Forty-five signatories from across the grocery supply chain have committed to reducing food and drink waste under the third phase of the Courtauld Commitment.
The voluntary agreement sets out targets for 2013-15 for retailers, brands and manufacturers to reduce food and drink waste and improve packaging design, building on the targets set out in Courtauld 2, which finished in December 2012.
The commitment is funded by Westminster, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments and delivered by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
The new targets, listed below, need to be achieved against a backdrop of sales growth and an increase in the amount of food produced in the UK.
Courtauld Commitment Phase 3 targets are:
- To reduce household food and drink waste by 5% in tonnage terms against a 2012 baseline- this represents a 9% reduction in real terms to counter the expected increase in food purchased.
- Reduce traditional grocery ingredient, product and packaging waste in the grocery supply chain by 3% in tonnage terms against a 2012 baseline- signatories will have to make an 8% reduction in real terms to counter the expected increase in production and sales.
- Improve packaging design through the supply chain to maximise recycled content as appropriate, improve recyclability and deliver product protection to reduce food waste, while ensuring there is no increase in the carbon impact of packaging – signatories will have to make a 3% reduction in real terms to counter the expected sales increase.
According to WRAP, the agreement targets a further 1.1 million tonnes waste reduction and the new targets could deliver £1.6 billion of savings to consumers, the food and drink sector, retailers and local authorities.
The agreement was welcomed by environment ministers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In England, Lord de Mauley, Defra’s resource management minister, said: “Together we are cutting down on waste to deliver £1.6 billion of savings, which is good for consumers, the food and drink sector and local authorities. It’s crucial that we keep reducing waste so we can continue to see significant benefits for businesses and the environment.”
The 45 signatories which have joined Courtauld 3 are fewer in number than the 53 signed up to Coutauld 2. However, a spokeswoman for WRAP explained that when Courtauld 2was first launched, it only had 28 signatories and that it expected the number to sign up to Courtauld 3 to grow as time went on.