Food and drink manufacturers and retailers can make big changes to their environmental impact by working together, innovating and investing in sustainability initiatives.
At today’s joint briefing between the All-Party Parliamentary Food and Drink Manufacturing Group and the All-Party Retail Group, politicians and members of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF)1 and the British Retail Consortium (BRC)2 met to discuss how larger manufacturers and retailers are innovating and investing to achieve sustainable growth and environmental benefits through changes in processes used. Speakers included John Stevenson MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Food and Drink Manufacturing Group, Anne McIntosh MP, Chair of the EFRA Select Committee, and Joan Walley MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee.
Earlier this year grocery think-tank IGD and the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) reported on a waste reduction project involving UK food manufacturers and retailers working in partnership to improve sustainability in the supply chain. Between December 2009 and February 2011, participants eliminated 1,400t of waste and collectively believe that a further 1,193t could be eradicated within a year.3
FDF members have committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 35%, compared to a 1990 baseline, and water use by 20%, compared to 2007 figures, by 2020. FDF members have also halved food waste to landfill and hope to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2015.4
BRC retail members have halved the amount of waste they send to landfill compared with five years ago. Retailers have also achieved an 18 per cent reduction between 2005 and 2010 in both energy-related emissions from buildings and carbon dioxide emissions from transporting goods.
All-Party Parliamentary Food and Drink Manufacturing Group Chair, John Stevenson, said:
“Sustainable business growth is an integral part of the Government’s growth agenda and is essential to the long-term future of the food and drink industry, its customers and the UK as a whole. Working in partnership, the food and drink manufacturing and retail sectors are making great strides in the area of sustainability, in particular in reducing CO2 emissions, cutting water, food and packaging waste, and reducing food miles.”