Coca-Cola Signs Waste Pledge; Biofuels Fail Standards; Forests to be Leased

by | Jan 28, 2011

Coca-Cola, Kraft and Procter & Gamble are among the latest companies to join voluntary U.K. pledges to reduce packaging and waste.

The companies signed the Courtauld Commitment, set by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP). The commitment says that companies will reduce the carbon impact of their grocery packaging by 10 percent, reduce household food and drink waste by four percent, and reduce grocery product and packaging waste by five percent.

Other companies joining this week include Associated British Foods and Premier Foods, bringing the total number of committed companies up to 48.

Meanwhile builders Barratt Developments and Hanson UK have signed WRAP’s Halving Waste to Landfill protocol, working to reducing the amount of construction waste they send to landfills by 50 percent by 2012. That brings the program’s participants to 540. WRAP says well over £30 billion of U.K. construction contracts could now benefit from the commitment.

In other UK environmental news, less than a third of the biofuel used on U.K. roads meets government standards for the protection of water, soil and carbon stocks, new figures show.

The U.K.’s Renewable Fuels Agency says that in 2009-10, just 31 percent of the biofuel supplied under the government’s own initiative met standards, according to the Guardian.

For the remainder of biofuel, suppliers either could not prove it was produced in a sustainable way, or could not say where it came from.

BP, Total, Morgan Stanley and Chevron all failed to meet targets on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and failed to provide data on the source of their biofuels. Fully half of biofuel was supposed to meet the standards, but the target is not mandatory, the Guardian said.

Suppliers in the U.K. began mixing biofuel into all gasoline and diesel supplies in April 2008, under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation. By 2009-10 biofuels accounted for 3.3 percent of U.K. transport fuels.

Finally, campaigners have criticized government proposals to lease up to 18 percent of England’s public forests to the private sector.

The U.K. coalition government had already committed to taking 15 percent of public forests out of state control, generating up to £100 million in receipts. Now it has suggested following a model created by the Scottish government and leasing 2,500 sq km, or about 18 percent of English woodland, to private forestry companies.

Sales will be conditional on protecting public access and biodiversity, businessGreen reports. Some woodland would also go to charitable groups. Heritage protection body the National Trust said that as long as access and conservation are maintained, the proposals could offer businesses exciting opportunities.

But campaigners 38 Degrees said the sell-off could mean that ancient woodland is chopped down and destroyed. They also argued that the privately managed forests would not maintain access for cyclists and horse riders.

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