Food and drink sector hungry for environmental success

Major players in the British food and drink sector are working towards targets which will see them making significant reductions to their environmental impact.

Speaking at SustainabilityLive! on Tuesday, Carlton Young, director of sustainability and competitiveness for the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) told delegates that members of the trade association had made a commitment to a five-point plan which would reduce their impact in a variety of areas.

The plan will see them cut carbon emissions by 20% on 1990 levels by 2010 with an aspiration of taking that figure to 30% by 2020.

They will also aim for zero food waste and packaging waste sent to landfill within their own operations by 2015 as well as reducing levels of packaging reaching consumers and education campaigns to encourage the public to take steps to reduce their own packaging waste.

Water efficiency is also an area the federation is looking at, with a target of a 20% reduction on 2007 levels by 202 and the final piece of the jigsaw is addressing food miles.

The target here is a 20% reduction in the ‘environmental and social impact’ of transport used by the sector by 2012, compared with 2002 levels.

Mr Young gave concrete examples of how individual corporations had already made progress on this agenda.

Tate & Lyle will make cut the CO2 emissions of its Thames cane sugar refinery by 70% through the installation of a biomass boiler, for example, while United Biscuits is committed to using recyclable materials in 80% of its packaging.

“Our members are convinced of the environmental imperatives,” he said.

“The FDF has made a firm and public collective commitment.”

Sam Bond

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