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Tate & Lyle's food miles


Following the article 'Tate & Lyle keeps environmental labels on sugar bags short and sweet' (Food Manufacture​, April, p6), I would like to clarify a few points about our work on carbon footprinting.

Tate & Lyle has been working with URS (a world-leading independent consultancy) to measure the carbon footprint of its UK refining business, as well as the entire cane sugar production process from field to supermarket shelf. The decision on whether to include carbon footprint data on the pack is still under review. In the meantime, we are making this information available to all consumers on our website at http://www.tasteandsmile-fairtrade.co.uk

One of the reasons that this is under review is because our current carbon footprint (around 0.4t carbon per 1t sugar produced) will be cut by 25% in just over a year, when our new biomass boiler comes on stream at our UK refinery in 2009. This will replace 70% of fossil fuel derived energy with biomass.

Tate & Lyle will not be including actual food miles on its pack as we believe the carbon footprint data is a more relevant metric for sugar products. Raw sugar milling (which takes place in the growing country) is effectively carbon neutral and the footprint of a bag of sugar made from cane is about half that of one made from beet.

The article suggests that our evaluation of UK sugar's secondary/lifestyle footprint is yet to be started; however the initial evaluation of the data was completed last year.

Kind regards

Simon Gibbons

operations director, sugars

Tate & Lyle

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