The Courtauld Commitment is an industry agreement set up in 2005 which required signatories to make significant inroads into reducing food waste and packaging on the products they manufactured or sold.

Now this week those signatories have agreed to up their game, setting tougher targets that, if met, will lead to carbon emissions being reduced by three million tones and a cash saving for industry and customers in the region of £1bn.

Phase Two of the Cortauld Commitment will come into effect in April and run until the end of 2012.

During that period its signatories will cut food and packaging waste by a further 5%, help consumers reduce the amount of food they waste and take steps to reduce the volume of packaging while increasing recycling rates.

A consultation on ambitious new targets to recycle over 70% of packaging waste was also published today that could save approximately eight million tonnes of waste from landfill, and nine million tonnes of greenhouse gases by 2020.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said: “A fifth of household waste is packaging, and more than half of this comes from the groceries we buy.

“This packaging can be essential but in many cases using less and smarter packaging can achieve the same result.

“Grocery manufacturers and retailers have already started to take action and have halted the increase in packaging.

“The new commitment sees them go further than ever in reducing food waste and packaging, and making it smarter – and I want to see members of the industry continuing to sign-up over the coming months.”

Pahse One of the commitment saw its 42 signatories completely halt a growth in packaging.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) will announce results of efforts to reduce packaging and food waste later this year.

Liz Goodwin, WRAP CEO, said: “One of the biggest challenges society faces over the next decade is reducing the environmental impact of the things we buy.

“This new agreement will bring about changes ranging from more efficient methods of production right through to the impact of household consumption.

“It’s no longer enough to look at the impact of packaging alone – that’s why Courtauld Commitment II takes into account the environmental impact of product waste in the supply chain as well as at household level.

“We’re thrilled that so many signatories – old and new – have already committed to this new agreement, and we hope that many more will soon follow their example.”

Signatories to Courtauld II are AG Barr, Alliance Boots, Apetito, Arla Foods, Asda, Britvic, Constellation Europe, Cooperative Retail, Dairy Crest, Danone Dairies, Danone Water, Fosters EMEA, HJ Heinz, Innocent Soft Drinks, Mars (UK), Morrisons, Muller Dairies, Musgraves, Nestle, Northern Foods, Robert Wisemans, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Unilever, Vimto, Waitrose, Warburtons and Weetabix.

Sam Bond

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