New research that suggests the Courtauld Commitment (CC3) has achieved some measure of success in addressing food waste in the UK has been welcomed by the industry.
The food and drink industry’s ambitious approach to reducing food waste challenged participating companies to make key achievements in the areas of food and packaging waste in manufacturing and retail, household food waste, and packaging design and recyclability in the supply chain.
Research out today from Wrap, the organisation that leads the scheme, indicates several successes in meeting the goals.
The food waste savings achieved during the lifetime of CC3 were worth around £100 million, Wrap said.
The sector met its 3% manufacturing and retail target, representing the equivalent of 219,000 tonnes of packaging – or 555,000 tonnes of CO2 saved over the three years of the commitment.
Wrap, which developed and managed the CC3 agreement on behalf of UK governments, also noted more that waste had moved up the ‘waste hierarchy’ as the recovery and recycling rate grew from 95% in 2012 to 99% in 2015.
The data suggests that signatories have achieved a significant increase in the amount of surplus food and drink redistributed for human consumption.
The findings also show that the packaging target was exceeded, with a 7% reduction in carbon emissions from packaging production exceeding the goal of zero increase.
The main contributing factors for this fall were increased recycling rates for different packaging materials and changes in materials composition, where wood, polymer, aluminium and steel packaging have seen reductions both in total weight placed on the market and CO2 impact.
Tomas Pietrangeli, managing director of Arla Foods UK, which was one of the 50 voluntary signatories to sign up to CC3, said: “Arla Foods UK proudly welcomes the successes evident in today’s CC3 results, in which we played a leading role but the work doesn’t stop there. As a founding signatory to last year’s Courtauld Commitment 2025 and our leading role in the Dairy Roadmap Plan, Arla’s commitment to environmental sustainability and efficiency is clear to see and we will build on the results we have achieved already.
“Since 2005, Arla’s UK packaging carbon emissions have fallen over 25%, through light-weighting and the use of recycled materials. Arla has met it Dairy Roadmap target of incorporating 30% recycled plastic in our fresh milk bottles heading towards 50% by 2020.
“The slight increase in household food waste, from 7 million tonnes in 2012 to 7.3 million tonnes in 2015, highlights the need for the industry to adhere to further commitments to reduce food waste. Arla Foods has already made great strides in utilising surplus food in the supply chain including a total of 476 tonnes of product in 2016, which was enough to produce over a million meals.
“Our business has set ourselves challenging targets and have deliberately stretched ourselves. Having a robust set of environment targets doesn’t just make ethical sense, it makes good business sense.”
And Wrap director of business programmes Steve Creed said: “The three phases of Courtauld have been a game-changer in bringing businesses together to work on issues of resource efficiency and drive change within their own operations. Today’s results show the industry’s commitment to reducing their environmental impacts and the huge benefit of collaborative action, particularly in the supply chain.”
“Reducing food waste in the home is incredibly challenging, given the complex reasons for it, the scale of food waste in the home and the lack of awareness, but it’s clear we all need to do more. WRAP has a plan to work with governments, signatories and consumers for greater public engagement through Love Food Hate Waste and interventions by signatories to Courtauld 2025.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2022
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