Food firms welcome waste reduction results

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Supply chain, Recycling

WRAP welcomed 'the significant progress' made in cutting waste
WRAP welcomed 'the significant progress' made in cutting waste
UK food and drink manufacturers have welcomed “the significant progress” achieved in meeting the supply chain and packaging waste reduction targets set out as part of the Courtauld Commitment.

Supply chain waste has dropped by 8.8% − well ahead of the three-year target of 5% set in 2009 − according to the government-funded Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

WRAP results also reveal a 8.2% reduction in the carbon impact of packaging against a 10% target.

The organisation said: “The second-year results are encouraging, given that they have been achieved alongside an increase in volume sales among signatories. Household food waste data is not collected yearly but 3% was achieved in the first year. Data will be collected and results available for final year reporting.”

Grocery packaging

The second phase of the Courtauld Commitment − which runs from 2010 to December 2012 − sets out specific targets for reducing grocery packaging, waste in retail supply chains, household food and drink waste.

Andrew Kuyk, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) director of sustainability, said: “It is an excellent example of the results that can be achieved through voluntary agreements, where government and industry work together to deliver a common set of aims.

“FDF members have consistently championed WRAP’s work on preventing waste and were at the forefront of the programme of site reviews.”

Dr Richard Swannell, WRAP director, design and waste prevention, said: “These are good results and indicative of the hard work signatories have been putting in to be more resource efficient, which benefits the environment and their bottom line. However, there is more to do.

“The reduction in supply chain waste is particularly important given it’s a new area for Courtauld. In this, its final year, we are continuing to work with the sector to help ensure the Courtauld Phase 2 targets are met in full.”

Great results

Andrew Opie, British Retail Consortium food and sustainability director, said: “These are great results against ambitious targets. This independent assessment shows food retailers are successfully working with their suppliers and customers to reduce waste and achieve major environmental gains.”  

Preventing waste is the key aim and a vital part of a sustainable supply chain, said Opie. “Recycling is good but dramatically more resources are saved by not producing that material in the first place.

​The Courtauld commitment is supported by all four UK governments and is run by WRAP. Phase 2 of the voluntary agreement began in 2010.

To read WRAP’s report, click here​.


Courtauld in numbers

8.8%​ − fall in supply chain product and packaging waste against a 5% target compared with 2009.

8.2%​ − fall in the carbon impact of packaging against a 10% target.

3% ​− fall in household food waste achieved in the first year. 


Courtauld – what they say

Richard Lochhead​, Scotland’s environment secretary
“The Courtauld commitment allows sectors to work together to devise practical approaches to reducing waste, to share expertise and demonstrate progress. By acting to reduce waste and recycle more the retail and grocery sectors can achieve savings in production and disposal of materials, which can help protect Scotland’s natural environment and contribute to sustainable economic growth.”

Lord de Mauley​, resource management minister
“I’m pleased that more and more businesses are realising that reducing waste and packaging throughout their supply chain is not only good for the environment but good for their bottom line too. These results show impressive progress in cutting down on unnecessary packaging, which is in everyone’s interest, and I will be encouraging the industry to build on its efforts to ensure we continue to make substantial progress.”

John Griffiths​, the Welsh government's environment minister
“I am pleased to see retailers and manufacturers playing their part in reducing the environmental impact of their products and I congratulate all the signatories on meeting their targets.  Resource efficiency not only has environmental benefits but also provides opportunities for real cost savings for signatories.”

Alex Attwood​, Northern Ireland environment minister

“These interim results are very encouraging and provide welcome evidence of the retail sector's commitment to reducing unnecessary packaging and food waste. This continued emphasis on resource efficiency and waste prevention complements the approach taken in Northern Ireland in the development of a revised Waste Management Strategy to be published early next year.”

Related topics: Packaging materials

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