that really shows the power of collaboration and creating shared value between us and our suppliers. But perhaps the biggest news was the announcement that he expects every one of our suppliers to be a member of the Exchange in a year’s time. That’s a grand ambition, but one I’m more than happy to work towards!

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Posted by Julian on 11 March 2013