The Courtauld Commitment 2025 to transform UK food and drink

15th March 2016
  • Ten years to reduce the resource intensity of the UK’s food & drink by one-fifth, saving £20 billion
  • Leading organisations from across the food chain to work together to tackle food and drink waste, greenhouse gas emissions and water intensity 
  • Over 100 signatories including all major UK food retailers, brands, food service companies, trade bodies and local authorities already signed up 

The UK’s resource efficiency charity WRAP, on behalf of the UK Government and Devolved Administrations, today unveils a pioneering commitment which brings together organisations from across the food system for the first time to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable for the future. 

The Courtauld Commitment 2025 is the world–leading voluntary agreement to work along the entire food chain to reduce the environmental impact of our food and drink, from farm to fork and beyond. Signatories announced at the launch of the agreement include the world’s largest food and drink manufacturer, and all the major UK retailers representing over 93% of the 2016 UK food retail market.

  • Retailers: Aldi, ASDA, Central England Co-operative, Lidl, M&S, Morrisons, Musgraves, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, The Co-operative Food and Waitrose.
  • Brands & manufacturers: ABF UK Grocery Group, ARLA, Birds Eye UK, Coca Cola Enterprises, Heineken, Nestlé UK and Ireland, Premier Foods, Unilever, and Warburtons.
  • Hospitality and food service: apetito, Bidvest, Compass, Greene King Retail, KFC, OCS, Pizza Hut, Sodexo UK & Ireland.
  • Local authorities: 23 authorities including the London Waste and Recycling Board representing more than 42% of the UK’s population.
  • Trade and sector organisations, Government and academia: British Hospitality Association, British Retail Consortium, Chilled Food Association, Dairy UK, Food & Drink Federation, Food Standards Agency, Institute of Hospitality, Sustainable Restaurant Association and WWF. 

The commitment goes further than ever before with three ambitious targets: 

  1. A 20% reduction in food and drink waste arising in the UK
  2. A 20% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity of food & drink consumed in the UK
  3. A reduction in impact associated with water use in the supply chain

The Commitment will drive best practice through its unique whole-system approach to the way food and drink is produced, sold and consumed in the UK. For the first time it will bring all parties together under one voluntary agreement to achieve collective goals. By building on the progress already achieved with retailers, brands, manufacturers and the hospitality sector and bringing in the farming sector and local authorities it will be more challenging, but also more rewarding.  Signatories will work together with WRAP to identify new actions and opportunities to save resources which can be shared across the entire supply chain, to make the whole system more sustainable and resilient to supply chain disruptions. Signatories also commit to implementing changes, measuring the benefits, and helping other businesses and people to realise savings.

Local authorities and trade bodies will be vital in helping engage people in and out of home and raise awareness to a wider range of businesses outside of the main signatory base, essential given the targets extend to UK-wide impacts.

WRAP will report on progress to reflect the combined impact across the entire food system, and estimates that meeting the Commitment targets will deliver £20 billion worth of savings to the UK economy. The majority of the savings will be enjoyed by individuals; with approximately £4 billion in business savings possible. The Commitment will help the UK deliver its part in the objectives of COP 21, and put the UK on track to halve household and retail waste  delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3*. 

Dr Richard Swannell, Director of sustainable food systems at WRAP, said “The pressures of resource scarcity, population growth and our changing climate will have profound effects on our food supply in the coming years, and business efficiency. To safeguard UK food we need a step-change to increase sustainable food and drink production and consumption, conserve resources and combat climate change. Courtauld 2025 will do this. 

“Collaboration has never been more important, which is why I want to thank the businesses and organisations that have committed to taking action. This is an ambitious undertaking and having key signatories on board on day one puts us in a strong position at the start of this new era for our food industry. I look forward to welcoming other leading organisations as signatories over the coming weeks, months and years and delivering this ambitious agreement.”

Resources Minister Rory Stewart, said: “Food waste - at any stage from the farm to the house - is something we should avoid. It wastes precious water and resources. ‎So I am delighted that this great group of food and drink companies has come together with WRAP to reduce our food waste.

“Under the last framework we have already reduced food waste in the supply chain by ten per cent. And this team-work and leadership should allow us to go much further.” 

Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant, said: “The Courtauld Commitment 2025 is an ambitious, long-term voluntary agreement which will bring together a diverse range of stakeholders from throughout Wales and beyond, to cut the waste and greenhouse emissions associated with food and drink. 

“Through collaboration, innovation and shared expertise it will deliver real economic and environmental benefits for Wales as well as deliver a more sustainable Food and Drink Sector for Wales and contribute to green growth.”

Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food & Environment, said: “The Scottish Government has set a target to reduce food waste by a third by 2025 - the first of its kind in Europe.”

“Courtauld 2025 will complement ongoing work by Zero Waste Scotland and the food and drink industry here in Scotland to reduce food waste and develop a more circular economy.  We look forward to working with signatories and supporters to achieve our increased level of ambition for Scotland.”

Mark H Durkan, Minster of the Environment, said: “Tackling food and drink waste is critical in the development of a more circular economy.  In Northern Ireland, I have introduced legislation to require businesses which produce more than 50kg of food waste per week to make arrangements for its separate collection.  The separate collection of food waste will greatly improve its value as a resource that can be turned into energy or compost instead of being landfilled.  Furthermore I believe separate collection will raise awareness across businesses of the volume and cost of the food waste they produce and thereby encourage a reduction in their waste arising which complements the targets in the Courtauld Commitment 2025.”

WRAP will work directly with industry and other stakeholders to support actions under four main areas: 

  • Embedding sustainable principles and practices into the design, buying and sourcing of food; 
  • Optimising resource efficiency throughout entire supply chains to help produce more goods using less resources; 
  • To influence behaviours around consumption and reduce waste in the home; and 
  • To find innovative ways to make the best use of surplus and waste food. 


Business SignatoriesLocal Authority SignatoriesTrade & Sector Signatories
Aldi UKBolsover District CouncilAgrimetrics Ltd
apetito UK LtdBristol City CouncilAlupro Ltd
Arla FoodsCambridge City CouncilBritish Beer & Pub Association
Asda Stores LtdDerbyshire County CouncilBritish Glass
ABF UK Grocery Group (AB World Foods; Allied Milling and Baking Group; Jordans, Dorset & Ryvita; The Silver Spoon Company and Westmill Foods)Devon Authorities Waste Reduction & Recycling Committee (10 councils including Devon County Council)British Hospitality Association
Bidvest Food ServiceErewash Borough CouncilBritish Retail Consortium
Birds Eye UKEssex County CouncilBritish Sandwich & Food to Go Association
Castell Howell FoodsGloucester Joint Waste CommitteeBSDA (British Soft Drinks Association)
Central England CooperativeKent Resource PartnershipBusiness in the Community
Coca Cola Enterprises LtdLeeds City CouncilCafé Society
CompassLeicestershire County CouncilCentre for Sustainable Energy Use in Supply Chains, led by Brunel University
Concha Y ToroLondon Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB)Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and The Institute of Food Safety Integrity and Protection (CIEH/TiFSiP)
Cooperative FoodMerseyside Recycling and Waste AuthorityChartered Institute of Waste Management (CIWM)
Dawnfresh Seafoods LtdNorth East Derbyshire District CouncilChilled Food Association
Greene King RetailOxfordshire County CouncilCompany and Community Shops Ltd
HEINEKENPeterborough City CouncilConfederation of Paper Industries
KFC GB LTDSomerset Waste PartnershipDairy UK
Kingsland Drinks LtdSouth Cambridgeshire District CouncilDepartment For Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra)
Lidl UK GmbHSouth Gloucestershire CouncilDepartment of the Environment Northern Ireland
Marks and Spencer plcSurrey County CouncilEating Better
Musgrave GroupSurrey Waste PartnershipEAUC (Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges)
Nestlé UK & IrelandWarwickshire Waste PartnershipFood and Drink Federation
OCS Group UK LtdWest London Waste AuthorityFood and Drink Wales Industry Board
Pizza Hut (UK) LTD Food Cardiff
Premier Foods plc Food Innovation Wales
Sainsburys Supermarkets Ltd Food Standards Agency
Sodexo UK & Ireland Food Standards Agency (Wales)
Tesco Foodservice Packaging Association
Treasury Wine Estates EMEA Ltd FPC (Fresh Produce Consortium)
Unilever UK Ltd Hospital Caterers Association
Waitrose Ltd Institute of Hospitality
Warburtons Ltd LARAC (Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee)
WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC MPMA (Metal Packaging Manufacturing Association)
  National Association of Waste Disposal Officers (NAWDO)
  The Packaging Federation
  Pizza, Pasta & Italian Food Association
  Plan Zheroes
  The Rubbish Diet
  Scottish Government
  Sustainable Restaurant Association
  TUCO Ltd (The University Caterers Catering Organisation)
  UFS United Against Waste
  University of Lincoln
  Welsh Government

Notes to editors:

  1. Waste target (per capita) - Including UK production, manufacture, distribution, retail, hospitality & food service and households, initially measured post-farm-gate. Pre-farm gate measurement approaches to establish a baseline are under development and will be considered for inclusion at a review point in 2018. In the meantime, collaborative project activities will include a focus on pre-farm gate waste.
  2. Greenhouse gas emissions target (per capita) - Including production in the UK & overseas, manufacture, distribution, retail, hospitality & food service and households.
  3. Target for impacts of water use - Specific metric and target to be developed and agreed in partnership with signatories.
  4. Progress against UK targets will be reported in milestone years (2018, 2021 and 2025) and further data on signatory achievements will be reported annually. 
  5. See #Courtauld2025 and for more information and Courtauld Commitment 2025 animation on 
  6. *At Davos in 2016, WRAP’s CEO Dr Liz Goodwin OBE was named as one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 Champions. 
  7. The Courtauld Commitment 2025 is designed to help deliver policy objectives of the UK Governments, including the UK 4th carbon budget and Defra’s anticipated ‘Food & Farming Plan’. The Commitment will also deliver outcomes which contribute to the Scottish Government’s recently announced target for food waste prevention. It will contribute towards the Welsh Government’s ‘Towards Sustainable Growth: An Action Plan for the Food and Drink Industry 2014 – 2020’ and waste strategy ‘Towards Zero Waste’, and the Northern Ireland waste management strategy – ‘Delivering Resource Efficiency and Waste Prevention Programme – The Road to Zero Waste’. 
  8. WRAP’s vision is a world where resources are used sustainably. It works in partnership with governments, Zero Waste Scotland, businesses, trade bodies, local authorities, communities and individuals looking for practical advice to improve resource efficiency that delivers both economic and environmental benefits. @WRAP_UK
  9. Our mission is to accelerate the move to a sustainable resource-efficient economy through: 
    - re-inventing how we design, produce and sell products,
    - re-thinking how we use and consume products, and
    - re-defining what is possible through re-use and recycling.
  10. First established in 2000, WRAP is a registered charity.  WRAP works with UK governments and other funders to help deliver their policies on waste prevention and resource efficiency.  WRAP is a registered Charity No 1159512 and registered as a Company limited by guarantee in England & Wales No 4125764. Registered office at Second Floor, Blenheim Court, 19 George Street, Banbury, Oxon, OX16 5BH.


For further information contact:

Contact Ian Palmer, PR Officer
Tel 01295 819 677

Contact Shona O’Donovan, PR Manager
Tel 01295 819 690


Ian Palmer

PR Officer, WRAP
01295 819 677

Shona O'Donovan

PR Manager
01295 819690