Report identifies ‘green’ heroes and losers

Report identifies ‘green’ heroes and losers

A new report reveals that FMCG manufacturers are lagging behind the supermarkets in the green race, with supermarkets coming out on top in almost every area.


The report from Richmond based, corporate social responsibility consultants, 4Front Consulting shows how the biggest consumer goods giants are doing in terms of hitting their green targets.

Environmental improvements and promises made by the UK’s major supermarket chains and key FMCG manufacturers have been scrutinised and compared to provide a summary of how they are each responding to pressure from governments, the public and environmental bodies to reduce their environmental impact.

4Front Consulting analysed the published annual CSR reports of a cross section of supermarkets and FMCG manufacturers to ascertain the strength of each company’s environmental commitments and how well they have delivered against them.

The report found that the organisations leading the environmental sustainability agenda are M&S; Sainsbury’s; Unilever; Procter & Gamble and Nestle.

Overall, supermarkets came out on top; The Co-Op and Asda reported some of the strongest results in terms of meeting their CO2 emissions reduction; all of the supermarkets are heavily focused on logistics improvements; and nearly all supermarkets achieved close to 100 per cent waste diverted to landfill.

However, when it comes to the reduction of packaging, the supermarkets’ primary focus is on their own brand goods, rather than putting pressure on suppliers.

FMCG manufacturers were found to be largely lagging behind the supermarkets when it comes to reduction of CO2, packaging reduction, waste and logistics. The area in which they rival the supermarkets is water usage, with Unilever, Nestle and Kraft all producing strong results.

When considering the results of the report, Kate Heslegrave, 4Front Consulting commented: “Many PLCs have realised that good and meaningful corporate social responsibility is no longer a box ticking exercise but that consumers now take the issue seriously and use it as a criteria when making purchasing decisions.

“There is often a direct correlation between visible CSR progress and bottom line success. You can see from this research that in the UK there is a real drive to reduce environmental impact, but that some companies and some environmental aspects have fared better than others.

“The big brands are certainly making great strides in environmental and sustainability improvements but the challenge is now for smaller suppliers and logistics providers wishing to work with the big companies to also up their game in terms of CSR”.

Holly Aston