Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has released the final findings from its industry research partnership with Cranfield University; entitled Sustainable Manufacturing for the Future.
The second white paper shares vision and roadmap for sustainable manufacturing, offering a picture of what the ‘factory of the future’ may look like in Great Britain by 2050, alongside the challenges and opportunities to be addressed in order to achieve rapid and fundamental change.
Taking into account the findings of the research, CCE has launched a £56m operational investment plan, accelerating its journey towards sustainability in Great Britain, and increasing its total investment to £356m since 2010.
CCE’s partnership with Cranfield University began in March 2015, with a roundtable event, attended by leading academics and industry experts.
This resulted in a first white paper identifying six key themes that the industry would need to address in the coming years – People; Big Data; Technology; Collaboration; Value, and Resilience.
These themes set the agenda for the partnership’s next phase of research.
Published today, the research has uncovered five pathways and a number of key actions that will lead the food and drink industry towards its vision of sustainable manufacturing, including anticipating the future; providing nutrition; sharing the benefits; inspiring the next generation, and joining forces.
The five pathways to sustainable manufacturing
- Anticipating the future:
In the future, manufacturers’ use of big data and the Internet of Things will increasingly help to assure quality and address resource productivity – improving efficiency across the whole supply chain. Technology and analytics will facilitate greater real-time visibility, with innovations such as pervasive sensors giving rise to ‘smart’ operations from ‘farm to fork’, supporting the balance between supply and demand.
It is recommended that the food and drink industry shares more information with customers, using rich data to optimise production processes.
- Providing nutrition:
In the future, the food and drink industry will continue to face greater scrutiny in all aspects of business, from ingredients used to the ethics of food labelling and animal welfare. ‘Smart’ ingredients will emerge, with the potential to replace or alter other content such as sugar, fat and salt.
It is recommended that the food and drink industry continues its efforts to offer new services that focus on delivering broad value to customers, increasing emphasis on personalisation and nutrition. Using more local resources and improving efficiency with real-time monitoring technologies will also help to eliminate waste.
- Sharing the benefits:
In the future, increased industry collaboration is expected to emerge, from co-creating new products to sharing intellectual property (IP).
It is recommended that the food and drink industry works to engage society when creating products, with shared IP and open innovation used as a way to protect the environment. Large food and drink companies must show leadership and proactively engage with consumers to deliver against their needs.
- Inspiring the next generation:
In the future, the skills gap will continue to grow as a generation of experienced employees retire. Despite an increased use of automation and other technology, people will remain vital to tackling the challenges of sustainability.
It is recommended that the food and drink industry does more to integrate with schools and universities, reaching learners as early as possible. Ethics was identified as a common concern among young people so businesses must demonstrate the role industry can play in addressing core societal challenges, e.g. tackling climate change, food supply and energy security.
- Joining forces:
In the future, the way value and leadership is understood will change dramatically as companies join forces with customers, with society and with each other. This will become accepted as the only way to grow positively whilst reducing footprint.
It is recommended that food and drink manufacturers become key agents of change, using their insight to help educate and strengthen different aspects of the value chain and society on how to achieve positive environmental impact.