Food and drink businesses meet carbon reduction goals five years early
The UK's food and drinks sector has collectively slashed carbon emissions by 55% since 1990, surpassing a target set for 2025.
The latest research from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), which represents more than 300 companies across the national sector, outlines corporate efforts to reduce emissions and improve sustainability across the value chain.
FDF’s ‘Ambition 2025’ strategy is headlined by commitments to help members reduce absolute CO2 emissions by 55%, against a 1990 baseline, and to support year-on-year reductions in food waste on a “farm to fork” basis.
The Federation has today (24 February) confirmed that the 55% target has been achieved five years ahead of schedule.
Additionally, FDF members have delivered strong progress on water stewardship. Between 2007 and 2019, members reduced absolute water consumption by more than 41%, while also reducing the amount of water consumer per tonne of product by 44.5%.
On food waste, FDF members are contributing to the UK’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap. The latest data shows that Roadmap members have saved more than 180,000 tonnes of food from going to waste, equivalent to £300m. To date, 37 FDF members are signatories, while all FDF members are aiming to send zero waste to landfill.
FDF’s chief scientific officer, Helen Munday, said: “I am delighted to share these two reports more widely and highlight the excellent progress FDF members have already against the targets set. It’s incredible that we are half-way to reaching the end of this project is 2025 and we are seeing our members fully achieve some of the targets we set out in 2016.
“Despite the difficult year the industry has faced, sustainability and environmental initiatives have remained at the forefront of our agenda and this is clearly seen in the progress being made. We of course know there is more to achieve which is why we undertook the Mid-Term Review work, and can now present fresh, forward-thinking targets which we know our members are keen to embrace.”
Last year the FDF claimed that the UK's food and drink manufacturing sector will be able to slash emissions by almost two-thirds by 2050, but will require further action and ambition from the government if it is to go further and align with the national net-zero goal.
The FDF’s report found that Scope 2 (power-related) emissions account for the majority of the sector’s carbon footprint, with 97% of its direct footprint attributable to natural gas and the majority of the remaining 3% accounted for by electricity. Of the natural gas sourced by the sector between 2012 and 2020, 80% was used in boilers and direct-fired ovens.