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The Scottish Region Annual Dinner: 24 September 2008

The Scottish Region's 2008 Annual Dinner was held on 24th September 2007 in the Airth Castle Hotel and Spa Resort, one of Scotland's leading hotels and as in previous years, guests were able to enjoy pre-dinner drinks at the wine reception sponsored by First, whilst perusing the various exhibitors stands.

Members and guests then proceeded to the dining room where they were welcomed by the Regional Chairman, John Fender. In his welcome he took the opportunity of thanking the sponsor, First for their generous support, and also to DHL Exel Supply Chain who sponsored the menu, to Waverley TBS for providing the miniatures and to Caledonian MacBrayne, Stagecoach Group, SHD and Transport Scotland for their support.

Each year, the Scottish Region makes special Awards to organisations in recognition of their help and assistance to the Region and this year Certificates were presented to Biggart Baillie, one of Scotland's leading legal practices for providing accommodation and speakers; to Caledonian MacBrayne, Scotland's Ferry Operator for their generous support over many years and to Steer David Gleave, Transport Planners for their support of our Young Professionals.

The Regional Chairman pointed out that by assisting the Institute companies are helping to invest in the future by helping the Institute in Scotland to provide a wide range of activities for members. The Scottish Region also actively promotes education by providing its annual scholarships to students studying logistics and transport.

John Fender also thanked the Dinner Planning Group who had worked so hard to make the Annual Dinner a success and to the Scottish Region Committee for their support during his term of office. He then surprised one long standing member who has over the years provided excellent support to the Scottish Region Committee and has worked tirelessly to promote the Institute in Scotland. He has been doing this for 10 years and to mark this the Chairman, on behalf of the Scottish Region Committee, presented David Reid Regional Officer Scotland with a small token of the Committee's appreciation for his efforts.

Rounding off his speech, the Chairman thanked the staff of the Airth Castle Hotel for their assistance and those present for their attendance. He then called on George Brown to say the grace.

Following the five course dinner, the Guest Speaker, Richard Hunt, CBE, FCILT, President of CILT International addressed the audience. He briefly outlined the background to the Institute and highlighted that the Institute is today active in 30 countries and has over 30,000 members worldwide. It is CILT International that holds the Royal Charter. Since becoming President, Mr. Hunt has introduced a more modern approach to the Institute and established an International Secretariat to assist in the running of CILT International. A new Director General is being recruited to succeed Cyril Bleasdale when his term of office ends and the Institute is actively looking at further expansion.

Mr. Hunt pointed out that taking a global perspective showed that the Middle East, India and China are major areas for growth of the Institute. In these regions there are some 2.4 billion people and there is a shortage of qualified logisticians and senior managers to the tune of approximately 6 million. An interesting fact is that in India, each year 30,000 people qualify with an MBA but very few qualify in logistics and transport. To redress this imbalance, the Institute is introducing in partnership with the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade a programme of short courses. Through such initiatives, the Institute plans to grow and strengthen its membership world-wide.

The next speaker was Neil Ashworth, FCILT, Supply Chain Director of Tesco.com who looked at the "green" issues facing the industry. He said that it often appears that politicians and business are opposed to the green agenda as they think that you cannot make a profit and go green at the same time. The implications of climate change are huge and the consequences severe. The challenge is to both go green and make a profit. Mr. Ashworth pointed out that for every £1 spend now on addressing the climate change issue, some £15 - £20 will be saved later. We must all act together if we want to see growth in a low carbon economy.

Every activity we undertake creates carbon emissions and Tesco is taking an active role in reducing it's emissions. This requires a fundamental change to the business model and the setting of targets along with accountability and to achieve this requires businesses to work with suppliers. The last quarter of the 20th Century saw a consumer revolution with more information being available and greater choice and availability of products. There are green choices, but a lack of information on these and customers need better information in order to make informed choices. They want information on the impact of products and services and Tesco is aiming to put this on packaging of all of its products. The company is working with the Carbon Trust to establish the CO2 impact for all of its products.

Mr. Ashworth said that it does not need to be a major project to make a large impact on the environment, but small, incremental steps can have a major impact. For example, Tesco customers get "green" Clubcard points for reusing carrier bags and this has resulted in a reduction in the number of carrier bags handed out by 14 million per week. Tesco is also the UK market leader in biofuels with some 200 filling stations selling such fuels. In 2006, Tesco set a target to halve its energy use by 2010, but will meet this target in 2008. Energy reduction is a priority throughout the company and the new Livingston Distribution Centre was designed to be energy efficient. There will be a new format at stores which will be energy efficient and use sustainable materials. Tesco Express stores already are energy efficient.

Tesco has also invested in low emission vehicles and is working towards a target of using 50% biofuel in all vehicles by 2010. Additionally it is using rail and waterways for distribution and has invested in electric vans for local distribution. With this investment, Tesco is growing and this shows that going green can actually improve profits. Changes in consumer behaviour will also mean that suppliers will have to change to meet consumer aspirations and those that do will reap the rewards.

The informal address was given by the award winning after dinner speaker, Mr. Eric Davidson who entertained members and guests with a selection of funny anecdotes and observations that were enjoyed by the audience.

The evening was rounded off with the Prize Draw in support of Transaid. The Scottish Regional Officer acted as host for this part of the evening and the prize draw succeeded in raising a total of £1510. This total was matched by DHL Exel Supply Chain taking the total amount to £3020.

The Scottish Region would like to express thanks to DHL Supply Chain for their generosity.

Report by John Fender.

 

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