Almost 500,000 cubic metres of water have already been saved as 36 of the UK’s leading food and drink manufacturers report their first full year progress on the voluntary Federation House Commitment (FHC) on water efficiency. This marks the sector’s first step towards achieving a 20% reduction in water use by 2020 compared to 2007, working with sustainability experts Envirowise who jointly launched the initiative with the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) in January 2008.
Companies including Cranswick Food Group, Dairy Crest, Greenvale AP, Mars UK, R&R Ice Cream, United Biscuits, Walkers, and William Jackson Food Group have contributed to a collective reduction in water use of 1.7% during 2008. Together signatories will have saved almost £500,000 in the purchase of water alone, not including the cost of water treatment and effluent disposal.
Andrew Kuyk, director of sustainability and competitiveness at the Food and Drink Federation, remarks: “The food and drink manufacturing sector is a significant water user and has an important role to play in helping to reduce stress on the nation’s water supplies. While there is still much to be done to achieve the 20% by 2020 target, we are delighted to see FHC members already making a positive impact on the environment.”
Water-saving measures being implemented by FHC members include improving water recovery and re-use, rainwater harvesting, cleaning-in-place and dry cleaning operations – as well as domestic changes such as fitting more efficient taps and toilets.
“The opportunities for water saving range from simple low-cost solutions through to those which require capital investment and greater lead-in times – offering benefits over the longer term,” points out Claire Sweeney, water specialitst at Envirowise. The FHC is open to all companies in the food and drink manufacturing sector.