17 September 2021
By Tom Collins
West Cork Distillers and Keohane’s Seafood have both been acknowledged for their outstanding sustainability efforts in Lidl’s inaugural Supplier Recognition Awards. The Award ceremony was part of a special virtual event that brought more than 300 of Lidl’s suppliers across the island of Ireland together virtually to mark the Progress Report for ‘A Better Tomorrow’, Lidl’s Sustainability Strategy. The event also saw the retailer announce its commitment to becoming a carbon-neutral business by 2025 and industry-leading initiatives including launching a dedicated Supplier Engagement Programme and enabling customers to lower their carbon impact through EV charging points.
Keohane’s Seafood, based in Bantry, was recognised for Packaging Reduction Supplier of the Year. Keohane Seafoods is a family-run business with six decades of seafood experience and has demonstrated a huge effort and determination to reducing its plastic packaging by 17.4 tonnes in 2021 alone. Keohane’s have been working with Lidl for more than 10 years and their partnership has seen success through large scale contracts that sees the organisation deliver their product to seven countries including the USA, UK, Germany and Portugal. The strength of the partnership is demonstrated in more than just commercial success with both aligning on the importance of plastic reduction – a major focus for Lidl across the organisation.
Speaking about the award, Colman Keohane from Keohane’s said; ‘Developing and growing our business in the most sustainable way is a huge focus for us at Keohane’s. From sustainable sourcing through to reducing packaging as well as developing the most innovative packaging solutions we can, we are constantly looking to improve how we do business to future proof the natural resource that we depend on so much. We welcome this award from Lidl as a valued business partner and value the support they have given Keohane’s over the last 10 years – not only in helping us grow, but in collaborating with us to grow sustainably. We look forward to continuing to learn and grow with them into the future.’
West Cork Distillers – who produce Graham Norton Gin, among other products – were recognised for Best Covid-19 Response by a Supplier in recognition for the pivotal role they played in the suppression of the virus through the production and distribution of hand sanitiser. Within six days of making the decision, they had produced thousands of litres of alcohol-based hand sanitisers which was distributed among Lidl’s stores, regional distribution centres and head office. They developed and packaged a 200ml bottle of hand sanitiser which was immediately made available to Lidl customers at an affordable price, being the first retailer in Ireland to do so. West Cork Distillers offered the retailer incredible support and ensured that all Lidl staff and customers could work and shop safely throughout the first six months of the pandemic.
John O’Connell from West Cork Distillers said; ‘As a business we knew that there was a role we could play in the fight against Covid-19. As a team we acted quickly but we were also supported by Lidl to make the pivot a success with access to a distribution network. We are a locally owned and operated company and this move allowed us to support our local community at a time of need. The agility that Lidl displayed in becoming our distribution partner showed that they trusted and backed our innovation and facilitated us ramping up production quickly to make sure we could make real impact. We are incredibly proud to receive this award and look forward to a continued strong partnership with Lidl for many years to come.’
Owen Keogh, Head of CSR, Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland added: “We look forward to continued collaboration with our suppliers and industry experts to ensure we are setting the standard for sustainability in the sector, and in doing so crystalising our commitment to providing a safe and nurturing environment for our colleagues, to contribute positively to our communities and to be exemplary environmental stewards.
The Lidl Supplier Recognition Awards showcases the determination and innovation of our suppliers. We are proud to be aligned with businesses that share our own values and look forward to supporting them in further innovation and sustainable growth.”