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United Biscuits sees best year so far for progress on sustainability targets

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United Biscuits sees best year so far for progress on sustainability targets

United Biscuits sees best year so far for progress on sustainability targets
July 08
13:32 2012
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2011 saw a year of record breaking performance towards United Biscuits’ (UB) environmental sustainability goals, such as achieving zero waste to landfill across all of its manufacturing sites; reducing water use by 12%; and reducing group-wide carbon emissions by 6%.

UB’s clear and measurable environmental sustainability targets were published four years ago and an annual report of progress is published each year. The highlights of the latest report include:

·     Group-wide energy use reduced by a third since 1995.  During 2011 UB reduced its factory carbon emissions by 8% per tonne of manufactured product

·     All UB sites now send zero waste to landfill

·     Water use has reduced by 43% since 2007

·     The carbon impact of UB’s packaging has reduced by 15% since 2003

·     UB has taken 18 million lorry miles off the roads since 2005

·     We are now using canals to transport product in Belgium

·     UB is using 100% sustainable palm oil

·     We are working with the Royal Agricultural College to develop sustainable farming standards

·     We now have 85% of our raw material and ingredient suppliers on the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX) system

Jeff van der Eems, Chair of UB’s Sustainability Committee, said:

“Since launching our programme in 2008, we have made significant measurable progress against all of our targets. We have now broadened our ambition on sustainability and widened the scope to include the growing and sourcing of ingredients, the main drivers of UB’s actual carbon footprint.  UB’s strong work to minimise our impact on the environment is consistent with our core values and sits perfectly alongside our efforts to drive sustainability in everything we do, including our positive actions on health and nutrition, and people and the community.”

As well as working with its supply chain to improve sustainability, UB has also recently launched an innovative new scheme to work with consumers. McVitie’s has teamed up with recycling experts TerraCycle to launch the McVitie’s Biscuit Wrapper Brigade. A first for the industry, the scheme encourages consumers to send in their used biscuit wrappers to be recycled, as very little mixed plastics recycling is currently carried out by local council kerb side collections, which results in millions of biscuit wrappers being sent to landfill.

Another initiative UB is involved in, with the aim of helping to ensure a sustainable food supply chain in years to come, is the Prince’s Countryside Fund, which is supported by UB’s McVitie’s Digestives brand. The high quality wheat produced by British farmers is a vital ingredient in the production of the nation’s favourite McVitie’s biscuits. The Fund is a unique collaboration of brands and businesses working together to support the people who take care of our countryside, including farmers and rural communities. The Prince’s Countryside Fund logo has featured on packs across the McVitie’s Digestives range since January 2011.

UB’s latest sustainability report can be viewed at This sets out in detail UB’s performance against each of its sustainability commitments, the targets that have been set, and gives case study examples of how UB is achieving its targets.

·     For more information about the McVitie’s Biscuit Wrapper Brigade and TerraCycle, visit
    The Prince’s Countryside Fund aims to help the rural community by funding projects which improve the sustainability of British farming and rural communities, and encouraging people to appreciate the countryside and not take it for granted.  To date the Fund has given over £1.1 million to 35 successful projects across the country. The Fund has organised National Countryside Week, which launches today (9 July) and runs until 16 July. The Week aims to raise awareness of the importance of the countryside to the UK and the serious issues facing its rural communities and farmers. For more information about National Countryside Week and the Prince’s Countryside Fund, visit
    UB is the leading manufacturer and marketer of biscuits in the UK and second largest in the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Ireland.
    In the UK, UB is the leading manufacturer and marketer of packaged nuts and the second largest manufacturer and marketer of savoury snacks and crisps. In Ireland, UB is number two in biscuits and number three in snacks.
    UB manufactures and markets a wide range of products in the U.K. and continental Western Europe that are household names in their respective markets. Branded products accounted for approaching 90% of sales in 2010.
    Among UB’s popular brand names are McVitie’s, Penguin, go ahead!, McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes, Jacob’s, Jacob’s Cream Crackers, Twiglets, Hula Hoops, Skips, Mini Cheddars, McCoy’s, Phileas Fogg and KP Nuts in the U.K. and BN, Delacre, Verkade and Sultana in Continental Europe.
    UB owns and operates 16 manufacturing facilities of which 11 are in the UK.
    UB employs over 8,900 people of whom over 7,000 work in the UK.


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