Manufacturers hit climate targets ahead of schedule

Food manufacturers have set revised targets for reducing carbon emissions after hitting a 2025 ambition five years earlier than planned.

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said food and drink companies achieved a 55% reduction in CO2 emissions in 2019 compared with a 1990 baseline. As a result, the trade body has now set a revised target to achieve a 60% reduction in emissions by 2025.

The target only covers energy use in companies’ own UK manufacturing operations – known as scope one and two emissions – and not the scope three supply chain emissions that account for the majority of the food sector’s climate impact.

To target these wider food chain emissions, the FDF said it would continue to contribute to WRAP’s Courtauld 2025 commitment target of achieving a 20% per person reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production and consumption of food and drink in the UK.

The reduction in operational emissions has been driven by a number of factors such as fuel switching, industry rationalisation and investment in new energy efficient equipment and low carbon technology. The FDF said delivering further reductions would require greater focus on new technology, process design and low carbon energy sources – particularly for heat production.

FDF members have also reduced their absolute water consumption by 41.5% between 2007 and 2019 versus an industry-wide target to reduce water use by 20% during the period.

“Despite the difficult year the industry has faced, sustainability and environmental initiatives have remained at the forefront of our agenda and this is clearly seen in the progress being made,” said FDF chief scientific officer, Helen Munday. “We of course know there is more to achieve which is why we undertook the mid-term review work, and can now present fresh, forward-thinking targets which we know our members our keen to embrace.”

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