The Courtauld Commitment 2025 to transform UK food and drink

The UK’s resource efficiency charity WRAP, on behalf of the UK Government and Devolved Administrations, today unveils a pioneering commitment which brings together organisations from across the food system for the first time to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable for the future.

The Courtauld Commitment 2025 is the world-leading voluntary agreement to work along the entire food chain to reduce the environmental impact of our food and drink, from farm to fork and beyond. Signatories announced at the launch of the agreement include the world’s largest food and drink manufacturers, and all the major UK retailers; representing over 93% of the 2016 UK market share.

Retailers: Aldi, ASDA, Central England Co-operative, Lidl, M&S, Morrisons, Musgraves, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, The Co-operative Food and Waitrose.
Brands & manufacturers: Associated British Foods, ARLA, Coca Cola Enterprises, Heineken, Nestlé UK and Ireland, Premier Foods, Unilever, and Warburtons.
Hospitality and food service: apetito, Bidvest, Compass, Greene King Retail, KFC, OCS, Pizza Hut, Sodexo UK & Ireland.
Local authorities: 24 authorities including the London Waste and Recycling Board representing more than 42% of the UK’s population.
Trade and sector organisations, Government and academia: British Hospitality Association, British Retail Consortium, Chilled Food Association, Dairy UK, Food & Drink Federation, Food Standards Agency, Institute of Hospitality, Sustainable Restaurant Association and WWF.

The commitment goes further than ever before with three ambitious targets:

A 20% reduction in food and drink waste arising in the UK
A 20% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity of food & drink consumed in the UK
A reduction in impact associated with water use in the supply chain

The Commitment will drive best practice through its unique whole-system approach to the way food and drink is produced, sold and consumed in the UK. For the first time it will bring all parties together under one voluntary agreement to achieve collective goals. By building on the progress already achieved with retailers, brands, manufacturers and the hospitality sector and bringing in the farming sector and local authorities it will be more challenging, but also more rewarding. Signatories will work together with WRAP to identify new actions and opportunities to save resources which can be shared across the entire supply chain, to make the whole system more sustainable and resilient to supply chain disruptions. Signatories also commit to implementing changes, measuring the benefits, and helping other businesses and people to realise savings.

Local authorities and trade bodies will be vital in helping engage people in and out of home and raise awareness to a wider range of businesses outside of the main signatory base, essential given the targets extend to UK-wide impacts.

WRAP will report on progress to reflect the combined impact across the entire food system, and estimates that meeting the Commitment targets will deliver £20 billion worth of savings to the UK economy. The majority of the savings will be enjoyed by individuals; with approximately £4 billion in business savings possible. The Commitment will help the UK deliver its part in the objectives of COP 21, and put the UK on track to halve household and retail waste delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3*.

Dr Richard Swannell, Director of sustainable food systems at WRAP, said “The pressures of resource scarcity, population growth and our changing climate will have profound effects on our food supply in the coming years, and business efficiency. To safeguard UK food we need a step-change to increase sustainable food and drink production and consumption, conserve resources and combat climate change. Courtauld 2025 will do this.

“Collaboration has never been more important, which is why I want to thank the businesses and organisations that have committed to taking action. This is an ambitious undertaking and having key signatories on board on day one puts us in a strong position at the start of this new era for our food industry. I look forward to welcoming other leading organisations as signatories over the coming weeks, months and years and delivering this ambitious agreement.”

Resources Minister Rory Stewart, said: “Food waste – at any stage from the farm to the house – is something we should avoid. It wastes precious water and resources. ‎So I am delighted that this great group of food and drink companies has come together with WRAP to reduce our food waste.

“Under the last framework we have already reduced food waste in the supply chain by ten per cent. And this team-work and leadership should allow us to go much further.”

Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant, said: “The Courtauld Commitment 2025 is an ambitious, long-term voluntary agreement which will bring together a diverse range of stakeholders from throughout Wales and beyond, to cut the waste and greenhouse emissions associated with food and drink.

“Through collaboration, innovation and shared expertise it will deliver real economic and environmental benefits for Wales as well as deliver a more sustainable Food and Drink Sector for Wales and contribute to green growth.”

Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food & Environment, said: “The Scottish Government has set a target to reduce food waste by a third by 2025 – the first of its kind in Europe.”

“Courtauld 2025 will complement ongoing work by Zero Waste Scotland and the food and drink industry here in Scotland to reduce food waste and develop a more circular economy. We look forward to working with signatories and supporters to achieve our increased level of ambition for Scotland.”

Mark H Durkan, Minster of the Environment, said: “Tackling food and drink waste is critical in the development of a more circular economy. In Northern Ireland, I have introduced legislation to require businesses which produce more than 50kg of food waste per week to make arrangements for its separate collection. The separate collection of food waste will greatly improve its value as a resource that can be turned into energy or compost instead of being landfilled. Furthermore I believe separate collection will raise awareness across businesses of the volume and cost of the food waste they produce and thereby encourage a reduction in their waste arising which complements the targets in the Courtauld Commitment 2025.”

WRAP will work directly with industry and other stakeholders to support actions under four main areas:

Embedding sustainable principles and practices into the design, buying and sourcing of food;
Optimising resource efficiency throughout entire supply chains to help produce more goods using less resources;
To influence behaviours around consumption and reduce waste in the home; and
To find innovative ways to make the best use of surplus and waste food.

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