Scottish food and drink sector cooks up first sustainability strategy

The Scottish food and drink industry has laid out its sustainability ambition through a cross-industry strategy.

[L-R] Iain Gulland, Director, Zero Waste Scotland; James Withers, Chief Executive, Scotland Food & Drink; Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment; Gavin Hewitt, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association and the Ind

[L-R] Iain Gulland, Director, Zero Waste Scotland; James Withers, Chief Executive, Scotland Food & Drink; Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment; Gavin Hewitt, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association and the Ind

Launched by the trade association Scotland Food & Drink, the strategy has been welcomed by the Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland.

The strategy will encourage the industry to realise the benefits of sustainability in their businesses and promote the sharing of best practice and collaborative working to achieve its objectives across the supply chain.

Launched last night at an event attended by more than 100 delegates representing Scottish food and drink businesses, the strategy focuses on five core themes.

These are the efficient use of resources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing waste sent to landfill, reducing the impact of transport and making businesses more resilient to climate change.

A set of commitments have been set in order to benchmark progress against targets annually.

Scotland Food & Drink chief executive James Withers said: "A commitment to sustainability is the mark of a progressive industry and this is the first collaborative strategy with the input of all food and drink sectors.

"Being sustainable means two things for the industry: a significant and growing contribution to the Scottish economy and responsible stewardship of our environment to the benefit of our reputation and growth."

The Scottish food and drink industry has been identified as a priority sector in delivering sustainable economic growth. The industry target of £12.5bn by 2017 will be surpassed early given the current value of £12.4bn, while exports have grown by more than 50% in the last five years.

Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead added: "The Scottish Government is passionate about maximising the high-quality food Scotland produces while ensuring that its production is sustainable and not wasteful.

"In a future of global uncertainty around water supply and food security, Scotland is blessed with comparatively rich resources. However, the need to manage these carefully and protect them has never been clearer."

Conor McGlone


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