Brakes Group has committed to support FareShare, the food charity for the poor and vulnerable. And there is a double feel good factor for the company doing good for others is also cutting the companys carbon footprint.
Brakes Group, working in partnership with FareShare, the UKs only national food charity, and a number of other local charitable organisations, has developed a national platform to provide quality meals for the most vulnerable people in our society.
The food, which historically would have gone to landfill as it had passed Brakes exacting minimum shelf life to customer requirements, although still in date, now provides healthy and nutritious meals for over 30,000 people a month which Brakes expects to grow to nearly 1 million meals per annum by 2011. FareShare is at the centre of two of the most pressing issues facing the UK today food poverty and food waste. The charity, which was launched in 2004 and promotes the message No Good Food Should Be Wasted, addresses these issues in three ways: It provides quality food surplus fit for purpose product from the food and drink industry to organisations working with disadvantaged people in the community; it provides training and education around the essential life skills of safe food preparation and nutrition; and warehouse employability training through FareShares Eat Well Live Well programme.
At the same time distribution of food by FareShare minimises surplus food going to landfill. This redistribution of food helped businesses reduce CO2 emissions by 13,950 tonnes in 2008/09. Last year, the food redistributed by the charity contributed towards 7.4 million meals for vulnerable people. The charity runs 12 operations across the country and every day 29,000 people benefit from the FareShare service. The thirteenth FareShare depot has just opened in Liverpool.
Trevor Brenchley, Head of Supply Chain at Brakes takes up the story: Last year Brakes disposed of 5,500 tonnes of product via landfill, with our current double digit sales growth in short shelf life ranges continuing to drive this upwards. While we achieve industry-leading waste targets where, for example, our waste on fresh produce represents 0.2 per cent of turnover for this category, it is far too easy to see this as a small number which takes on a whole different meaning if you convert it to number of meals.
Brakes and FareShare have had an ad-hoc relationship for several years as a key part of Brakes overall CSR strategy. However following a visit by members of the senior Product Supply Team to take part in one of FareShares volunteer days, opportunities to take the relationship to a new level were identified.
Consequently, Brakes and FareShare formed a joint working party with senior sponsorship from both organisations. The team then developed the basis for a trial which consisted of linking product flows from Brakes two chilled food national distribution centres to FareShare depots in Sunderland and Bermondsey via the Brakes sites at Durham and Park Royal. The specific focus product areas for the trial were agreed as fresh produce and chilled meat as both FareShare locations had been struggling to obtain sufficient volume for these two categories.
The team also engaged local management on both sides as it was felt that in order for the trial to be a success and for the future relationship to be sustainable, it was vital that local links were strong (see map).
We developed a detailed process flow which enabled the FareShare stock movement to be incorporated into the normal daily activity at the depot. This was key to ensure that as far as possible the link to FareShare was not seen as another task by depot personnel. It was also vitally important to both parties that all movement of stock between the Brakes and FareShare depots was carried out using the most sustainable route possible, says Brenchley.
With all these measures in place, go live day saw Brakes moving chilled products from our NDC in Grantham, produce from our NDC site in Corby. The product is moved through our network at night, into the Brakes regional depot to be delivered on our secondary fleet or collected by the local FareShare site. Frozen and ambient products are donated from the local Brakes site.
Over many years Brakes has invested in systems and processes to ensure that it has the best range of products on hand when the customer needs them. However, to achieve service levels in excess of 99.8 per cent at time of order it is impossible not to have some excess stock within the supply chain. Historically this stock would have simply gone to waste and in most cases ended up either being rendered or going direct to landfill, says Brenchley. In working with FareShare we believe that we now have a way to both reduce the waste impact on both a social and commercial level but most importantly the product that goes into the FareShare supply chain ends up being used in the way it was designed to feed people.
Fitting the movement of the product from an NDC to a regional depot in our own current structure not only reduced the cost but it has become part of the daily/ weekly routine. The process works well for FareShare and Brakes due to the simplicity of the process: the FareShare depot has a local relationship with the local Brakes depot. We also link in with ACM, our waste management partner, which is providing the required data to measure the impact on our overall tonnage of product going to landfill, says Brenchley. Tony Lowe, CEO of FareShare says: We are very pleased with the recent development in our partnership with Brakes. The food provided really makes a difference: from prepared vegetables and fruit to meat products, this is exactly the kind of food that our Community Members really need. Not only is it of a high quality, it also enables them to provide nutritious meals to their clients – vulnerable people in real need of a healthy diet. Its great to see this food be put to good use and we hope that the relationship with Brakes will continue to flourish so that we can deliver this great food to even more people across the country. We are currently working with them to develop the partnership further and investigating other ways Brakes can be involved to support FareShares work to support communities to relieve food poverty.
FIRST QUARTER RESULTS TO MARCH 2010
FareShare Sunderland depot received 2.426T of food.
FareShare Bermondsey depot received 5.321T of food. This totals 7.74 tonnes. This is equivalent to 18,429 meals. The cost of stock to Brakes for the write off of this stock was £9k The reduction in landfill costs to Brakes for this was £0.8k In April the stock value of donations by Brakes increased to £32k and the landfill cost reduction was £2.8k
Full Year 2010 (estimate)
On this basis Brakes and FareShare estimate the full year 2010 final numbers to read: Total donation (tonnage) – 250T Equivalent meals – 600k
Landfill cost reduction – £23,000
Brakes measures tonnage / product cost / waste reduction cost on a monthly basis
FareShare measures tonnage and meals equivalent on a quarterly basis
As Footprint goes to press, we only have actual data for Q1/March and April 2010, therefore all annual numbers are based on this and a run-rate normalised across the now agreed depot to depot roll-out plan. Further updates will be available from FareShare in June 2010.