Around 37 leading UK food and beverage, retail and consumer goods companies will pool their transportation resources in an attempt to significantly reduce the environmental impact of transporting goods.

Under the Sustainable Distribution scheme, sponsored by IGD's Efficient Consumer Response programme, companies will be sharing vehicles and looking to establish more efficient warehousing.

The industry believes that through such initiatives it will save 48m miles of travel by the end of 2008 alone, conserving 23m litres of diesel each year.

Drinks companies who have already signed-up to the initiative include the likes of Coca-Cola, Coors, PepsiCo and Gerber Juice Co. All of the UK's largest retailers have committed to the project.
 
"In a highly competitive industry getting 37 companies working together in this way is very innovative and the results so far are impressive with over 16m miles saved in the pilot alone," IGD president and Nestlé UK CEO Alastair Sykes said.

Sykes said the move would help the food industry reduce its environmental impact in order to meet government and consumer expectations and cut costs.
 
"There will always be a need to transport food and grocery items from producers to shoppers, and the more efficiently we can do this, the better for everyone," he concluded.