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Data is the Key to Improving Sustainability in Retail & CPG

Data is the Key to Improving Sustainability in Retail & CPG
Even in the midst of the disruption caused by the global pandemic, consumers continue to place more and more emphasis on the sustainability credentials of those they choose to shop with, and what products they buy. Recent research shows 72 percent of consumers across 20 countries believe that sustainable shopping has become even more important due to COVID. Thirty-nine per cent rate it as among their top three purchasing concerns. Retailers and CPGs must ensure that their post-pandemic recovery is a green recovery. The time for strategies and mission statement commitments has passed, consumers now want to see concrete actions and real change. All delivered in a way that still supports growth and the essential digitisation of their businesses.

Data IS key

Data has always been crucial to sustainability efforts - you can only manage what you can measure as the aphorism goes. Fortunately, although complicated, it’s possible to measure virtually every aspect in a Retailers or CPGs value-chain with regards to the impact on the environment. Direct energy usage both in store and in warehouses, CO2 emissions from supply-chain and manufacturing, procurement of resources impact, and levels of recycling can all be easily measured. Now with emerging technologies, even more granular data can be extracted and used. The WEF estimates that over the last five years IoT solutions alone have helped food retailers reduce CO2 emissions by over 2 million tonnes. Accenture has described it the ‘Datafication of Sustainability’, underlining the central role data plays in identifying, measuring and managing environmental impacts.

Scope, speed and scale are essential

The problem lies not so much in accessing the data, but in analysing it at the speed and scale required to make meaningful and timely changes. Granular data from thousands of devices, facilities, processes and locations can quickly become overwhelming. Worse, most of that data currently sits in a myriad of fragmented data silos scattered across the business and up and down the supply chain. It is also very diverse, from gCO2/km for distribution, to kilowatt hours consumed by facilities, to energy consumed for every degree of cooling used. Therefore, although in principle measuring CO2 emissions across the business is possible, in reality it requires a consistent, organisation wide approach to data. Juggling individual spreadsheets, or manually integrating data from different databases is no longer a viable solution.

An enterprise data platform such as Teradata Vantage is the necessary foundation for the fast, structured, granular data and analytics needed to effectively manage your sustainability strategy. Enabling you to not only makes great promises, but to deliver real and significant environmental change. Removing silos and ensuring a single integrated view of all relevant data helps ensure that the environmental gains in one area are not offset by increased emissions somewhere else. Only with a single view can Retail & CPG leaders ensure that they are truly making reductions, and not simply ‘squeezing the balloon’ to create bulges in other areas of the business.

Credible, AND auditable, Insights

You need consistent, auditable and reliable data as the essential ingredients to internally monitor and report on sustainability goals, but also as the basis for transparent and relevant external communications with customers. Consumers are increasingly wary of unsubstantiated claims around sustainability initiatives, and want to see real, hard data on progress to change their purchasing patterns. Clear, credible proof-points are what’s needed to fuel marketing communications and either win, or simply retain, these customers.

The Retailer & CPGs of the future will be leveraging this enterprise-wide data platform to not only monitor environmental performance, but to proactively spot areas where short and medium-term actions are needed and understand which investments should be made to deliver the best profitable sustainability return. Retailers and CPGs face strong headwinds on many fronts, so it’s increasingly essential to combine both actions on sustainability with decisions that meet other strategic goals, in order to continue to grow the business. Using data and analytics to model and predict the broad impact of specific measures, and to successfully map the complex interactions each decision has on the environment, will become more and more vital as the speed, variety and volume of data increases. Automating decisions based on trusted data, and using repeatable, reusable and robust analytics models, will transform ESG compliance from a resource-hungry chore, to a opportunity creating differentiator.

An inflection point

In light of these emerging demands and the ‘datafication of sustainability’, Teradata is not only adding data driven sustainability initiatives to support our customers across multiple Industries and departments, but we are creating specialist approaches that allow Retailers and CPGs to integrate, analyse and automate decisions on CO2 emissions and other key metrics at an enterprise level. We believe that companies are now at a key inflection point. To progress and meet the demands of staff and consumers, as well as increasing scrutiny from regulators, public authorities and investors, they need integrated and automated data analytics at the heart of all of their sustainability initiatives. Moving from aspirations and frameworks, through measures and KPIs, towards genuinely data-driven decision-making around environmental impact issues, the Retailer & CPG of the future will need increasingly real-time, granular, integrated data. Piecemeal, department-level point solutions will not deliver the transparency needed to deliver the changes required. Now is the time to proactively design data driven approaches that can truly put sustainability at the heart of your business.

To find out more about how we can help you, please get in touch with our Retail and CPG consultants.
Portrait of Chris Newbery

(Author):
Chris Newbery

Chris Newbery leads the Retail & CPG Industry Consulting practice for EMEA. Working with major global Retailers & CPG's to deliver high value business outcomes, strategy and thought leadership to achieve Architecture, Advanced Data & Analytics, Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Finance, Marketing & Commercial excellence, through Teradata's software, services, consulting and partnerships. Before joining Teradata, Chris has driven growth for leading Retailers and global CPG's since 1998, with a cross-functional background having worked in Consulting, Customer, Marketing, Digital, Operations, Commercial & Merchandising roles, across all online and offline distribution channels, in multiple countries. View all posts by Chris Newbery
Portrait of Paul Taylor

(Author):
Paul Taylor

Paul has over 20 years of experience in the aerospace and automotive industries. His career started at Rolls-Royce Aero Engines in manufacturing and engineering, broadening his experience through a series of customer facing, programme management and business orientated roles before moving into supply chain. Most recently Paul has worked with Jaguar Land Rover to manage their Connected Supply Chain programme. This programme aimed to drive a step change in how the OEM collaborates with its suppliers, to optimise inventory levels and to provide visibility, tracking and issue alerting for long distance supply chains. 

Paul has a degree in Aerospace Manufacturing Engineering from the University of the West of England. 

He has a passion for motorsport, in particular MotoGP, and has built a replica AC Cobra kit car which he now enjoys driving whenever time and the weather allow. View all posts by Paul Taylor

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