JTI UK’s guide on how to become a sustainable wholesaler – Part 1: Energy

Paul Hill recently spoke to JTI UK about its work within the wholesale sector and in particular its focus on sustainability. Alongside its own efforts to globally become carbon neutral by 2030 and Net Zero by 2050, JTI UK has been supporting wholesalers to implement sustainable practices and has conducted a number of projects with wholesalers across the UK over the past 18 months.

The aim throughout this series is to help wholesalers in four key areas within sustainability: Energy, Waste Management, Transport, and Social & Ethical performance. JTI UK will be sharing its knowledge on all four and with that will come actionable advice and information that wholesalers will be able to take and implement within their operations.

For part 1 of the series, JTI UK, as well as the Scottish Wholesale Association will support wholesalers on energy; advising wholesalers on the key actions they can implement within their businesses, relating to lighting and heating, refrigeration, alternative energy sources and water usage.

There is a huge appetite for change in the industry, with a recent JTI UK wholesaler survey on sustainability finding that 93% of wholesalers view sustainability as a priority for their business and want more support from suppliers. It also concluded that the most popular sustainability initiatives currently being carried out by wholesalers are recycling (98.1%) and energy saving measures (94.3%).

Energy savings are the bread and butter of any sustainability plan. Once a wholesale operation has re-evaluated and managed its energy sources in a more sustainable way, it will allow the business to continue on a greener path and implement more changes.

As the UK’s leading total tobacco company, JTI UK is committed to environmental sustainability, having pledged a global target to become carbon neutral by 2030 and Net Zero by 2050.

JTI UK supports the sustainability efforts of its wholesale customers, and one area of focus is minimising energy use and reducing emissions. We’re keen to help wholesalers on their sustainability journey and encourage them to adopt sustainable business practices, from  monitoring air conditioning usage and ventilation to installing energy efficient lighting.

As well as helping wholesalers reduce monthly outgoings, being more sustainable also attracts customers that are environmentally conscious.

A 2021 JTI UK wholesaler survey on sustainability found that:

  • Only 7% of wholesalers said sustainability wasn’t a priority for their business.

  • 93% of wholesalers want more support from suppliers on sustainability.

  • The most popular sustainability initiatives currently being carried out by wholesalers are recycling (98.1%) and energy saving measures (94.3%).

JTI UK’s three tips for being more sustainable through energy sources:

Gather employee suggestions – A company-wide survey is a great way to gather common sense suggestions from the people who know your operation best.
Make the switch – Replace light switches with motion sensors and install LED lightbulbs and display screens in-depot.
Consider renewable generation – Consider the return on investment if you have solar panels installed.

Three challenges wholesalers face through energy sources:

Changing regulation – Make sure you’re up to date with the latest legislation.
Re-evaluation – Keep checking your energy sources for potential improvements.
Supply chain – Check your suppliers hold the same sustainable values as your business.

JTI UK expert viewpoint: 

Ruth Forbes, sustainability director, JTI UK

“Here at JTI UK, we are committed to identifying, understanding and reducing the environmental impact of our business activities. We also understand how important it is to support wholesalers as they become more sustainable.

It has never been more important for companies to think and act sustainably, not just for the good of the industry, but for society. It’s not only wholesalers who need to act responsibly – businesses across the sector also need to reduce energy consumption and implement sustainable business practices. Ultimately, the industry needs to work together so that we can make the necessary changes, improving sustainability and preserving natural resources.

Having launched our own UK Environmental Plan and pledged to reach Net Zero globally by 2050, we want to lead the way in helping the industry become more sustainable one step at a time.”

Industry expert viewpoint:

Ylva Haglund, head of sustainability, Scottish Wholesale Association

“The Scottish Wholesale Association supports the Scottish Government’s ambition for Scotland to be carbon net zero by 2045 and is committed to being part of delivering a thriving sustainable economy. Ensuring that our sector is using energy efficiently is a crucial step on the wholesale net-zero journey and provides an opportunity for members to remain competitive during this time of increasing costs to the sector.

As part of our Decarbonising of the Wholesale Industry project, the SWA will work with members and carbon reduction specialists to establish a baseline on energy usage and associated carbon emissions from our buildings, including chilled and frozen storage facilities. Understanding our starting point as a sector will then allow us to explore opportunities and solutions for reducing energy use, increasing sustainability.

To assist with this phase of the project we are currently in discussions with potential partners who can provide data insight to our members, to help analyse and reduce their energy and fuel usage and costs, among other operational overheads. We also look forward to continuing our partnership with the Energy Savings Trust, which has provided energy audits to members via its Business Energy support and advice service.

The soaring energy costs to businesses, and the cost of energy usage to our planet – use of fossil fuel is the number one contributor to climate change – makes energy efficiency an urgent concern, and we look forward to working with members, JTI UK and other partners to address it.”

For more information on what JTI UK is doing to improve its environmental sustainability, wholesalers can talk to their JTI UK Business Adviser or visit www.jti.com/europe/united-kingdom/sustainability.

For more information on the Scottish Wholesale Association, and its work on sustainability, visit www.scottishwholesale.co.uk/services/sustainability/


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Paul Hill is the Editor of Better Wholesaling. He can be found on Twitter at @BW_PaulHill, or contacted via paul.hill@newtrade.co.uk and 07960935659.


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