Soft drinks sector braced for sustainability drive

Plans to develop a sustainability roadmap to improve resource efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of the soft drinks industry have been unveiled.

As part of the initiative, sustainability consultancy Best Foot Forward has launched a research programme to analyse the environmental impact across all areas of the industry and suppliers, with the aim of identifying hotspots and deciding where action is needed.

In particular, the consultancy will focus on soft drinks production and consumption, carbon emissions, resource efficiency and socio-economic issues, as well as the entire supply chain.

Project partners Defra and WRAP will then work with the sector to develop the roadmap for the future.

The soft drinks sector was identified by Defra as a key industry partner in the project as a result of its market value of more than £14m and an annual production exceeding 14bn litres per year.

It also follows research by WRAP which revealed that households are wasting about half-a-billion litres of soft drinks a year and that a large proportion of drink packaging ends up in landfill.

Water scarcity also impacts on the industry as it affects the supply of fruit and rising prices for key ingredients like sugar and PET (plastic) packaging.

British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) media director Richard Laming, said: “The soft drinks industry is determined to reduce its environmental impact and we want to work with the best experts available in order to do so. The results of this research will help every soft drinks company, whether a member of BSDA or not, to shrink its environmental footprint.”

WRAP director of design and waste prevention Dr Richard Swannell echoed this view and said that the research will also help industry better understand the impacts along the supply chain and to identify further areas for improvement.

Carys Matthews

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