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UK industry updates on 2025 sustainability goals: “Good progress” includes CO2 emission and water co

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2019-01-31  Views: 20
Core Tip: The UK Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has published an in-depth progress report detailing how members are working towards meeting a set of commitments, Ambition 2025, that seeks to deliver a more sustainable food system.
The UK Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has published an in-depth progress report detailing how members are working towards meeting a set of commitments, Ambition 2025, that seeks to deliver a more sustainable food system. As the importance of sustainability continues to grow, the food industry is expected to step up its game in terms of sustainability initiatives and is “challenged like never before to account for its output from farm-to-fork.”

The 2018 report illustrates the work done by the FDF and its members towards the organization’s environmental ambitions set out in 2016. This includes a reduction in CO2 emissions, down 53 percent since 1990 and a decrease in water consumption, down 39 percent since 2008.

Helen Munday, Chief Scientific Officer, FDF, tells that its members have continued to make good progress towards its Ambition 2025 sustainability commitments on CO2 emissions and water.

“Looking forward, we hope that our work to promote and support sustainable supply chains and natural capital will help the food and drink industry improve their sustainability as a whole. The current public discourse around plastics and packaging sheds light on the complexity of supply chains and the importance of considering our impacts,” she says.

Over the course of the past year, FDF has supported several sustainability initiatives, including the UK Plastics Pact, of which the organization is a founding signatory, along with its members. It also contributed to recommendations for reform of the packaging producer responsibility system which helped influence the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra's) recently published Resources and Waste Strategy, as well as supporting the food waste campaigns Your Business is Food and Food Waste Reduction Roadmap.

The FDF Ambition 2025, carried forward the success of the FDF Five-Fold Environmental Ambition. The adoption of Ambition 2025 by members expressed a desire to go even further and take strides towards shaping future value chains.

“This year was dominated by striking images and compelling evidence of the impact of plastic pollution on our natural environment. The food and drink manufacturing industry has been challenged like never before to account for its output from farm-to-fork and beyond,” adds Munday.

“Our membership is determined to step up to this challenge while addressing the other aspects of our Ambition 2025 and maintaining the key aspects of food safety.”

Playing a positive role in building resilient and sustainable value chains
The food and drink manufacturing industry has an interest in protecting and enhancing the natural environment because of its reliance on a continuous, adequate supply of raw materials.

The FDF believes the industry plays a positive role in building more resilient and sustainable value chains into the future as transformational change cannot be driven by any single actor. FDF members have a unique position in the supply chain and provide an opportunity to tackle these issues in a holistic manner. For example, innovative packaging solutions can keep food fresher for longer, save money and reduce waste, of both packaging and food, the FDF notes.

Taking a closer look at what some FDF members have been doing
The 2025 Ambition progress report details case studies of large-scale companies and their sustainability initiatives with some of the key themes being packaging, water reduction and cutting down on food waste. Below is some of the work.

British Sugar – Water
Sustainability is at the heart of everything British Sugar does as a business and its parent company, AB Sugar, recently launched their 2030 sustainability commitments including diverse value chains that increase the prosperity of their communities, providing objective scientific advice on sugar, diet and health to more than 25 million people around the world. Additionally, they aim to reduce their end-to-end supply chain water and CO2 footprints by 30 percent and ensure that all their plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable, biodegradable or compostable.

Since 2014, British Sugar has reduced water usage across its operational activities by 26 percent. This aligns to British Sugar's commitment to the FDF’s challenge to reduce water usage by 20 percent by 2020.

“Our vision is to do more with less. We focus on using all our resources responsibly. We've created improvements at our factories through years of sustained investment,” says Phillip McNaughton Company Environment Manager, British Sugar.

Coca Cola GB – Water

Coca-Cola Great Britain is committed to handling water carefully across its business and value chain. In 2012, it established a long-term partnership with WWF in East Anglia to aid sustainable agriculture while protecting England's unique chalk stream rivers. The project drives further collective action amongst stakeholders and promotes the positive role businesses can play in water stewardship.

The project works in two river catchments in East Anglia, which include some of the UK's most precious wildlife habitats and rivers. However, most rivers in the area are failing to meet good ecological status due to pollution from agricultural production and over-abstraction. Through farm visits, meetings, and events with a range of stakeholders, the partnership has engaged with over 2,500 farmers to improve the way they manage their land and reduce the impacts of production on the freshwater environment.

Using their work to showcase good practice, the partnership demonstrates and encourages collective action between the “golden triangle” of civil society, business and government. Their work has instigated an upscaling of water stewardship across East Anglia and nationally.

“Water stewardship is at the heart of our business, with water being the most important ingredient in all our drinks. Not only is it vital for us to protect the sustainability of our water for future generations, we're also committed to replenishing 100 percent of the water we use in areas of water stress,” says Jon Woods General Manager, Coca-Cola UK.

“Our WWF partnership over the past six years has achieved some remarkable results and we want to continue to show other businesses the positive impacts that water stewardship and nature-sensitive farming can bring and encourage them to join us in this important work.”

Premier Foods Case Study – Food Waste
Premier is one of Britain's biggest listed food companies, responsible for the manufacture of brands such as Ambrosia, Homepride and Mr. Kipling. Premier has been working for years to eliminate food waste, reduce it, or move food waste up the food hierarchy to redistribution or animal feed and, in 2017, made the commitment to reduce their food waste in their own operations by 50 percent by 2030.

In the last 12 months, Premier has identified a number of opportunities to drive down food waste. One project, completed in early 2018 at their Ashford UK site, has so far removed more than 350 tons of salt food waste from anaerobic digestion disposal. The salt is cleaned and recycled back into salt that can be used as a water softener in the boiler systems.

Premier has also been actively working to increase food redistribution through Company Shop and their charity, Community Shop. This has enabled them to increase their food redistribution by 36 percent during the calendar year to December 31, 2017 compared to 2016. Further increases in food redistribution are planned, and Premier has set the target to more than double the tonnage of food redistributed in 2018 compared to 2017.

Further opportunities have been identified in Premier's dairy grocery waste. Premier is in discussions with potential partners to redirect dairy food waste from their Devon Creamery into animal feed. Currently, faulty cans of custard and rice pudding are sent into anaerobic digestion disposal because the food product is difficult to remove. Premier believe it would be possible to remove the food from its packaging, use it as animal feed and then recycle the packaging.

“Food waste is one of our top environmental priorities,” says Lee Haughton Company Environmental Management and Compliance Coordinator. “The work we have carried out with our salt and increasing redistribution, and the work we have planned, will go a long way to achieving the 20 percent reduction in food waste by 2025. Until you measure and then question what happens to your food waste, it is difficult to act and improve,” he concludes.
 
 
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