Food and Drink industry delivers environmental progress

Posted on 7 Dec 2011

The UK’s largest manufacturing sector, contributing £19.7bn in growth value added to the UK economy in 2010, has slashed CO2 emissions by 25% from 1990 baseline figures, according to a report published today.

Despite monthly output within the food and drinks industry falling by 0.9% from September to October, year on year growth stands at 3.3%. This means that the 25% CO2 reduction has not come as a result of falling production within the industry, but because of new initiative and drives to reduce energy use and waste.

The latest Five-fold Environmental Ambition progress report published by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) reveals that its members have slashed their CO2 emissions by 25%, surpassing FDF’s target of achieving a 20% reductions target by 2010. This means that the industry is well on track to meet its target of a 35% reduction by 2020.

The report also highlights that FDF members have helped to reduce product and packaging waste in the supply chain by 6.9%, reduce water use (outside of that embedded in product) by 5.3% and save 163 million heavy goods vehicle (HGV) road miles.

Crucially companies have achieved these reductions while increasing production to meet growing demand.

In 2011, the Five-fold Environmental Ambition, FDF’s flagship environmental programme, also began to address the sector’s environmental impact beyond the factory gates by conducting research into sustainable supply chains, actively raising awareness amongst its members of the importance of biodiversity and ecosystems and developing its ‘Every Last Drop’ guide on efficient water use for food and drink companies.

Andrew Kuyk, FDF’s director of sustainability and competitiveness, said: “Decoupling environmental impacts from economic growth is key to meeting the sustainability challenges of the future and to our own and global food security. We are proud of our progress so far and we look forward to continuing this journey in 2012.”

Jim Paice, Minister of State for agriculture and food, said: “Food and drink businesses have made great progress in reducing CO2emissions, cutting down waste, and reducing water use. Of course, there’s always more to be done, and I’m impressed by the challenging longer term ambitions set by the industry itself. We’ll do all we can to help them be met.”

The FDF is currently engaging with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) over consultations to find ways of streamlining administrative arrangements.