Summit calls for greater Supply Chain efficiencies
A summit held last week on the nature of sustainable foods in the modern environment has called for greater efficiency in the food supply chain as one of the key attainable goals of the coming years.
The third North American edition of the Sustainable Foods Summit, hosted in San Francisco, has pledged that more needs to be done to ensure efficiencies in food supply chains. The summit brought together over 160 senior executives from the food industry. A number of speakers highlighted the inefficiencies in food production, distribution and consumption.
The growing move towards locally grown food is increasing the number of community supported agriculture projects in the US. In her paper, Liz Young from Local Harvest highlighted the positive impact such projects can have on farmers and local communities. The pro-GM labelling movement is also gaining ground in the US. According to the Non-GMO Project, prop 37 did not pass in California because of low funding and consumer confusion. However, Courtney Pineau believes the proposed bill has propelled the ‘Right to Know’ movement, with a rise in campaigning expected this year.
The impact of new technologies on the sustainable development of the food industry was the subject of the final session. James Clark, founder of Room 214, explained that consumers are becoming more connected to each other by social media, yet less connected to the environment. Describing this as the ‘dark side of social media’, he encouraged more transparency in social media communications for sustainable products. Other papers covered mobile communications, online distribution, novel production methods, and food authentication tools. In light of the growing number of fraud cases in the food industry, Global ID described the use of chemical fingerprinting to detect food origins, species and quality.
The 3rd North American edition of the summit covered a wide and diverse range of subjects on sustainability and eco-labeling in the food industry. Many new questions have emerged from the summit: What practical methods can make the food industry more efficient? What steps can be taken to improve infrastructure for landfill diversion and / or food recovery programs? What can be done to encourage innovation from food waste and food by-products so there are zero-waste systems? How will new technologies impact eco-labels and supply chains in the coming years? Will eco-labels continue to proliferate or will there be some rationalization? Such questions will be addressed in upcoming editions of the Sustainable Foods Summit.
DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.
This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go.
With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”.
Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats.
In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.
“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”.
How Do We Sustain Immunisation?
By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”.
Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared.
Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.