X5 publishes sustainable packaging recommendations for suppliers

X5 Retail Group, a leading Russian food retailer, has developed and published comprehensive sustainable packaging recommendations on 13 product categories in consultation with manufacturers, suppliers, industry associations and the expert community. The recommendations rely on the barrier properties of materials and other product specifics.

When drafting its recommendations, the Company held discussions with the suppliers of all 13 product categories[1] and considered the opinions of the expert community, including industry non-profits, packaging manufacturers and waste management companies. In total, X5 received feedback from 23 suppliers and 16 experts. On 3 March, the Company held a public discussion attended by over 100 stakeholder representatives.

The document contains detailed recommendations covering three aspects of packaging – design, materials and information (including labelling, customer and employee education) – and takes into account existing legislation, as well as the technology and infrastructure available in Russia. X5 has published the document on its website and will shortly inform partners and suppliers of the new recommendations, as well as update the training course for X5 suppliers and employees in the procurement function. The recommendations are not mandatory, but X5 will support and promote the technology and products of the vendors who choose to implement them. In 2020, X5 published general sustainability recommendations for suppliers.

Igor Shekhterman, CEO of X5 Retail Group, commented, “Reducing the amount of packaging sent to landfills and promoting recycling are major environmental challenges faced by FMCG and retail companies. Our comprehensive packaging recommendations are the result of a collaborative effort that will support suppliers of our products, packaging and materials as they work to meet the growing consumer demand for responsible packaging. We are grateful to everyone who contributed to these guidelines. Following the principles of partnership and free information exchange for the sake of global sustainable development, X5 encourages suppliers, partners, NGOs, industry associations and other retailers to freely use the X5 Sustainable Packaging Recommendations in their packaging production and management, and invites all stakeholders to continue the dialogue to improve the Recommendations.”

Ivan Kukhnin, Partner and Head of Sustainability Services at Deloitte CIS, noted, “Supplier relations at X5 illustrate how large businesses involve their partners in the decision-making process and share the message that sustainable development is crucial along the entire supply chain. It is important that the recommendations are regularly updated to reflect changes in technology or infrastructure.”

Maxim Remchukov, Sustainable Development Director at SIBUR, said “SIBUR approves of X5’s initiative and recognises its potential to drive further change in the Russian retail market on its path to a sustainable future. Recommendations for suppliers should be an easily adaptable, flexible document, which is regularly updated in response to the sustainability agenda and developments in waste management in Russia. We are happy to continue our cooperation with X5 and share our expertise.”

Irina Zhukova, Director for Sustainable Development and Corporate Programmes at Philip Morris International, commented, “Sustainable development goals cannot be achieved outside of an effective partnership. The initiative of Х5 Retail Group to develop sustainable packaging recommendations for suppliers is a perfect example of meaningful collaboration, and we are thankful to the Company for the constructive and useful dialogue focused on the recommendations. We are confident that our joint efforts will make the world a better place.”

Dmitry Nesterov, an expert with Zero Waste Project, said, “For the first time in Russia, a large retailer has advised its suppliers against using disposable plastic packaging for their fruit, vegetables and other products and replace it with easily recyclable packaging. We hope these recommendations will become mandatory in the future. The next step might be a gradual transition to reusable packaging, where possible.

[1] Beverages, eggs, fruit and vegetables, grocery (excluding sauces, honey, jam and oil), grocery (sauces, honey, jam and oil), canned foods, non-food, dairy products, household chemicals and care products, frozen foods, pet foods, tobacco products and accessories, fresh meat, fish, and cheese.

Written by Kevin Gambrill

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