As part of the Suntory Group vision of Growing For Good, Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I (SBF GB&I) is using its position in the industry to lead the soft drinks category in driving positive change.

Matt Gouldsmith, Channel Director, Wholesale, Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I.

“Growing For Good means everything we do as a company always benefits its community, and by continuing to do good things for society and the environment we will help make a better, brighter future post-Covid-19 and beyond,” says Matt Gouldsmith, Channel Director, Wholesale, Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I.

Becoming more sustainable is important for the future of the planet, but for individual stores it can be a great way to attract new customers and retain existing footfall, as well as save money.

There are statistics to support the reasons why wholesalers should focus on sustainability. One third of shoppers, 33% (Unilever international research) are now choosing to buy from brands that they believe are doing social or environmental good, and 92% (The Innovation Group) of consumers say sustainable business practices should now be standard.

“But it can be difficult for store owners to know where to start on the broad and varied topic of sustainability,” adds Gouldsmith.

To help show wholesalers what is possible SBF has teamed up with Energy Saving Trust and Derbyshire retailer Amit Patel on a major project to show how small changes can make a big difference in making stores more environmentally and financially sustainable.

SBF started by identifying three immediate simple improvements. The company replaced Amit’s heater with a new halogen one; installed a new door-closing mechanism to ensure the front door keeps heat in; and replaced the TV screen he uses to monitor his CCTV.

To give an example of the impact of just one of those changes: if the UK’s 46,388 convenience stores all introduced more energy efficient screens, it could result in astonishing total savings across the channel of up to £3.7M per year.

From there, SBF worked with Amit to make further changes that have had impacts in a variety of ways.

SBF replaced his old tube lighting and installed two new passive infrared (PIR) sensors for Amit’s storeroom – meaning the lights in those rooms only come on when they sense movement, further helping reduce energy use.

The company replaced Amit’s old chillers with newer, energy-efficient models, and introduced new shelving in Amit’s storeroom, helping him better organise his stock and reduce his trips to the cash and carry. This reduces Amit’s CO2 emissions, as well as saving him £42 per year.

Finally, to help keep Amit’s staff focused on sustainability, SBF created temperature check sheets and daily checklists. The company also installed simple POS to let his customers know about his sustainability improvements, aiming to inspire them to make their own simple changes.

Speaking after the introduction of the final changes, Amit Patel said: “This whole project has been brilliant and the difference to my store is astonishing. The lights and fridges look brilliant and I can already see the impact, and the reduction in journeys I have to make to the cash & carry is proving really valuable.”

The in-store sustainability project with Amit is just the start. Over this year SBF GB&I will work with other wholesalers to inspire them to make their own small changes in store.

To find out more information on Amit’s project, follow SBF on Twitter at @SuntoryBF_GBI.


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