WRAP names new Courtauld 2025 signatories as focus shifts to consumer waste

WRAP has announced the names of the 24 new signatories to its flagship Courtauld Commitment 2025 to boost sustainability in the food and drink sector, with a first-year review outlining plans to tackle consumer food waste in 2018.

The new signatories, all of which have signed up since WRAP’s last signatory announcement in September 2016, will collaborate over a 10-year time period to achieve a 20% reduction in food waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

Notable new signatories include AccorHotels UK & Ireland, Hovis, INCPEN, ISS UK, Scotland Food and Drink and the Welsh Government Association. These organisations join the join 156 signatories to the Courtauld Commitment 2025, which covers 95% of the UK food retail market.

Commenting on the announcement, Environment Minister Therese Coffey said: “Resource efficiency can lead to better sustainability, increased productivity and when it works well is a real boost to UK industry.

“The Courtauld agreement has secured impressive commitment from across the supply chain – from farm to fork – and I can see real progress being made, with many businesses working in collaboration. I look forward to seeing work develop and continued industry innovation that will to accelerate the pace of change even further.”

Research from WRAP found that food and drink waste is costing manufacturers £1.9bn annually and the signatories of the initiative will work together to reduce the costs as part of a more holistic approach to sustainability.

The signatories were announced alongside a review of the first twelve months of Courtauld 2025. The report outlines how WRAP has worked to date to create working groups that link retailers with suppliers.

Consumer waste

WRAP revealed that much of 2018 will be spent exploring ways to tackle consumer waste, which accounts for 70% of the UK’s food waste and costs families £700 on average yearly.

“This first year has been about creating sector-wide collaboration and developing networks for change, and I’m very pleased with how signatories have responded,” WRAP’s director of business programmes Steve Creed said.

“We want to catalyse collaborative action on household food waste, and bring together groups at work across the UK in coordinated action behind a common ambition to accelerate, and make it easier for everyone to drive change. Signatories, including retailers, brands and local authorities, will have the opportunity to play a leading role in coordinating engagement plans going forward.”

One area where retailers could improve consumer food waste levels is readdressing packaging and labels. WRAP estimates that tweaks in this area could save UK homes £1bn annually. Earlier this week, East of England Co-op announced a food waste clampdown with a scheme that allows shoppers to purchase food items past their best-before date.

Another effort being explored by signatories of the initiative is an aim to double the amount of surplus food that is redistributed across the UK.

Already, UK retailers and manufacturers have generated an estimated £100m in food waste savings over a three-year period as part of WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment Phase 3 – the prelude to the Courtauld Commitment 2025.

Looking ahead, WRAP is hoping to add a water ambition to the programme, based on the findings that eight of the top ten countries that the UK imports from are drought-prone.

WRAP will report against the targets of the commitment, with the first scheduled for 2019 to compare 2018 progress against the 2015 baseline year.

Matt Mace

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie