Food and drink sector hits carbon target early

28th January 2015

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Nigel Thornton

The UK food and drink industry is revising its carbon reduction target after reaching its 2020 target ahead of schedule.

In 2007, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) set a target to reduce absolute CO2 from manufacturing by 35% by 2020, against a 1990 baseline.

In a report on its progress, the FDF reveals that the industry has already achieved its goal, with total emissions having fallen by 664,000 tonnes over the past seven years.

The FDF says it is analysing the data to better understand the reasons for the good progress and look at whether to revise its ambition. Future CO2 reduction plans will be based on the sector's new climate change agreement, which is under review this year, it says.

The federation is also working with Decc and the business department to identify opportunities and technologies to help the sector deliver further reductions. This work will lead to the publication shortly of a roadmap for carbon reduction to 2050.

Food and drink manufacturers have also reduced their use of water, cutting it by 15.6% so far against the 2020 target for a 20% reduction. Water intensity has been reduced by 22% since 2007, equating to a water reduction of 0.49 m3/tonne of product, reports the FDF. It says the reduction in water intensity has been achieved despite production at member sites increasing by 8.2% over the same period.

FDF members have also improved on food waste prevention under its work on the Courtauld Commitment with waste body Wrap. Redistribution of unsold food for human consumption has increased by 80%. A Wrap spokesperson said this is probably due to the increasing public spotlight on the topic and greater awareness of opportunities to provide for redistribution.

A number of partnerships have been set up between retailers, suppliers and local communities, so that surplus food near the end of its life is sold on at a discounted rate to those in financial need.

FDF members have not achieved much change in levels of waste from the supply chain in 2013 compared to 2012, its report reveals.

The spokesperson for Wrap said that it is working with the food and drink sector to identify priorities to reduce supply chain waste. "Wrap has also produced a range of evidence and guidance to help inform action, such as benchmarks of good practice in secondary packaging, and it is now sharing the results of this research with signatories to help them make changes on the ground," he said.


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