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The Waitrose Way: a sustainable plan for the future

29th July 2013

Waitrose, the supermarket chain and Comply Direct Packaging Scheme member of three years, have launched a list of 12 commitments that Waitrose intend to pledge as a basis for the chain's ethical and sustainable future. The 'Waitrose Way' identifies four key focus areas for the pledge: living well, treating people fairly, treading lightly and championing British. As a signatory to the voluntary Courtauld Commitment – 'a responsibility deal aimed at improving resource efficiency and reducing the carbon and wider environmental impact of the grocery retail sector' – Waitrose are focussed on commitments which will see them reduce packaging, lowering their energy use and reduce their carbon emissions. (For more information on the Courtauld Commitment and how you can add your signature, click here) The list of sustainable and ethical activities and promises includes committing to reducing packaging, waste, CO2 emissions and ensuring responsible sourcing of produce. Waitrose have already begun to implement their pledge by addressing the design of the packaging of their products in a bid to reduce their overall packaging output by 50% from 2005 to 2016. (Reduce your packaging output and manage your UK packaging obligation by clicking here) Their range of 'Menu' ready meals are a shining example of these redesigns. The range has been re-launched with 49 products in the range exhibiting a 20% reduction in the weight of the packaging through reducing the width of the exterior sleeves – saving the brand 33 tonnes of packaging per year. Waitrose packaging and reprographics manager, Karen Graley said: "We are always working hard to reduce packaging where we can, to decrease the waste reaching our customers' bins and ensure they can recycle as much as possible. Re-launching a range is a fantastic opportunity to do this and cutting packaging by nearly 100 tonnes per year is a great result to have achieved on our journey to halving packaging by 2016.” - Reports waste industry magazine, Let's Recycle. Waitrose have also removed the plastic trays which used to contain their lamb and pork products, opting instead for a 'flow wrap' packaging solution and since 2010, reducing the total packaging of these products by 70%, meaning that Waitrose have successfully cut back on 38 tonnes of packaging per year. The chain use low carbon technologies wherever possible when new stores are built and ensure that all of their stores use 100% renewable energy. Waitrose proudly display the LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) marque in their stores to ensure commitments to sustainable produce by supporting British farmers and the British food chain. (Carbon reduction strategies are important for businesses of all shapes and size, click here to read more)   Taking responsibility Overall, the pledges outlined by Waitrose in the 'Waitrose Way' are a very positive profile of a British company looking to achieve total sustainability within the UK by making a very real commitment to reducing its waste and emissions while promoting a life-cycle waste model for its product to ensure that Waitrose take responsibility for consumers of Waitrose products who will now produce less overall waste as a result of their purchasing activities. As part of the John Lewis Partnership, Waitrose reduction in waste will contribute towards reducing the overall 130,000 tonnes of packaging that the group places onto the UK market every year. The John Lewis Partnership, also a Comply Direct Packaging Scheme member, have their own commitments towards reducing waste from packaging and developing a more sustainable trading environment. Nigel Keen, Director or Property Services at the John Lewis Partnership is quoted on the group's website as stating: "For our business, the evidence is compelling enough and we know that we cannot continue as we are – we must find more ways to be less wasteful and more respectful of our planet as a whole.” Comply Direct are responsible for the Packaging obligations of both Waitrose and the John Lewis Partnership under UK Packaging Waste Regulations and both are in their third year with the scheme. Comply Direct are the UK's fastest growing, government approved packaging compliance scheme and assist their members in the development of waste management schemes, like those outlined in the 'Waitrose Way' commitment. For more information about Comply Direct's packaging producer compliance scheme, please email packaging@complydirect.com for more information regarding any of their other services, including: WEEE and batteries compliance, carbon and energy management, call 0844 873 1034 or email info@complydirect.com.