Waste targets within reach for grocery

GROCERY RETAILERS and manufacturers in the UK are making significant progress in meeting the waste and recycling targets set out in phase 2 of the Courtauld Commitment.


Companies have already managed to cut packaging weight and waste by 5.1% and reduce household food waste by 3%. This puts them well on track to meet the targets of 10% and 4% respectively by 2012.


More challenging has been reducing packaging and product waste in the supply chain. Reductions so far total 0.4%, with a 2012 target of 5%.


The progress has been published by WRAP, the Waste and Resources Action Programme. The results will make interesting reading for foodservice companies, with Wrap currently working up a similar agreement for the foodservice sector to help cut its waste.


The Courtauld Commitment is a voluntary agreement that began in 2005 to encourage businesses to improve their overall performance and reduce their environmental impact. As part of phase I retailers helped to prevent 1.2 million tonnes of food and packaging waste.


Phase 2 began in March 2010 and is due to complete in December 2012. Phase 2 follows the original Courtauld Commitment, but moves away from solely weight-based targets and aims to achieve more sustainable use of resources over the entire lifecycle of products, throughout the whole supply chain.


At the launch of Phase 2 on 4 March 2010, 29 major retailers and brand owners had already pledged their commitment to this voluntary agreement. Currently, there are now 53 signatories.


British Retail Consortium head of environment Bob Gordon said: “The environmental targets retailers are working towards are difficult so it’s great to see the effort is already paying off. Waste within the supply chain is a particular challenge because preventing it can require investment and for businesses to introduce new processes. The ground-work is being done which will lead to bigger improvements in the near future.”


For details of Wrap’s plans for the foodservice industry, see the latest issue 13 of Foodservice Footprint.