The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has launched a free sustainable sourcing guide to help UK food businesses tackle risks within the supply chain.

The new guide, entitled Sunstainable Sourcing – Five Steps Towards Managing Supply Chain Risk, aims to offer key advice to small and large-sized companies on areas such as raw ingredients, packaging, water and energy usage.

Developed by the FDF’s Sustainability Steering Group, the sustainability guide encourages business owners to look at the supply chain on an individual product basis, looking at key ingredients, who supplies them and the source of materials. Further steps identify impacts, risks and opportunities, assess and prioritise findings, as well as creating an action plan.

David Bellamy, environment and policy manager at the FDF, said: “It’s one of our key deliverables this year and it has been put together to address what we perceive are a number of global threats, as well as in response to increasing consumer demand for sustainably produced products.

“We started from the basis that we wanted a simple and practical guide to give to our members, applicable to all sizes of company, as well as addressing sustainable sourcing from a risk-based perspective. During the process that the guide takes you through, it encourages businesses to work with their suppliers and understand the risks involved in their supply chains.”

Talking about the commercial benefits that the new guide could bring to businesses, Ian Bowles, group head of sustainability at Premier Foods, told British Baker: “There are a series of financial metrics around our business to ensure sustainability in everything we do. In regards to our own programme at Premier Foods delivering bottom-line commercial benefits to the business, yes absolutely. With the environmental KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that were set for 2007 for things like energy, waste and water, reductions have been very significant.

“For instance, from 2007 to 2011, we reduced waste to landfill by 82%. A number of our 40 UK sites are now zero waste to landfill sites, and where waste would appear as a cost centre, we are now transforming it into a revenue centre. So by segregating our waste more effectively, we are making money from it by selling it as things such as animal feed, or improving recyclables leaving sites, instead of keeping them mixed. In the round, sustainability does deliver some commercial benefits to businesses.”

Andrew Kuyk, FDF director of sustainability, added that a key aim of this new guide was to help reduce the numbers of environmental impacts in the food sector while increasing manufacturing output.

The FDF said that, in 2013, it will be launching a number of interactive tools on its website, along with further individual information for both small and large businesses, to support the new sustainability guide.