THE GROCERY sector has delivered on its commitments to cut waste up and down the supply chain.
New figures released by WRAP show that supply chain waste has been cut by 8.8% well ahead of the three-year target of 5%.
The packaging target is also on course, at more than three quarters of the way towards the target 10% carbon reduction.
The second year results are encouraging said WRAP, given that they have been achieved alongside an increase in volume sales among signatories. Household food waste data is not collected yearly but 3% was achieved in the first year and more data will follow.
The results come as part of the second phase of a voluntary agreement on waste within the grocery sector, called the Courtauld Commitment. Foodservice companies will be watching progress closely given that WRAP launched a sister scheme for the sector in the summer.
During a live FootprintChannel debate earlier this week, WRAP announced that more than 100 companies have signed up to the Hospitality and Foodservice Agreement. This marked a really good start said WRAP director of design, Richard Swannell.
Commenting today on the progress seen amongst grocers in their scheme, Swannell said: These are good results and indicative of the hard work that signatories have been putting in to be more resource efficient. However, there is more to do. The reduction in supply chain waste is particularly important given its a new area for Courtauld.
Supply chain waste reduction was added to the voluntary agreementin Phase 2 of Courtauld and has been an area of focus for WRAP and signatories over the past year, following moderate impact in 2010.
Many in foodservice see the reduction of waste through the supply chain as one of the great challenges for their businesses, given the complicated nature of the sector. Setting boundaries of responsibility was identified as a priority during an Early Adopters Group meeting organised last summer by Foodservice Footprint in anticipation of the waste agreement. The feeling was summed up by one delegate who highlighted the problems involved with packaging waste: Its very difficult to identify where packaging comes from and whose responsibility it is to reduce it or recycle it.
However, there is clearly a willingness among caterers to tackle the growing waste mountain. Not only are companies signing up in their dozens to WRAPs agreement, but there are also industry-led initiatives in place, such as the United Against Waste campaign being run by Unilever Food Solutions. In an exclusive comment last month, UFS managing director Tracey Rogers explained how 800 waste toolkits have been downloaded by businesses keen to cut waste and save money.
WRAP has calculated that the cost of throwing away food can be as high as £1,800 when preparation, storage and transport are considered. By the end of 2015, the sector could be saving upwards of £76m if the targets in the voluntary agreement are met.
The aim is to cut food and associated packaging waste by 5% (a reduction of 234,000 tonnes of carbon), or the equivalent of approximately 100 million meals. There is also a target to increase the overall rate of food and packaging waste that is being recycled, sent to anaerobic digestion or composted to 70% (a carbon reduction of 336,000 tonnes).
Speaking at the FootprintChannel debate, Sodexo corporate citizenship manager Thomas Jelley, said the voluntary agreement was a huge opportunity for engagement. Others agreed.
Its a great initiative, said Brakes group environment manager Ken Mulholland, [and] weve all got to back it. Waste prevention is a probably the big objective we all need to aim for. Prevention is better than cure.