Sobeys' sustainability journey started with a focus on our direct operations and those activities or factors over which we have direct control. As the infrastructure to achieve our sustainability goals has been established and many of the highest-impact initiatives launched, we have expanded our focus to include our supply chain. It is important to recognize that our supply chain is responsible for 80% to 90% of the cumulative environmental footprint made by bringing a product to our shelves. For this reason, we are implementing initiatives related to ethical/sustainable sourcing, packaging and seafood to improve the sustainability in our supply chains.
To help us establish the baseline of our suppliers' sustainability practices, including social compliance, sustainable packaging and reducing energy and water use, we commissioned a survey of a sample of our private label suppliers.
Conducted by a group of students in the Masters of Environmental Studies program at the University of Western Ontario, the quantitative and qualitative insights gathered from the survey were instrumental in helping us engage and direct our suppliers toward greater sustainability. Examples of our actions include hosting a National Sustainable Seafood Summit meeting for over 150 of our suppliers to help educate them on sustainability issues, our activation plan and their role, participating in the pilot of the Global Packaging Project to better understand our suppliers' awareness of packaging sustainability issues, and providing selected suppliers with a sustainability packaging tool to help them with improved decisions on a package-by-package basis.