Food and drink giants pledge to slash water use

Leading food and drink manufacturers have committed to making major cuts to their water use in an effort to reduce their environmental impact.

21 of the UK’s biggest food and drink companies have signed up to an agreement brokered by trade association the Food and Drink Federation which, when fully implemented, will save 140 million litres of water a day.

The companies will work with Envirowise, a government funded programme set up to help the business sector look at sustainable resource management, to deliver their objectives.

At the launch of the agreement, known as the Federation House Commitment, in London on Monday Lord Rooker, Minister for Sustainable Food and Farming and Animal Health, said: “I am very pleased to support this joint FDF and Envirowise initiative which has resulted in the first voluntary framework under which food and drink companies can work systematically towards improving efficiency and reducing water use wherever possible.

“It is particularly pleasing to see so many influential companies, responsible for well known household brands, signing up on day one. I would like to urge more companies in the sector to follow the leadership and commitment being shown by FDF and its members to the environment.”

Callton Young, director of sustainability & competitiveness at FDF said: “Last October FDF chose to be bold about the environment by targeting priorities where we can make the biggest difference through collective action.

“Today’s signing of the Federation House Commitment by many of our largest member companies is an important demonstration of this commitment and their desire to reduce the environmental impacts of our sector through the widespread adoption of water efficiency best practice. The leadership that they are bringing to bear on this important issue is to be applauded.”

Dr Martin Gibson, programme director for Envirowise added: “The agreement has an important role to play in helping to improve water efficiency in the food and drink industry and to achieving significant savings of a precious resource. Envirowise worked on the strategic aims of the Food Industry Sustainability Strategy and we look forward to working with industry to help them achieve their water reduction goals.”

The 21 companies which have signed up to the commitment are: apetito; Birds Eye Iglo; Britvic; Cadbury Schweppes; Coca-Cola Enterprises; GlaxoSmithKline; Kellogg Marketing & Sales Co; Kraft Foods UK; Mars Snackfood; Müller Dairy (UK); Nestlé UK; PepsiCo UK; Premier Foods; Tate & Lyle; UIN Foods; Unilever UK; Uniq; United Biscuits; Warburtons; Weetabix; and Young’s Seafood.

These companies generate a combined annual turnover of over £15 billion.

Sam Bond

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