Ahead of The Consumer Goods Forum’s Sustainable Retail Summit this month, Wouter Schaekers, P&G Director of Product Supply & Sustainability, and Reinhard Wesp, P&G Director of Physical Distribution and Customization (DACH), give their insight into two aspects of sustainable supply chain innovation that are changing the game.
Before products such as toothbrushes, razors and deodorants reach the retail shelves, they are repackaged several times in different transport containers on their way to the consumer. In production, the products come in their outer packaging in cartons, are stacked on pallets and transported by truck to the distribution centers. Depending on the order, the pallets may be divided into smaller units and repacked into other containers. In this way, the products pass through various containers and packaging until they are finally at the retailer and later on the shelf. Today, transport boxes are already being used for redistribution in retail, but these are not currently standardized. The GS1 has recognized this and so industry, trade and GS1 Germany have developed the reusable GS1 SMARTBox, an isomodular, exchangeable box that represents a sustainable solution for all parties involved. The GS1 SMARTBox offers many advantages: the exchange and cleaning of the boxes is done by a pool partner, industry and trade share the costs, the trucks are optimally loaded and utilized, trade saves time and work and unnecessary packaging material is reduced. A small box – many sustainability advantages!
While key POSM materials (think free Standing Display Units, Shelf Talkers, Leaflets Dispenser, Wobblers) have a proven record of driving sales up, after use in store they often end up as landfill or bring incinerated. At P&G, together with our vendors and retail customers, we are committed to transform our portfolio into sustainable POSM in order to reduce the footprint on climate and waste, while still growing the category. A nice example of this transformative partnership was the Hackathon on Sustainable POSM where vendors (start-ups as well as industry players) were pitching their solutions to several corporates and retailers, which turned out to be a source of inspiration, and a real accelerator of several pilot projects. In order to compare the footprint of multiple solutions, as well as track progress with our vendors, we have introduced the Sustain score from Popai. Some examples how to make executions more sustainable are paper sourcing accreditation for responsible forestry, reduction of single-used plastic and co-develop a winning business model for a circular display. We may not have all the answers yet, but our teams are committed to taking the first steps forward while exploring new solutions within sustainable innovation.
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