A Waste & Resources Action Programme has found that food manufacturers are above where they need to be in order to meet waste reduction targets.
The second interim report by the Courtald Commitment Phase 3 has shown that signatories have achieved a “considerable reduction” in grocery ingredient, and product and packaging waste since 2012.
The Government set a 3% reduction target for food manufacturers over this period, but in the first two years there has been a 3.2% decrease in the amount of waste produced – the equivalent of 80,000 tonnes.
The Courtald Committee is a voluntary commitment that was set up in 2oo5 to help lower environmental impact and improve overall performance for businesses in the sector. Phase three runs from 2013 until 2015 and uses targets set against the 2012 baseline, with the full results to be published next year.
The report also shows the improvement that the sector has made when it comes to CO2 emissions. The target set was to maintain a zero increase in CO2 emissions, but the sector has actually seen a 3.9% decrease in the past two years.
This has all gone on despite a 5% increase in growing sales in the food sector and a 0.7% increase in packaging weight during the period.
Changes in recycling rates and the materials used in packaging have helped to lower CO2 emissions.
The increase in packaging weight was due to single use packaging involved in the transportation, while household packaging continues to decrease in weight.
Director of Sustainable Food Systems at WRAP, Dr Richard Swannell commented: “I’m delighted with the progress towards targets in the first two years of the Courtauld Commitment Phase 3.
“What makes Courtauld so effective is the sector-wide approach to tackling the most impactful areas. Not just thinking about what will help your business, but what will make a more environmentally and economically effective supply chain.
“It’s important we continue to strive in the final year of Courtauld Phase 3 and push the boundaries in the preparation for Courtauld 2025.”