JTI UK’s guide on how to become a sustainable wholesaler – Part 3: Transport

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 three of the series, JTI UK, as well as the Scottish Wholesale Association will support wholesalers on transport; advising wholesalers on the key actions they can implement within their businesses, relating to delivery vehicles, business travel and employee commutes.

There is a huge appetite for change in the industry, and transport is one of the key areas where change is easy to measure, relatively easy to implement and can add tangible benefit to a wholesaler’s sustainability credentials.

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.

A 2021 JTI UK wholesaler survey on sustainability found that:

  • 93% of wholesalers view sustainability as a priority for their business and want more support from suppliers

  • The most popular sustainability initiative currently being carried out by wholesalers is recycling (98.1%)

  • 64% of independent/convenience retailers want more sustainable Point of Sale Material (POSM).

JTI UK’s three tips for more sustainable transport solutions:

Maximise your fuel efficiency – whether it’s through switching your vehicles or training your drivers, targeting fuel efficiency will reduce your emissions and cut costs simultaneously.

Utilise cage deliveries – this will help avoid the use of wasteful single-use plastic in shrink wrapping.
Review order and delivery frequency – consider whether it is possible to hold more stock.

Three challenges wholesalers face on sustainable transport solutions:

Implementing driver training – it’s important to invest time ensuring drivers fully understand the benefits of fuel-efficient driving.

Cost of fleet upgrades – improving fuel efficiency requires investment but will save in the long-term.
Working with external stakeholders – make sure customers are fully aligned with any changes such as digital invoicing and cage deliveries.

JTI UK expert viewpoint:
Ruth Forbes, sustainability director, JTI UK

“It has never been more important for companies to think and act sustainably. Reducing environmental impact is important to everyone across our industry, and we’re keen to play our part.

Transport is an important area where sustainability improvements can be made, so we’ve invested in hybrid vehicles and charging points for our team of Business Advisers, who visit key accounts, wholesalers, and independent stores each day.

44% of our Business Adviser team now drive hybrid cars and by the end of 2023 this will reach 100%. From 2024, we plan to start transitioning our salesforce fleet to fully electric cars, which, by 2030, will save 776 tonnes of CO2e emissions per year. In 2022, we shared eco-driving tips with our Business Advisers and in 2023 we intend to roll out 1:1 eco-driver training to our salesforce. Our forthcoming UK HQ office move will also make it easier for employees to use public transport on a daily basis.

We want to help everyone across the sector make eco-friendly changes, including wholesalers. From cage deliveries to digital paperwork, every improvement is a step in the right direction.”

Ylva Haglund, head of sustainability, Scottish Wholesale Association

“The most challenging area in minimising the carbon footprint of wholesale operations is in our fleets. That’s why in 2021, when SWA launched its Decarbonisation of the Wholesale Industry project, our first priorities were the creation of a sector Fleet Emissions Baseline report and Emissions Reductions Roadmap.

This would help establish the way forward to net zero vehicle emissions for the Scottish wholesale industry fleet by 2045. The Roadmap provides information on the options available to the sector in tackling vehicle emissions, starting with improving fuel efficiency by reducing driving miles and more fuel-efficient driving, to options for alternative fuels.

To achieve these easier transition options, SWA have partnered with The Algorithm People and Auditel to help members optimise their vehicle use and route planning, review their vehicle decarbonisation strategy, cut carbon emissions, and save costs. In recognition of SWA’s work to date, in preparing the wholesale sector to meet emission reduction targets, SWA has been invited to join the Scottish Government’s new Zero Emission Truck Taskforce, comprised of industry leaders from the road haulage, logistics, manufacturing, energy, and finance sectors. Members of the group are working in partnership to explore opportunities and co-design creative solutions for zero-emission trucks in relation to technology, charging infrastructure, costs, and finance.

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