The grocery sector continues to show its commitment to reducing food and drink waste as 45 signatories join the third phase of the Courtauld Commitment, launched today.
Signatories including all major grocery retailers, and many household brands and manufacturers*, could reduce waste by 1.1 million tonnes by 2015, bringing £1.6 billion cost benefits to consumers and industry**. The expected 2.9Mt CO2(e) reduction would be the equivalent of permanently taking one million cars off the road.
The ambitious new targets, listed below, need to be achieved against a back drop of sales growth and an increase in the amount of food produced in the UK.
Courtauld Commitment Phase 3 targets are:
• Reduce household food and drink waste by 5% - this represents a 9% reduction in real terms to counter the expected increase in food purchased***.
• Reduce traditional grocery ingredient, product and packaging waste in the grocery supply chain by 3% - signatories will have to make an 8% reduction in real terms to counter the expected increase in production and sales***.
• Improve packaging design through the supply chain to maximise recycled content as appropriate, improve recyclability and deliver product protection to reduce food waste, while ensuring there is no increase in the carbon impact of packaging - signatories will have to make a 3% reduction in real terms to counter the expected sales increase.
The agreement is funded by Westminster, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments and delivered by WRAP. It runs for three years from 2013 to 2015, with targets measured against a 2012 baseline.
The new targets could deliver £1.6 billion of savings to consumers, the food and drink sector, retailers and local authorities. Their delivery will also help improve the competitiveness and resilience of the supply chain, and significantly reduce the impact on the environment. The household food waste target alone could prevent enough food waste to fill 55,000 waste trucks – which would stretch from London to Paris.
To achieve the targets, signatories will need to help consumers reduce waste in the home. This will include delivering targeted food waste reduction initiatives, for example with the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, clearer product labelling and improved packaging design, while also tackling their own waste in the supply chain.
Significant achievements were made on optimising grocery packaging under Courtauld 1 and the first two years of Courtauld 2. Adding up achievements under both agreements to date indicates that around 1 million tonnes less packaging have been used. There are now limited opportunities for more substantial reductions in packaging without risking increases in waste.
The focus now is to optimise packaging to reduce food waste and improve recyclability to help consumers and local authorities, while ensuring no increase in the carbon impact against a back drop of increasing sales volume. The target will also help achieve the UK Governments’ ambitious new packaging recycling targets for 2013 - 2017.
The Courtauld Commitment has a history of achieving change. To date, 2.3 million tonnes of waste has successfully been prevented by the Courtauld signatories and consumers during the first two phases of the Commitment. The value of waste prevented is around £3.5bn. The final results of Courtauld Commitment 2 will be announced later this year.
Dr Liz Goodwin, WRAP’s CEO, said: “Courtauld 3 builds on the achievements of Courtauld 1 and 2 by tackling the areas that bring the greatest financial benefits to UK plc and deliver significant reduction in environmental impact. Over the course of the three phases of the agreement, a 20% reduction in UK household food waste is achievable, a deeply impressive outcome.”
Lord de Mauley, Defra’s Resource Management Minister, said: “Together we are cutting down on waste to deliver £1.6 billion of savings, which is good for consumers, the food and drink sector and local authorities. It’s crucial that we keep reducing waste so we can continue to see significant benefits for businesses and the environment.”
Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s Environment Secretary, said: “It is vital that we address the global issue of food waste. The Scottish Government is at the forefront of this through our recent food waste prevention campaign and also helping businesses cut waste through our new Resource Efficient Scotland programme. I commend those involved with this continuing commitment and am keen to see further progress from the impact of this next phase.”
Wales’ Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Alun Davies, said: “It is essential that we continue to reduce the amount of waste we produce and I encourage Welsh retailers and manufacturers to get involved in this initiative. Resource efficiency not only has environmental benefits, but also provides opportunities for real cost savings for businesses and consumers, which is all-important in today’s challenging economic times.”
Alex Attwood, Northern Ireland’s Environment Minister, said: “The grocery and retail sector play a key role in our economy and by signing up to the Commitment and adopting a resource efficient waste management approach they have the potential to generate significant benefits to Northern Ireland. The new targets will contribute to the overall objectives set out in the forthcoming revised Northern Ireland Waste Management Strategy Delivering Resource Efficiency”.
* Courtauld Commitment Phase 3 signatories:
BRANDS AND SUPPLIERS
ABF UK Grocery Division
Asda Stores Ltd
AB InBev UK
Highland Spring Group
HJ Heinz Foods UK Limited
Marks & Spencer
Kingsland Wines and Spirits
Arla Foods UK
Britvic Soft Drinks Ltd
Moy Park Ltd
The Co-operative Food
Burton’s Biscuit Co
Nestlé UK & Ireland
Nestlé Waters UK
Wm Morrison Supermarkets
P&G UK & Ireland
S A Brain and Co
Dairy Crest Limited
Treasury Wine Estates EMEA
Danone Waters (UK & Ireland)
Typhoo Tea Limited
Greencore Group (UK)
** All of the forecast impacts (tonnage, environmental and financial) are based on retaining the same coverage in waste terms as for Courtauld 2.
*** This is expressed as a tonnage reduction against a 2012 baseline.
The 20% reduction in household food waste is the total reduction from the 2006/7 baseline to the end of Courtauld 3 in 2015, assuming the latter targets are met.
1. Case studies are available on the internet, or if you require a nation specific case study, visit www.wrap.org.uk/courtauld
2. 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.
3. Established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, WRAP is backed by government funding from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
WRAP is a company that advises governments and businesses on resource efficiency. More information on all of WRAP's programmes can be found on www.wrap.org.uk
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