Courtauld Commitment 3

Next phase of Courtauld Commitment offers £1.6 billion of savings.

The Courtauld Commitment 3 launched early 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 impact of Courtauld Commitment 3 is predicted to be a cumulative reduction of 1.1 million tonnes of waste, 2.9 million tonnes of CO2(e) and a cost benefit of £1.6 billion to consumers, food and drink sector and local authorities. During the three phases of the Courtauld Commitment, a 20% reduction in household food waste could be achieved.

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

53 leading retailers, brands and manufacturers signed up by September 2013. Read more information in our launch press release.


The costs associated with waste generated from the UK supply chain and households equate to £19.4 billion per year (£12.5 billion household and £6.9 billion supply chain) according to 2012 WRAP research.

Food is a valuable resource and yet UK households throw away 7.0 million tonnes every year, around 19% by weight of that purchased. More than 4.2 million tonnes of this could have been eaten, including around 13 billion ‘5 a day’ portions (2012 WRAP research).

Optimising packaging has been a great success and will continue, but there are limited opportunities to reduce it further without risking increased product wastage. Now the focus is on improving design to optimise recycled content, improving recyclability and helping to reduce food waste.


Courtauld Commitment 3 runs for three years from 2013 to 2015 with targets measured against a 2012 baseline.

  • Household food and drink target: Reduce household food and drink waste by 5% by 2015 from a 2012 baseline. Taking into account external influences, this target represents a reduction of 9% relative to anticipated changes in food and drink sales.
  • Manufacturing & retail target: Reduce traditional grocery ingredient, product and packaging waste in the grocery supply chain by 3% by 2015, from a 2012 baseline. Taking into account external influences, this target represents a reduction of 8% relative to anticipated production and sales volumes.
  • Packaging target: 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, from a 2012 baseline. Taking into account external influences, this target represents a carbon reduction of 3% relative to anticipated sales volumes.

What can the Commitment do?

Courtauld helps businesses, consumers and local authorities to save money, improve performance and reduce their carbon footprint. 

It specifically helps businesses to:

  • save costs, cut waste and reduce CO2e emissions;
  • deliver against consumer demand for less waste;
  • improve industry practice and drive sector innovation;
  • improve resource efficiency of products and their packaging;
  • create a support network and vehicle for change; 
  • enhance corporate environmental performance; and
  • improve the competitiveness and resilience of businesses and their suppliers.

Supporting quotes

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”.