New Sustainability Challenges for UK Food and Drink Manufacturing

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14 Oct 2016 --- New commitments to reduce the environmental impact from food and drink manufacturers as well as protect natural capital and contribute to sustainable food systems for the future, have been set by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).

The FDF’s ‘Ambition 2025’ builds on its previous environmental ambitions initially launched in 2007, which was one of the first UK-wide set of environmental commitments. Almost ten years on, food and drink manufacturers are making progress on the original targets and the new ambitions covers key areas where FDF thinks the industry can help deliver bigger, positive impacts by working collaboratively across their supply chains - including commitments on carbon dioxide emissions, food waste, use of more sustainable packaging systems, water use, and transport emissions.

“FDF's Five-fold Environmental Ambition was truly ground-breaking when we launched it in 2007. Now, having made great progress across a range of areas, including massive CO2 emission and water use reductions, we've looked again at what more we can deliver, engaging with more companies within our sector and beyond. The partnership approach has proven most effective at engaging the diverse parts of the UK food chain. We're working with Government and partners such as WRAP and the Natural Capital Coalition to help deliver wider objectives,” says Helen Munday, Director of Food Safety, Science and Sustainability & Chief Scientific Officer, Food and Drink Federation.

Here are some of the achievements so far and the new FDF ambitions for 2025: 

  • The CO2 emissions from FDF member’s UK manufacturing operations have been cut 44 percent since 1990. The new target is 55 percent absolute reduction by 2025. 
  • Supply chain waste has been reduced by just 3.2 percent. The new ambition is to send zero food and packaging waste to landfill from this year and beyond. - FDF members have reduced water use by 30.1 percent since 2007. There is an industry-wide target of a 20 percent reduction by 2020. 
  • Member organizations will work to reduce the impact of used packaging as part of developing sustainable systems.
  • FDF members contributed to a reduction in transport emissions of 6.8 percent since 2010 under the Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme (LCRS) operated by the Freight Transport Association (FTA). A new updated checklist of environmental standards embodying the 'Fewer and Friendlier Food Miles approach' has been created. 
  • FDF will promote the uptake of sustainability standards and will develop an online signposting tool to guide members in integrating sustainable sourcing into their supply chain.

“The Ambition 2025 is the next step on our journey to help deliver a sustainable food system into the future. It is a journey that will see our industry continue to take a leading role to further improve resource efficiencies and address the wider sustainability agenda,” says Nick Vermont, Regional CEO, McCain Foods and chairman of FDF's Sustainability Steering Group.

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