Responsible Wholesaling
Environment, community and charity: how wholesale takes responsibility

FWD is proud of the commitment and innovation our members have shown in promoting more ethical, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly business practices for both their local and wider communities.

Our members have been making a positive impact through environmental policies, food waste reduction initiatives, charity work, and skills and training development programmes.

Environmental Policies

39 million tonnes of waste was sent to landfill in Britain in 2013, which while it’s a great deal less than the 100 million tonnes in 1997, still leaves a great deal of room for improvement from British businesses. Reducing waste and landfill has been a longstanding priority for our members, and this is reflected in their ever-increasing recycling rates. Our industry is dedicated to sustainability and we are proud of our achievements to date, while recognising that there’s more to be done.

Since 2011 the Bestway Group have added two new depots, expanded their Coventry depot, also opening a new chilled distribution centre. Despite this expansion, the company has lowered its carbon emissions by an estimated 22% since 2011. As a result they have been recertified under the rigorous Carbon Trust Standard for their continued commitment to reducing their greenhouse emissions.

To achieve this, Bestway Group has implemented a number of brilliant policies for reducing Carbon emissions.

These include:

  • Investing over £7,000,000 in more energy efficient lighting and refrigeration.
  • Installing solar panels to reduce emissions and improve running costs.
  • Refitting and purchasing new delivery vehicles to make them more carbon efficient. Modifications include VORTEX deflectors, carbon monitors and more.
  • Conducting LED lighting trials in their depots, to reduce power consumption.

As a result of these policies, since 2011 Bestway have managed to reduce their average gas use per site by 15.92% and their electricity use by 21.21% per site on average.

The plate2planet initiative started by Bidfood has been a real success story. Plate2planet aims to bring together people across our industry to collaborate on how food suppliers can reduce their environmental impact. An impressive group of companies have signed up for the initiative including FairTrade, McCain and Quorn.

Bidfood and their plate2planet partners celebrated a year since the initiative’s founding by holding a sustainability conference, ‘plate2planet Live’ in November 2016. Bidfood have been recognised for their efforts by being awarded a bronze award at the The Green Apple Best Environmental Practice Awards.

In 2017 Brakes became the first major business in London to adopt Shell’s Gas to Liquids (GTL) Fuel from Certas Energy, which is a cleaner-burning alternative to diesel for use in heavy-duty vehicles. In fact, GTL Fuel typically results in a 10-20% reduction in nitrous oxide and a 20-40% reduction in particulates compared to diesel.

A.F. Blakemore launched its own recycling centre in 2008, and have since then been constantly achieving higher recycling rates, year on year. A.F. Blakemore are now recycling a massive 95% of their total waste. Items recycled include cardboard, poly-plastics, aluminum, paper, glass and clothes.

A.F Blakemore also maintain a rigorous policy to reduce emissions and reduce fuel costs. They have improved their fuel efficiency through continual improvement on route planning, vehicle fill levels, fuel additives, fleet modifications and purchasing policies.  Their distribution drivers embark on in-house Safe and Fuel Efficient Driver (SAFED) training courses to help improve fuel efficiency and safe driving practices.

As a result of good environmental practices such as these, A.F Blakemore’s logistics, foodservice and Apex II depots have achieved ISO 14001 certification.

Booker Group has become the first company to hold four Carbon Trust Standard awards – recognising reductions in carbon emissions, waste output, water use and the achievement of zero waste to landfill status – at the same time.

The Group has reduced overall carbon emissions by 3.7%, meaning that the business has delivered 10 years of absolute carbon emission reductions despite sales and delivery growth. Over the past two years the company has also reduced water usage by 12% and a reduced waste output by 6%.

Some of the initiatives supporting this achievement included the continued rolling out of LED lighting, upgrading to a lower emission HGV fleet, improved vehicle telematics, and dealing with food waste through both local charity donations, and the use of anaerobic digestion to create energy.

Its new vehicle fleet will deliver a fuel use reduction of 6%, which is helping to save over 1,400 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

Responsible Wholesaling
Food Waste Reduction Policies

Our members have implemented practices to reduce food waste, with the aim of eventually eliminating it within our industry. Unused food that is close to its expiry date or best before date is being sent to food banks and other charities in ever growing quantities, so food that would otherwise be thrown away is instead making a vital difference to those in society who need it.

Furthermore, with better planning, and innovative strategies for recycling waste food products such as oil, members have been able to reduce food wastage year on year.

Bidfood have a zero waste to landfill target, which they get closer to every year. In 2014 they achieved a magnificent 94% diversion rate of food that would otherwise have gone to landfill. They have achieved this via a thoroughly implemented stock disposal policy.

Their stock disposal policy both attempts to maximise efficiency in their ordering and projection targets, enabling them to greatly reduce unnecessary food orders. In addition, food that is close to its expiry or best before date is sent to several food banks and charity partners. Their Sustainability Coordinators regularly visit charities and foodbanks that the company donates to and ensure that they are getting the products they need – in the quantities they need it.

Bidfood have also developed a fantastic partnership with Michael Roberts charitable trust, who develop voluntary work and social opportunities for people who are often perceived as being disadvantaged, either through a disability or social difficulty. A large part of what they do is food banks via the Bounty Club, and Bidfood have been instrumental to their work with generous and prompt food donations.

Booker Group operates an innovative used cooking oil recycling scheme, to convert used cooking oil into biofuel for power generating or heating. Booker has collected more than 4m litres of used cooking oil from its catering customers. Booker customers receive £2 worth of credit for every 20 litres collected. In total, more than £400,000 of credit has been returned to customers as part of this scheme. This system allows Booker to turn a waste product that would otherwise have to be disposed of, into a source of energy, lowering dependence on fossil fuels and benefitting the environment immensely.

Booker’s contribution to converting food waste into useful products is commendable, and their place as a finalist at the National Recycling Awards 2016 was richly deserved.

Responsible Wholesaling
Charity Work

There have been several brilliant initiatives by our members to contribute to the health, wealth and social cohesion of the communities in which they and their customers operate.

These initiatives range from fundraising to helping find missing people and support of food banks via food donations.

Grocery Aid

A.F Blakemore operates the Blakemore Foundation, a fantastic charity which donated more than £236,264 to 3668 good causes over the 2015/2016 financial year. The Blakemore Foundation gets employees of Blakemore involved, and on the 1st September 2017 held an event where employees were encouraged to host a party and raise money for good causes, the Blakemore foundation then provided in-kind donations.

Similarly, Blakemore encourages individual SPAR stores to fundraise for a local good cause of their choice, they then match the money raised by the SPAR store up to £200. The Blakemore Foundation has, in total, donated more than £1.7 million to good causes over the last ten years, and the foundation is becoming ever more generous, donating more year on year.


Confex has been active in raising money through Challenge Events, which have seen large scale staff participation. This year a team of Suppliers, Members and Confex staff were seen cycling and walking through the peaks and dales of Derbyshire on a multi-activity event that culminated in an abseil at Black Rock. A total of nearly £5,000 was raised for The Alzheimer’s Society, Contented Dementia Trust and Cancer Research.

A special donation was given to Springfield School, a local school in Witney that takes children with learning disabilities. £10,000 was put towards the total cost of buying a minibus for the school, which David Lunt, Senior Business Development Manager, had also been raising funds for through his numerous marathons.

Brakes have been part of the Meals & More Scheme for a long time but have recently gone the extra mile in supporting this great scheme to help end holiday hunger in school children. They have pledged an extra £100,000 a year for the next five years to help aid the initiative.

With the help of its members, supplier partners and retailers, Today’s Group has raised over £40,000 for two charities since 2014.  Bluebell Wood is a Children’s Hospice that offers care and support to children with a shortened life expectancy, both in their own homes and at their hospice in North Anston, near Doncaster. This charity has been chosen by Today’s as it has children at the heart of all that they do and it is local to Today’s Group head office.

As well as donating time to help out at the hospice, Today’s Group staff and its generous stakeholders have raised an incredible amount of money through hosting charity raffles at key annual events and completing a grueling outdoor adventure challenge. Village Water is an African charity for which the group raises money through the sale of its Blue Stone Spring bottled water. Staff have also raised money by cycling 100km during the London Nightrider event.

In 2017 Blakemore staff across England and Wales hosted more than 300 celebratory events at stores and depots across the company’s trading area, raising tens of thousands of pounds for good causes. These included fancy-dress days, barbecues, cake sales, raffles, fair stalls, sports games, sponsored bike rides, karaoke and car washes. Good causes supported included local charities such as Compton Hospice in Wolverhampton and bereavement support charity 2 Wish Upon a Star in South Wales, and national charities such as the Alzheimer’s Society, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Make a Wish Foundation.

Skills and Training Initiatives

Our members believe that young people are the future of their businesses and are committed to their development, in addition to fostering talent throughout their companies. Investment in training workers, helping them to gain a range of skills and qualifications in the process, will not only be a great benefit to those whose careers are developed, but also a great benefit to wholesale businesses in the future.

To reward hard work and encourage development, FWD host the annual Skills and Development Awards at the House of Commons. New stars of the wholesale sector are praised for their dedication and hard work, and our members apprenticeships and training initiatives were recognised by the Government.


Bidfood sponsored the incredibly successful Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Young Chef Competition 2016, to support the development of young chefs around the UK. Held in 35 countries around the world, the Young Chef Competition represents some of the most well respected and highly regarded eateries in the world.

A.F. Blakemore has been awarded an Investors in People Silver Award. Investors in People is a nationally recognised quality standard that looks for continuous improvement in ways that businesses communicate as well as develop and prepare staff for the future.