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Waste is all about the bottom line

There have been many column inches in other publications devoted to the proposed takeover of AstraZeneca by Pfizer. Most of it concerns the desirability of a foreign giant taking over a British giant and the consequent positions taken up by our major political parties.

That debate is not for these pages. But our interest was piqued by AstraZeneca’s appearance in new MRW research into how FTSE 100 companies tackle waste in their corporate and social responsibility (CSR) reports. We will be featuring the research in full in our next issue, kicking off a continuing theme to be called The Bottom Line, which will emphasise that a strong social or environmental strategy regarding such resources should also deliver lower costs and/or increased revenues.

AstraZeneca is in a select group on the FTSE list working closely with key suppliers on their own waste and has done so since 2011. Pfizer (not part of the research) also has ‘green’ targets, but says it will not be until the end of next year that it will seek such an impact on its own supply chain. Our report on CSRs in the 24 May issue will also include best practice case studies from those embracing resource efficiency.

The US may lag behind the UK in the specific example above, but we were impressed by the new Closed Loop Fund set up across the Atlantic and led by the business giant Walmart. Chief executives from more than a dozen suppliers to Walmart, including Kellogg, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble, have combined to invest $100m in recycling infrastructure projects and to prompt further private and public funding.

Again, the reason for the drive is economic: the companies came together because they jointly faced a supply problem as virgin raw materials get more expensive.

A Walmart statement said: “Recycling rates are stagnant, and we can’t get enough recycled material in packaging and products.” Again, it’s basically The Bottom Line.

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