Last year, Gerri wrote about Z’s commitment to work with Goodman Fielder to reduce our bread waste.
At the time, about 40% of the bread delivered to our sites was returned unsold to Goodman Fielder – representing 186 tonnes of bread and $580,000 lost each year.
As a nation, we throw away over 120,000 tonnes of food every year, enough to feed the population of Dunedin for two years. Bread is one of the most readily discarded products, with just under 13,000 tonnes ($51m worth) of bread being biffed uneaten each year across New Zealand.
Z promised to work with our supplier to proactively reduce the amount of bread we are sending back. It’s an on-going process, but by mid-year we’d already seen noticeable improvements.
By reducing the number of store shelves and creating a new resupply cycle, we reduced the proportion of bread returns between February and April by 8% since the same period last year, sparing 10,300 loaves from being wasted.
Extrapolated across the year, that’s 41,300 loaves per year, and is saving money, reducing wasted resources that go into growing and packing the food, and reducing emissions (decaying food creates methane, a potent greenhouse gas).
We’re still looking at more ways to further reduce returns as well as alternative uses for returned bread.
In another update, our Shared Performance Agreements are continuing, and together with our partners, we’ve had some really cool project wins.
As you’ll all know, last year we established these agreements with a small number of suppliers to work together on projects that would cause a positive change greater than what we could have caused on our own.
Working with Cassidy’s, we’ve diverted 14 tonnes of waste from landfill through establishing recycling during the build of our new Z Warkworth site. The project went so well, Cassidy’s have told us that they’ll be putting in recycling on other construction sites wherever possible – and it’ll become a standard part of all of our new builds too.
Our pie supplier Goodtime ran a staff competition to generate great ideas for sustainable benefits, similar to a competition we run within our Z retail sites. The winning idea created a fabulous packaging reduction – swapping 1L bottles of sauce for one large 9L bladder – just the right size for a batch of pies. The company estimated they would have used nearly 3,000 1 litre bottles over the year, but would only need 320 of the bladders.
This not only reduced packaging by nine-fold, but had a number of other great benefits too: manual handling reduced, less transport (better packing density), reduced purchase costs less product waste (as it’s easier to squeeze the last of the sauce from a bladder). And, what’s more, a satisfied team seeing their ideas realised. And Good Time has since started looking at other bulk purchasing options too.
We’ve also loved the ideas and engagement created through staff sustainability competitions – if any of you are keen to create one for your own team, we’d be very happy to share ideas.
There are a number of other projects on the go that are helping create more sustainable businesses for both us and our suppliers, and we’ll provide you further updates later in the year.
We’ve loved working on these projects with our partners. If any of you have any ideas for similar things you’d like to get after – or something you’d like to work with us on – please do get in touch.
Emily Watt, Sustainability Manager