What is the Courtauld Commitment?

The Courtauld Commitment

What is it?

The Courtauld Commitment is a voluntary agreement aimed at improving resource efficiency and reducing waste within the UK grocery sector.

The agreement is funded by Westminster, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments and delivered by WRAP.

It supports the UK governments' policy goal of a 'zero waste economy' and climate change objectives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

WRAP is responsible for the agreement and works in partnership with leading retailers, brand owners, manufacturers and suppliers who sign up and support the delivery of the targets.

It was launched in 2005 and is now in its third phase.

Next steps

After Courtauld Commitment 3, further action on tackling the major challenges in the UK food system is being delivered through the Courtauld Commitment 2025.

Courtauld Commitment 1


Courtauld 1 (2005-2009) looked at new solutions and technologies so that less food and primary packaging ended up as household waste. It brought food waste onto the agenda.

Over the four year period of Phase 1, 1.2 million tonnes of food and packaging waste was prevented, with a monetary value of £1.8 billion, and a saving of 3.3 million tonnes of CO2e, which is equivalent to the emissions from 500,000 round-the-world flights.

As a result of actions by signatories, Love Food Hate Waste, local authorities and charity partners, 670,000 tonnes of food waste and 520,000 tonnes of packaging waste was avoided across the UK.


  • Cadbury, Mars, Nestlé, and grocery retailers achieve major reductions in Easter egg packaging.
  • The Co-operative Food introduce food storage tips on their fresh produce bags.
  • Dairy Crest launches innovative milk eco-pouches for use in reusable jugs.
  • innocent drinks reduces packaging and increase the recycled content in their bottles.
  • Significant reductions in glass packaging in the wine, beer and food categories.

The Tonnage saved is Equivalent to filling 128,000 Lorries

Courtauld Commitment 2


Phase 2 (2010-2012) built on Phase 1, still aiming to reduce primary packaging and household food and drink waste, but also included secondary and tertiary packaging, and supply chain waste. It moved from reducing weight to reducing the carbon impact of packaging.

A total of 1.7 million tonnes of waste was reduced through the influence of Phase 2. This impact has a monetary value of £3.1 billion and equates to a reduction of 4.8 million tonnes of CO2e.

Enough waste has been saved to fill 184,500 refuse lorries. If lined up nose to tail, these would stretch from Edinburgh to Geneva.


  • Asda increases the shelf life of over 1,500 products for their customers by implementing efficiencies to their delivery and store systems.
  • Premier Foods introduces lightweight packaging for Hovis and Sun-Pat products.
  • Morrisons and Kerry Noon collaborate to reduce manufacturing waste and cut packaging of ready meals.
  • Heinz launches its latest evolution of Heinz Beanz; a recloseable ‘Fridge Pack’ to help reduce food waste.


Courtauld Commitment 3


We have worked with the sector to develop a Courtauld Commitment 3 that helps deliver sustainable growth, save money and reduce environmental impact by focussing further on waste reduction in the food and drink sector, specifically it will:

  • Reduce food waste:
    • In the home
    • In the supply chain
    • Via packaging designed to improve food waste prevention
  • Reduce retail and manufacturing waste, by
    • Preventing and reducing grocery ingredient & product waste
  • Improve packaging design, to:
    • Help consumers reduce waste
    • Make it easier to recycle
    • Increase recycled content
    • Ensure there is no increase in total carbon impact of packaging. This could mean an average reduction in carbon intensity per pack of a further 3%.


  1. Reduce household food and drink waste by 5% by 2015
  2. Reduce traditional grocery ingredient, product and packaging waste in the grocery supply chain by 3% by 2015.
  3. 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 by 2015.

* All of the forecast impacts for Courtauld 3 (tonnage, environmental and financial) are based on retaining the same coverage in waste terms as for Courtauld 2.