Food industry net-zero report: 'we can't do it alone'

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

The report analyses how the food industry can help reduce its negative impact on climate change
The report analyses how the food industry can help reduce its negative impact on climate change

Related tags Supply chain Regulation

The industry's net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target cannot be met by 2050 as planned without support from the Government, claims a report just published.

The Committee on Climate Change proposed the net-zero ambition for the whole of the UK in its May 2019 report Net zero the UK's contribution to stopping global warming​.​ ​On 27 June last year, legislation was passed requiring the Government to slash net emissions by 100% relative to 1990 levels by 2050​. Industry sectors subsequently set their minds on the objective.

One year on, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and SLR Consulting have published Decarbonisation of Heat Across the Food and Drink Manufacturing Sector​, ​stressing the food industry can't meet the net-zero goal without Government support. The report states the industry could only reduce emissions from heat by 64% by 2050 when compared to 2012 without further interventions.

“There are reasons to be optimistic because deep decarbonisation of heat used by the food and drink sector is technically possible,"​ said Julie Gartside, European operations manager for advisory services at SLR Consulting. "However, the changes required to manufacturing processes and energy supply systems to achieve it are so significant that the sector cannot do this alone.

Collaboration needed

“Collaboration between the food and drink sector, Government, equipment manufacturers and other stakeholders will be needed to realise the opportunity before us.”

In particular, the FDF stated that the Government had not updated the 2015 Food and Drink sector roadmap, outlining how a transition could be achieved for the sector.

Emma Piercy, FDF head of energy and climate change, said: “As the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, the food and drink industry is absolutely committed to a green recovery post-COVID-19 and achieving the Government’s net-zero carbon target by 2050. In producing this report, we have identified a clear pathway to net-zero and the challenges we will need to overcome in order to meet that target. 

“But we can’t do it alone. Businesses will need clear direction and support to make that transition.”

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