IPC started with packaging by switching to "green" cup carriers, recyclable napkins, salad bowls, utensils and paper towels. "One of our top priorities was to reduce unnecessary packaging and source material - it's the lowest hanging fruit" says [Tina Fitzgerald]. "Right now we're really focused on increasing the recycled content recyclability, degradability and compostability of our products, as well as making them better."
CARBON CALCULATIONS Food companies that measure their carbon footprint reduce environmental impact— and save money, too. By Katherine Doherty S andwich maker Subway was an environmental l leader long before sustainability was in vogue. When the Independent Purchasing Cooperative (IPC) was formed in 1996—Subway’s franchi- see-owned and operated buying cooperative— the group took a long hard look at its supply chain. At ﬁrst, Miami-based IPC was primarily responsible top priorities was to GOING GREEN: for procuring food, packaging, equipment and services for reduce unnecessary packaging Subway has opened all Subway locations in North America, negotiating the lowest c o s t s and source material—it’s the lowest hang- six eco-stores that for its franchisees. But by 1999, IPC turned its attention to logistics and ing fruit,” says Fitzgerald. “Right now we’re are LEED certified. distribution, realizing that there were signiﬁcant opportunities to be really focused on increasing the recycled gained by reducing the amount of miles driven, revamping packaging content, recyclability, degradability and compostability of our products, and redesigning its supply chain network. as well as making them better.” Subway wanted to become the “greenest QSR in the world,” so in 2006, The co-op is doing this in various ways throughout it supply chain. senior management initiated a formal sustainability effort, not knowing For example, one of its suppliers provides cleaning products for Subway how it would impact the bottom line but certain that it would beneﬁt sup- customers worldwide. The products, pre-mixed with water, had been pliers, distributors, store operators and ultimately, consumers. shipped as six one-gallon containers in a case. The supplier extracted the “Being a food organization, food safety and quality are our number one water and started shipping the product as concentrated strips, which dra- priority and we have stringent audit processes all the way back to the matically increased the number of cases that could be put on the truck. farm,” says Tina Fitzgerald, IPC’s director of produce and social account- “The strips have enabled us to save about 180,000 pounds of plastic ability. “We have good agricultural practices for all of our produce and and 150,000 pounds of corrugate a year,” says Julio Berrios, IPC’s supply we’re always looking at the vendor code of conduct. We used to address chain manager. “Plus, there is little product damage and our customers just the manufacturing level, but now you have to look at how the workers like the fact that these take up less storage space in their back room.” are being treated and how the animals are being taken care of.” IPC is getting these metrics by measuring its carbon footprint, which The co-op decided to focus on four areas—energy efﬁciency, re- is often a challenge for companies that want to go green. “We wanted to source conversation, waste reduction and food safety—and those ef- establish a carbon base line as well as see where our growth was going,” forts have paid off. In 2009, IPC saved 294,360 barrels of oil, eliminated says Berrios. “We needed to measure our supply chain and establish our 126,456 metric tons of carbon dioxide and preserved 1,047 acres of annual numbers. It seemed like an incredible task—we are a large chain trees from deforestation. and have a tremendous amount of data. We knew we needed outside help.” IPC started with packaging by switching to “green” cup carriers, IPC turned to Atlanta-based Chainalytics for help. Chainalytics offers recyclable napkins, salad bowls, utensils and paper towels. “One of our a carbon footprint analysis service that can measure greenhouse emis- www.foodlogistics.com • F JUNE 2010 25 sions, calculate energy consumption and reduce Metersky says the vast majority of the informa- the environmental impact of a supply chain. tion comes from shipment transaction histories. Electric Reefer “We’re ﬁnding that many of our clients need to “We take a look at all of the physical move- know and report on their carbon footprint,” says ments you made in your supply chain, so that Delivers In NYC Jeff Metersky, vice president, su
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