UK’s food and drink sector targets net-zero emissions by 2040

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF), which represents more than 300 companies, has today (27 April) unveiled an ambition on behalf of the sector to reach net-zero emissions by 2040.

UK’s food and drink sector targets net-zero emissions by 2040

The FDF will launch a dedicated roadmap to net-zero at COP26

The FDF has announced the net-zero ambition and is already engaging with its stakeholders and members across the entire food and drink supply chain to outline the steps they can take to respond to the climate crisis.

The net-zero commitment for 2040 is 10 years ahead of the national target. The FDF will launch a dedicated roadmap to net-zero and a handbook for business, which outline how ingredients, packaging, manufacturing, distribution and storage and the role of customers will all help reach net-zero. These documents will be launched at COP26 in November this year.

The FDF’s head of climate change and energy policy, Emma Piercy, said: “We are delighted to announce the FDF’s Net-Zero by 2040 ambition. Leading the sectors’ progress in decarbonisation requires essential collaboration across the supply chain, and together we are driving the delivery of Net Zero food and drink products on supermarket shelves by 2040.

“In food and drink manufacturing, the programme of support provided by Government and industry associations are key drivers to building momentum on Net-Zero. We thank Andrew Griffith MP in his role as Net Zero Business Champion on driving this forward and his work on the SME Climate Hub.”

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.

The net-zero ambition builds on strong progress in the sector to date. The sector has collectively slashed carbon emissions by 55% since 1990, surpassing a target set for 2025.

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 Government’s Net Zero Business Champion, Andrew Griffith MP, said: “I welcome the ambitious steps being taken by the Food and Drink Federation in launching their 2021 work programme on Net Zero and the commitment to being net-zero by 2040. This pioneering target in such an important sector of the economy will strengthen the UK’s position as a global climate leader in this year of COP26.”

Mission Possible: Achieving a net-zero carbon future for food and drink manufacturing

As part of Mission Possible, edie’s award-winning campaign which empowers organisations to ramp up areas across all areas of sustainable development, edie is hosting an insight report exploring ow food and drink manufacturers are driving forwards towards net-zero across their own operations and the supply chain. 

You can access this downloadable 16-page report, produced in association with Centrica Business Solutions, by clicking here

Matt Mace

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