The food industry has defied doomsayers by tackling government targets for climate change head on, contrary to claims it would fail to reach them.
Panels advising on the government's Food Industry Sustainability Strategy (FISS) claimed the industry would miss its target of a 20% cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2010.
Dr Andrew Dunn, of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' Food and Farming Group, said the food industry would be unlikely to hit the target (Food Manufacture, May, p16), since baseline carbon dioxide emissions data for 1990 against which targets were set was so poor. But the industry has now committed to definite goals, using more recent metrics.
Members of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) have now united in a campaign to reduce the industry's environmental impact. The FDF will monitor progress annually.
"Cadbury, for example, has invested £2M in a waste water treatment plant at Crick, North Wales, producing high quality water to generate steam," said FDF sustainability director Callton Young. "The plant cuts Cadbury's water use by 15% per year and saves 17Ml and £10,000 in water costs per year."
As part of a five-fold green agenda, following FISS targets the FDF is developing a commitment on water use with government advisory body Envirowise. It plans to launch the project, which any food and drink firm can sign up to, in the New Year. The aim is to reduce water use by 20% by 2020 compared to 2007, echoing FISS.
Other core targets include cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by 2010 and by 30% by 2030 and eliminating food and packaging waste going to landfill by 2015.
FDF members are supporting WRAP's work to cut the 6.3Mt of packaging reaching households by 340,000t by 2010 compared to 2005 and will provide more recycling advice for consumers.
They are also aiming for fewer, greener food miles and a 20% cut in distribution's environmental and social impacts by 2012 compared to 2002.