THE GROCERY sector reduced food and packaging waste by 1.7 million tonnes which equates to 4.8 million tonnes of CO2eq under the Courtauld Commitment Phase 2 agreement. The final results released today from WRAP, show significant progress has been made. The supply chain target has been exceeded, the packaging target has been met and the household food waste target narrowly missed.
Phase 2 results:
- Supply chain product and packaging waste target - Traditional grocery product and packaging waste in the grocery supply chain was reduced by 7.4%, exceeding the 5% target. Supply chain waste decreased by 217,000 tonnes per year in 2012 relative to the baseline year.
- Packaging target - The carbon impact of grocery packaging was reduced by 10.0% against a target of 10%. Grocery packaging weight also reduced by 10.7%.
- Household food and drink waste target - A 3.7% absolute reduction in total household food waste was achieved (270,000 tonnes) against a target of 4% (92% of the target was achieved).
These achievements should be considered in the context of rising production and sales volumes as well as number of households. When these are taken into account, relative reductions of 8.3% in supply chain waste, 14.8% in the carbon impact of packaging and 6.1% in total household food waste have been achieved.
The cost and efficiency benefits of taking action are huge with the value of waste prevented being around £3.1bn. The significant reduction in supply chain waste has been achieved by focusing on preventing waste arising in the first place rather than managing it once it has been created i.e diversion from landfill.
The packaging target was achieved as a result of work undertaken to innovate and optimise product packaging, including for example, lightweighting, using recycled content, designing packaging with recyclability in mind and changing product formats to better accommodate consumer needs (e.g. refill packs).
Although the household food and drink waste target was narrowly missed, the avoidable household food waste reduced by 5.3%, an achievement that saved consumers £700 million and local authorities £20 million (in 2012 alone). The CO2e savings associated with this reduction amount to around 930,000 tonnes in 2012.
These results demonstrate the continued commitment of grocery retailers, brands and manufacturers to reduce waste. Innovative examples of this include the introduction of Heinz Beanz recloseable 'Fridge Pack' to help reduce food waste, Asda increased the shelf life of over 1,500 products with changes to their delivery and store systems while Premier Foods introduced lightweight packaging for Hovis and Sun-Pat products, Supermarket campaigns such as Sainsbury’s Make Your Food Go Further campaign and Co-Op till screens advising customers to visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com. More case studies are provided within the report
Dr Liz Goodwin, WRAP’s CEO, said “During the course of Courtauld 2 financial savings of around £3.1 billion were made, by signatories and their customers. These are impressive results. The final outcome of phase 2 shows how collaborative working achieves results that have financial benefits to the UK and deliver significant reductions in environmental impact. We know there is still more we can do and I’m delighted to see 50 leading retailers, brands and manufacturers signed up to the Courtauld Commitment 3 showing their continued commitment”.
Resource Management Minister Dan Rogerson commented: “Everyone has a role to play in reducing waste and I want to see more businesses helping consumers to waste less food and save money. We have made great strides in reducing food and packaging waste and I’m delighted with the progress so far. There’s still a long way to go and we will continue to work closely with food retailers and manufacturers to cut waste even further.”
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Waste, particularly food waste, is a global challenge which all of us - governments, individuals and businesses have a responsibility to address. So I’m pleased to see the results of collective action from this important sector – both cutting its own waste and using its influence to help householders do the same. The Scottish Government is supporting companies to act through our new Resource Efficient Scotland programme, bringing together expertise on efficient use of energy, water and materials, helping businesses reduce waste and improve competitiveness. And last year’s Scotland-wide food waste prevention campaign combined awareness raising with practical tips on how to reduce waste at home.”
Courtauld Commitment phase 3 launched in May 2013 and runs until 2015. It aims to further reduce the weight and carbon impact of household food waste, grocery product and packaging waste, both in the home and the UK grocery sector. The agreement is funded by Westminster, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments and delivered by WRAP.