UK Grocers, Brands Target 1.1m Metric Ton Food Waste Diversion

Food Waste

by | May 13, 2013

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Food WasteCoca-Cola Enterprises, Unilever, AB InBev and Nestlé are among the 45 UK retailers, manufacturers and brands that have committed to reducing food and drink waste by 1.1 million metric tons by 2015 in the third phase of the Courtauld Commitment, launched late last week.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) oversees the voluntary pledge to cut packaging, food and beverage waste. Its signatories also include all major UK grocery chains — Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Aldi and The Co-operative Food, among others.

The Phase 3 waste reduction goals, if met, will reduce CO2 emissions by 2.9 metric tons and bring £1.6 billion ($2.46 billion) cost benefits to consumers and business, WRAP says. Additionally, they need to be achieved while retailers and suppliers increase sales and the amount of food produced in the UK.

The Courtauld Commitment Phase 3targets are:

  • Reduce household food and drink waste by 5 percent. WRAP says this represents a 9 percent 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 percent. WRAP says signatories will have to make an 8 percent reduction in real terms to counter the expected increase in production and sales.
  • Improve packaging design through the supply chain to maximize 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 percent reduction in real terms to counter the expected sales increase.

Phase 3 runs for three years from 2013 to 2015, with targets measured against a 2012 baseline. The agreement is funded by Westminster, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments.

To date, Courtauld signatories and consumers have diverted 2.3 million tons of waste during the first two phases of the Commitment, WRAP says. The value of waste prevented is around £3.5 billion ($5.37 billion).

Last October, WRAP announced that Courtauld Commitment 2 signatories had reduced their supply chain waste by 8.8 percent compared to a 2009 baseline, putting them ahead of a three-year target of 5 percent. Phase 2 targets also included reducing the carbon impact of grocery packaging by 10 percent, cutting UK household food and drink waste by 4 percent and reducing product and packaging waste in the grocery supply chain by 5 percent, including both solid and liquid wastes.

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