Why Small Businesses are Leading More Sustainable Supply Chains

What actually goes into your foods? And what impact does it have on the environment?

Interest in our food’s origins and environmental impact seems to be at an all-time high. A growing number of small and medium-sized businesses pride themselves on cleaner supply chains and provide full transparency over what goes into consumers’ bodies.

A recent study by Edelman found that trust in the food & drinks industry has been declining in recent years, with 25% of countries surveyed mentioning they don’t trust their governments to provide them with safe food options.

The most significant decline in trust between 2020 and 2021 was seen in the brewing industry, although makers of food additives remain the least trusted among consumers.

Greater consumer demand for transparency and accountability of firms is one of the main drivers behind the birth of new businesses challenging the status quo. 

One example is Switzerland-based vegan cooking kit provider VE Cook (although matching name, not associated with VE Refinery). VE Cook represents a new wave of new food ventures which have made it their mission to create a “more balanced world” by excluding any additives from their foods and keeping 100% transparency within their products.

Another example is Thomson and Scott Noughty organic alcohol free sparkling wines who champion truth and transparency.  As a company, Thomson & Scott is leading the way in demanding that the wine industry becomes more transparent about both its labelling and what goes into the bottle.

This new trend of business ventures has not gone unnoticed. Thomson and Scott Noughty have also been given B Corporation status, highlighting the balance of profits with purpose withthe aim of supporting people and the planet. More businesses are making an effort to represent the same values and make a positive impact in wider society.

Unfortunately, one of the most challenging parts of creating a fully green supply chain remains the packaging and shipping processes. Even when opting for fully recyclable and decomposable materials, it’s still not easy to avoid plastic use or CO2 emission when getting materials from the farms to a warehouse and onto the consumer’s dinner table.

So how do you deal with CO2 emissions and plastic usage when there are few suitable replacements available?

A standard solution is for companies and individuals to donate to organisations such as Almighty Tree Switzerland to offset C02 emissions and support the well-being of our ecosystem. Similarly, VE Cook sponsors initiatives in the countries most affected by plastic production, namely Indonesia and the Philippines, to help recycle and collect plastics before they reach the ocean. Thus, even when businesses cannot control all parts of their supply chain, they can make an effort to fund operations that support a cleaner environment.

To conclude, food safety and supply chain transparency have quickly become a buzzword in the food and drinks sector, so the question remains, will the industry adjust over the following years, and who will lead the change towards a more sustainable behaviour?

A lot comes down to consumer pressure, and small businesses have helped make those voices heard. While there may still be a long road ahead, a glint of hope is already shining on the horizons.