New Phase of Courtauld Commitment Targets Further 1.1 Million Tonnes Waste Reduction

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New Phase of Courtauld Commitment Targets Further 1.1 Million Tonnes Waste Reduction

New Phase of Courtauld Commitment Targets Further 1.1 Million Tonnes Waste Reduction
May 10
09:52 2013
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The UK grocery sector continues to show its commitment to reducing food and drink waste as 45 signatories have joined the third phase of the Courtauld Commitment. Signatories including all major grocery retailers, and many household brands and manufacturers, could reduce waste by 1.1 million tonnes by 2015, bringing £1.6 billion cost benefits to consumers and industry. The expected 2.9 Mt CO2(e) reduction would be the equivalent of permanently taking one million cars off the road.

The ambitious new third phase targets need to be achieved against a back drop of sales growth and an increase in the amount of food produced in the UK. Courtauld Commitment Phase 3 targets are:

* Reduce household food and drink waste by 5% – this represents a 9% reduction in real terms to counter the expected increase in food purchased.

* Reduce traditional grocery ingredient, product and packaging waste in the grocery supply chain by 3% – signatories will have to make an 8% reduction in real terms to counter the expected increase in production and sales.

* Improve packaging design through the supply chain to maximise recycled content as appropriate, improve recyclability and deliver product protection to reduce food waste, while ensuring there is no increase in the carbon impact of packaging – signatories will have to make a 3% reduction in real terms to counter the expected sales increase.

The agreement is funded by Westminster, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments and delivered by WRAP. It runs for three years from 2013 to 2015, with targets measured against a 2012 baseline.

The new targets could deliver £1.6 billion of savings to consumers, the food and drink sector, retailers and local authorities. Their delivery will also help improve the competitiveness and resilience of the supply chain, and significantly reduce the impact on the environment. The household food waste target alone could prevent enough food waste to fill 55,000 waste trucks.

To achieve the targets, signatories will need to help consumers reduce waste in the home. This will include delivering targeted food waste reduction initiatives, for example with the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, clearer product labelling and improved packaging design, while also tackling their own waste in the supply chain.

Significant achievements were made on optimising grocery packaging under Courtauld 1 and the first two years of Courtauld 2. Adding up achievements under both agreements to date indicates that around 1 million tonnes less packaging have been used. There are now limited opportunities for more substantial reductions in packaging without risking increases in waste.

The focus now is to optimise packaging to reduce food waste and improve recyclability to help consumers and local authorities, while ensuring no increase in the carbon impact against a back drop of increasing sales volume. The target will also help achieve the UK Governments’ ambitious new packaging recycling targets for 2013-2017.

The Courtauld Commitment has a history of achieving change. To date, 2.3 million tonnes of waste has successfully been prevented by the Courtauld signatories and consumers during the first two phases of the Commitment. The value of waste prevented is around £3.5 billion. The final results of Courtauld Commitment 2 will be announced later this year.

Dr Liz Goodwin, WRAP’s CEO, comments: “Courtauld 3 builds on the achievements of Courtauld 1 and 2 by tackling the areas that bring the greatest financial benefits to UK plc and deliver significant reduction in environmental impact. Over the course of the three phases of the agreement, a 20% reduction in UK household food waste is achievable, a deeply impressive outcome.”

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