Environmental and social issues are increasingly rising up the agenda of food businesses, supply chains and society as a whole. From a business perspective these issues are already impacting on the bottom line presenting both opportunities and challenges. The way in which these issues are addressed will have important implications for the development and resilience of many businesses over the forthcoming years.
The many environmental and social issues that businesses may need to consider include water scarcity, climate change, energy, pollution, safety, human rights, corruption and poverty, to name a few; these issues are often interconnected and interdependent. For example, food production to support population growth requires water and energy; water extraction and distribution requires energy; energy production (biofuels) from plants requires water and reduces land available for food production. These environmental and social issues in combination with the complexity of today’s business structures and supply chains, highlight the difficulty that business and society face in tackling these issues.
Project SCALE aims to increase economic competitiveness and improve environmental and social sustainability of food and drink supply chain logistics across North West Europe in the context of rising food demands, increasing energy prices and the need to reduce environmentally damaging emissions. In practical terms, the project will deliver a number of tools and frameworks that the agri-food sector can use to secure a step change in operational practices to improve the efficiency and sustainability of food and drink logistics throughout the supply chain. These tools and frameworks will be piloted across a range of food networks to demonstrate how the new approaches can deliver real commercial benefits.