Evolving the journey: putting your carbon footprint at the top of the agenda
Consumers are thrilled by the speed and flexibility of e-commerce. But the proliferation of new retail channels and choices is changing their purchasing behaviour, and ultimately, that’s taking its toll on the environment. With next-day, same-day and one-hour delivery options starting to be commonplace with many retailers, consumers are fast becoming used to getting their chosen product not just quickly, but almost instantly.
At the same time, consumers are placing greater emphasis on the sustainability efforts of their favourite retailers. In fact, a third of consumers are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good. That’s a large proportion of the customer base that a retailer risks losing if they don’t meet this expectation. The good news is that retailers across the world are recognising this and starting to step up with commitments to address the sustainable agenda. But are they doing enough?
With the battle moving to the supply chain and concerns growing around air pollution and greenhouse gases, brands now have a responsibility to reduce their carbon emission levels and drive the creation of the green supply chain.
Independents vs retail giants
Independent retailers are currently rising above the competition when it comes to low carbon emissions. Transport is the second highest emitter of greenhouse gases, therefore the independents who have shorter product journeys will naturally have a smaller carbon footprint. It isn’t as easy for the retail giants. With longer journeys, more players in the supply chain and bigger product ranges to contend with, retail giants have a harder time of reducing their carbon footprint. But it certainly is possible.
Packaging should be at the top of every retailer’s list when it comes to making strides towards sustainability. A strategic approach to transit packaging that optimises carton, pallet and container fill will not only reduce packaging costs, with higher standards enforced, but it will also decrease shipping costs as a result of better container utilisation, with less empty space being shipped. Not only does this reduce the number of journeys that need to be made, but it will also enable more efficient use of DC space. Ultimately though, a strategic approach to packaging reduces waste and therefore improves the carbon footprint, putting retail giants one step closer to meeting their sustainability goals.
Many large retailers have already seen success in this area too, with effective changes to their packaging compliance resulting in huge reductions in the number of different packaging types used, and consequently the reduction in the amount of containers and DC space required. The retailers that are serious about reducing their carbon footprint have the tools at their disposal to make it happen, with simple changes making a world of difference to carbon-conscious consumers.
Shouting about success
At the start of this year, ALDI claimed it was the first grocer in the UK to be carbon-neutral, detailing that it had cut greenhouse gas emissions per square metre of sales floor space by 53% since 2012. That’s a big statement to make, but it shows ALDI’s commitment to make changes that have resulted in extremely positive outcomes. The fact is that changes are being made, but few retailers are shouting about their behind-the-scenes success, leaving the issue of reducing carbon footprint still far lower than it should be on the retail agenda. The lack of visibility for consumers is weakening the message and hindering their ability to trust the brand, so whilst retailers must ensure that first and foremost they are making sustainable changes for the right reasons, they also need to make sure they are letting consumers know what is really happening.
Simple changes to packaging will show consumers that the retailer is making an effort; for example, if a retailer can confidently say in its marketing materials that all items from one brand are being shipped into the store using 50% less packaging, every carbon-conscious consumer would know that steps are being taken and be more likely to buy from the retailer as a result.
Making a change
The potential is huge, but retailers must realise that the smallest changes can have the biggest impact. What’s important is for retailers to make these changes and then shout about it from the rooftops, moving carbon footprint to the top of the agenda and creating an ecosystem of retailers working towards a common goal to turn sustainability from talk to action.
By David Griffiths, Senior Product Marketing & Strategy Manager, Adjuno
Seo JungJin: Who is EY’s World Entrepreneur of 2021?
Seo JungJin, founder of biopharma firm Celltrion, which most recently developed an antibody treatment for COVID-19, has been named the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year 2021, becoming the first South Korean in the award’s 21-year history.
Regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year celebrates visionary and innovative leaders from across 60 countries who are transforming the world and fostering growth.
JungJin, who is now honoroary chairman of Celltrion Group, was up against a worthy cast of entrepreneurial competitors, taking the crown from among 45 award winners across 38 countries and territories.
Speaking during the virtual event, JungJin described his own interpretation of entrepreneurship as something that brings together “a group of people toward a common vision, embracing challenges as opportunities and committing oneself to contribute to the greater good”.
Why was JungJin crowned King Entrepreneur?
A South Korean native and now 63 years of age, JungJin founded biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion in 2003. In the nearly two decades since its founding, Celltrion has lived up to its goal of advancing health and welfare for all by developing ground-breaking drugs to treat autoimmune disease, various forms of cancer and, most recently, COVID-19.
The company, which JungJin started with just US$45,000 and five of his colleagues, has since growth to more than 2,1000 employees with sales permits in more than 90 countries and revenues exceeding US$1.69bn.
According to the panel, JungJin’s story is a shining example of the power of an unstoppable entrepreneur to change the world with the pandel moved by both his incredible story and his purpose-driven leadership, innovative mindset and entrepreneurial spirit.
Described by the chair of the EY judging panel Rosaleen Blair as “representing everything an unstoppable should be” from taking on the world’s biggest health care challenges to consistently creating long-term value for his company, JungJin’s story is one of incredible tenacity and perseverance that the judging panel felt most represented the entrepreneurial spirit.
“He’s taken breathtaking risks, both personal and professional, to found Celltrion and grow it into one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies,” says Stasia Mitchell, EY Global Entrepreneurship Leader. “His passion for creating affordable, life-saving health care and flair for tackling global problems has led to many treatments that have helped millions of people worldwide and was especially evident this past year through the creation of a COVID-19 antibody treatment.”
How did JungJin get there?
JungJin's entrepreneurial journey started at an early age when he worked as a taxi driver to get himself through Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea. After studying industrial engineering, he rose through the ranks of Daewoo Motor Co. before losing his job amid the carmaker’s financial troubles following the 1997 Asian economic crisis.
Following this, JungJin started collaborating with colleagues to explore business opportunities in different industries, though none delivered lasting success. The turning point came after he attended a talk hosted by renowned scholars, which inspired him to focus on the biopharmaceutical sector.
And so he founded Celltrion with just US$45,000 of his savings. The launch of Remsima, credited with being the world's first antibody biosimilar, quickly moved Celltrion up the ranks of the country's fairly underdeveloped pharmaceutical sector. Celltrion followed this success with the launch of drugs for breast cancer and lymphoma that today are being used worldwide.
With ambitions to be the world’s first in different areas, Celltrion has pioneered numerous uncharted areas to great success over the past two decades, most recently responding to the global pandemic by successfully developing an antibody treatment for COVID-19 and working to ensure a timely supply of the safe and effective treatment.
“When I first started, my vision was to help patients gain access to safe, effective and affordable medicines and thereby enhance the quality of people’s lives,” explains JungJin. “The success of Celltrion has enabled me to expand on this while finding new ways to fuel my entrepreneurial drive.”