SWA celebrates 80 years with special focus

As the Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) turns 80, it turns attention to two key issues to mark anniversary

Sustainability and training are the two areas SWA has decided to focus on as it marks its 80thanniversary this year. Working with members to invest in the future sustainability of the wholesale sector and developing a skilled workforce are the topics to be discussed at a special industry conference this autumn, held in honour of the milestone.

SWA Chief Executive Colin Smith explained: “We want to inspire a new generation of wholesalers to take an active role in protecting and developing the industry and if our members are to continue on their current growth trajectory, they must invest in their people.

“As an industry, we must also encourage young people starting out on their work journey to look at wholesale as a viable option for a fulfilling career with prospects.”

The one-day conference will be held at Doubletree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro in Perthshire on 1 October this year and will be followed by a celebratory Highland gala banquet at Stirling Castle in the evening.

“It’s a special year for us, so we’re moving away from our usual summer weekend conference and changing the format,” Smith said. “We need to ring the changes and we are also responding to members’ feedback calling for a shorter, different annual event.”

This year the SWA will encourage Scottish wholesalers to continue to focus on the many environmental challenges that face the industry, from transport and energy to packaging and waste, and how they can reduce their impact.

Smith said: “Our theme for 2020 is Harnessing a Sustainable Future for Wholesale and this will be central to all of our activity during the year. As an industry, we want to play our part in protecting the environment, but our actions must be measured and not stifle our members’ growth and competitiveness.

“We’re already working on members’ behalf to highlight the full and potentially damaging effects that the deposit return scheme (DRS) will have on the food and drink wholesale industry.”

The Association has plans to unveil its new Training Academy and details on this and the SWA’s training programme will be revealed soon.

Talking about this Smith said: “Let’s not forget that wholesalers deliver £2.9 billion to Scotland’s economy – we’re a huge industry. We have members who are building new depots and expanding their premises, others who are implementing technology to fuel future growth and some who are diversifying into new business areas.

“Our aim is to ensure that the wholesale industry is an attractive one to work in by creating a legacy that will inspire the next generation – and, of course, training, business building, and lobbying and legislation will also be at the forefront of everything we do.”

80 years 80th anniversary Chief Executive of SWA Colin Smith Harnessing a Sustainable Future for Wholesale Scottish wholesale Scottish Wholesale Association sustainability SWA Training