UK food and drinks sector saves £2m in water costs

30th July 2014

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  • Natural resources ,
  • Products ,
  • Stewardship ,
  • Food and drink ,
  • Water


Alexander Bees

Food and drinks manufacturers cut water consumption by 1.35 million cubic metres between 2012 and 2013, according to the latest Federation House commitment (FHC) progress report, published by Wrap. The reduction represents a £2 million saving for FHC signatories.

Since signing up to the FHC in 2007, signatories have collectively reduced their water use by 15.6% – equivalent to a 6.1 million cubic metres reduction in annual water use. The data excludes water used in products, but Wrap says the figures are particularly impressive, given that food and drink production has increased by 8.2% at these same sites since the start of the scheme.

The annual progress report includes a number of case studies highlighting the benefits of the scheme. Kellogg’s’ Manchester site provides one example. It has which halved its water use since joining the FHC in 2008, achieving a water intensity reduction of 55% between 2007 and 2013.

Richard Swannell, director of sustainable food systems at Wrap, said: “[The report] findings show the FHC signatories’ commitment to contributing towards the food industry sustainability strategy water reduction target of 20% by 2020. I’m particularly impressed by the reduction of water-use-intensity in the past year, which continued at a rate comparable with the early stages of the commitment, a great result since many of the easier wins have already been implemented.”

The food and drink industry in the UK is a major water user, consuming an estimated 690 mega litres of water per day. The FHC, which is managed by Wrap in partnership with the Food and Drinks Federation and Dairy UK, was established as a voluntary commitment to help the food and drinks sector reduce water usage, and has the backing of the Environment Agency and Defra.

“Becoming more water efficient is not only good for the environment but passes on savings to companies which in turn helps create a stronger economy and fairer society,” commented environment minister Dan Rogerson. “I am very pleased to see the manufacturing industry reducing its water use and I hope others will follow suit.”

There are currently 71 food and drinks manufacturers signed up to the FHC.


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