Case study

US retailer engages  suppliers to progress sustainable packaging goal

A US retailer has pledged for their own brand packaging to be sustainable by 2025. Supply Pilot helped the retailer engage its suppliers at scale to raise awareness and provide first level packaging information.

The insights enabled the retailer to focus specialist support on the right suppliers and help them deliver against their sustainable packaging goal.  

Woman sorting through packaging

At a glance

A US retailer leveraged the Supply Pilot Platform re-energise their plastics and packaging pledge and engage suppliers with a communication, education, and data gathering programme. In just 17 weeks, this approach led to a response rate from suppliers of over 90%. And packaging data collected for over 6,000 products. 

Industry

Food and Drink

Materially important issue

Sustainable packaging

Step of the process
SMART goal
Platform elements used
Supplier engagement Supply Chain Data Collection
Number of suppliers

400+

Outcome

90%+ response rate from suppliers

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The initial supplier response rate certainly exceeded our expectations and we very much attribute this to Supply Pilot’s unique approach. Their approach perfectly aligns with the collaborative and supportive way that we like to work with our suppliers towards our sustainability goals.

Packaging Sustainability Manager

Background

The key to making tangible procress was to understand where suppliers were in their own sustainability journeys and identify their barriers to improvement. This enabled the retailer to provide tailored support and create appropriate action plans for suppliers.

The retailer's plastics and packaging pledge (created in 2019) has three requirements for packaging:

  • To be 100% recyclable, reusable, or industrially compostable by 2025
  • Plastics must contain 20% recycled content by 2025
  • Clear recycling communications, including QR codes by 2022
With COVID-induced disruption, it would have been easier to park the packaging activity. But failing to meet a public pledge was not an option and the retailer recognised they needed external support to accelerate their ambition.

However, suppliers were not fully aware of what they needed to do in order to support the retailer achieve their sustainable packaging goals.


Solution

Supply Pilot helped the US retailer re-energise their pledge and engage suppliers with a communication, education, and data gathering programme. The challenge was split into manageable stages to overcome the complexity of the multi-faceted program and built a clear roadmap for successfully delivering their 2022 and 2025 goals.  

A supplier engagement campaign was constructed using Supply Pilot's Six-Step Process, which began with targeting the right supplier contacts for the subject matter and carrying out a supplier readiness survey. This survey helped the retailer segment their supply base based on their current sustainable packaging awareness and activities. 

Packaging improvements also require detailed data to make the right decisions and suppliers must have the right capabilities to make the changes. Working together with the retailer's packaging and compliance reporting specialists, Supply Pilot outlined relevant survey questions and used the Supply Pilot Platform as the basis for fast data gathering and analysis.

This enabled them to: 

  • Ensure suppliers understood the pledge
  • Check if suppliers were able to fulfil the requirements
  • Understand where suppliers were relative to the 2025 goal and establish a benchmark to demonstrate progress and deliver on commitments

Impact

Supply Pilot’s approach ensured that supplier engagement was maximised with a final response rate of over 90%. This is well above the industry average engagement levels of around 25% for these types of activities.  

Supply Pilot’s analysis really highlighted which suppliers most needed our support to transition their packaging and meet our sustainable packaging goals. Without this, our approach would have been much less focused and efficient. With Supply Pilot, we are able to provide the level of support that our suppliers and our ambitious goals really needed to be successful.

 

Packaging Sustainability Director

 

 

Key facts

Supply Pilot helped the US retailer segment their supply base based on topic maturity, engaged hundreds of suppliers, and established a benchmark to demonstrate progress and deliver on commitments.

400+ suppliers

engaged in sustainable packaging pledge

6,000+ products'

packaging data collected

17 weeks

taken to complete project from start to finish

90%+ response rate

from suppliers

Are your suppliers ready to support your sustainable packaging strategy? 

The world’s largest brands use the Supply Pilot Platform to navigate strategic and sustainable transformation through supplier collaboration. Book your demo today to see how it could help you too.