The grocery sector reduced food and packaging waste by 1.7 million tonnes which equates to 4.8 million tonnes of CO2eq* under the Courtauld Commitment Phase 2 agreement. The final results released today from WRAP, show significant progress has been made. The supply chain target has been exceeded, the packaging target has been met and the household food waste target narrowly missed.
Phase 2 results
• Supply chain product and packaging waste target - Traditional grocery product and packaging waste in the grocery supply chain was reduced by 7.4%, exceeding the 5% target. Supply chain waste decreased by 217,000 tonnes per year in 2012 relative to the baseline year.
• Packaging target - The carbon impact of grocery packaging was reduced by 10.0% against a target of 10%. Grocery packaging weight also reduced by 10.7%.
• Household food and drink waste target - A 3.7% absolute reduction in total household food waste was achieved (270,000 tonnes) against a target of 4% (92% of the target was achieved).
These achievements should be considered in the context of rising production and sales volumes as well as number of households. When these are taken into account, relative reductions of 8.3% in supply chain waste, 14.8% in the carbon impact of packaging and 6.1% in total household food waste have been achieved.
The cost and efficiency benefits of taking action are huge with the value of waste prevented being around £3.1bn. The significant reduction in supply chain waste has been achieved by focusing on preventing waste arising in the first place rather than managing it once it has been created i.e diversion from landfill.
The packaging target was achieved as a result of work undertaken to innovate and optimise product packaging, including for example, lightweighting, using recycled content, designing packaging with recyclability in mind and changing product formats to better accommodate consumer needs (e.g. refill packs).
Although the household food and drink waste target was narrowly missed, the avoidable household food waste reduced by 5.3%, an achievement that saved consumers £700 million and local authorities £20 million (in 2012 alone). The CO2e savings associated with this reduction amount to around 930,000 tonnes in 2012.
These results demonstrate the continued commitment of grocery retailers, brands and manufacturers to reduce waste. Innovative examples of this include the introduction of Heinz Beanz recloseable 'Fridge Pack' to help reduce food waste, Asda increased the shelf life of over 1,500 products with changes to their delivery and store systems while Premier Foods introduced lightweight packaging for Hovis and Sun-Pat products, Supermarket campaigns such as Sainsbury’s Make Your Food Go Further campaign and Co-Op till screens advising customers to visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com. More case studies are provided within the report http://www.wrap.org.uk/node/9297
Dr Liz Goodwin, WRAP’s CEO, said “During the course of Courtauld 2 financial savings of around £3.1 billion were made, by signatories and their customers. These are impressive results. The final outcome of phase 2 shows how collaborative working achieves results that have financial benefits to the UK and deliver significant reductions in environmental impact. We know there is still more we can do and I’m delighted to see 50 leading retailers, brands and manufacturers signed up to the Courtauld Commitment 3 showing their continued commitment**”.
Resource Management Minister Dan Rogerson said: “Everyone has a role to play in reducing waste and I want to see more businesses helping consumers to waste less food and save money. We have made great strides in reducing food and packaging waste and I’m delighted with the progress so far. There’s still a long way to go and we will continue to work closely with food retailers and manufacturers to cut waste even further.”
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Waste, particularly food waste, is a global challenge which all of us - governments, individuals and businesses have a responsibility to address. So I’m pleased to see the results of collective action from this important sector – both cutting its own waste and using its influence to help householders do the same. The Scottish Government is supporting companies to act through our new Resource Efficient Scotland programme, bringing together expertise on efficient use of energy, water and materials, helping businesses reduce waste and improve competitiveness. And last year’s Scotland-wide food waste prevention campaign combined awareness raising with practical tips on how to reduce waste at home.”
Alun Davies, Wales’ Minister for Natural Resources and Food, said: “As well as the important environmental benefits, these figures demonstrate that tackling waste can save businesses and consumers money. I applaud retailers and manufacturers for working across supply chains to reduce packaging and prevent waste. In Wales we are working towards zero waste by 2050 and the continued efforts by the grocery sector have a significant role to play in this. There is much more to be done, but these results demonstrate real progress.”
Mark H Durkan, Northern Ireland Environment Minister said: “My Department’s recently published Waste Management Strategy “Delivering Resource Efficiency” prioritises waste prevention. The success of Courtauld 2 in achieving a 3.7% reduction in household food and drink waste is an example of the increasingly important role that voluntary agreements can and will continue to play. I want to build on this in the development of a Waste Prevention Programme to ensure that we use our precious resources in the most efficient way possible”
Courtauld Commitment phase 3 launched in May 2013 and runs until 2015. It aims to further reduce the weight and carbon impact of household food waste, grocery product and packaging waste, both in the home and the UK grocery sector. The agreement is funded by Westminster, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments and delivered by WRAP.
*From 2009 to 2012
** 52 (Finnebrogue) has just signed) leading retailers, brands and manufacturers have signed up to Courtauld Commitment 3 as of 11 November 2013
For information on changes in household food waste from 2007 to 2012 see Household Food and Drink Waste in the UK 2012 www.wrap.org.uk/household-food-waste
1. Data is for the calendar years 2010 to 2012
2. 53 signatories signed up to Courtauld Commitment phase 2. A list of Courtauld signatories can be found at: www.wrap.org.uk/courtauld
3. The three Courtauld targets are measured against a 2009 baseline
4. Case studies are available in the report, or if you require a nation-specific case study, visit www.wrap.org.uk/courtauld
5. WRAP’s vision is a world without waste, where resources are used sustainably. Working in partnership to help businesses, individuals and communities improve resource efficiency.
6. Established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, WRAP is backed by government funding from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
7. More information on all of WRAP's programmes can be found on www.wrap.org.uk