U.K. Food and Beverage Majors Pledge to Cut Resource Intensity by 20% In a Decade

Food retailers in the United Kingdom have joined hands to save resources across the F&B supply chain worldwide. The pioneering pledge was made this week in a bid to cut back on the resource intensity of the United Kingdom F&B industry to one fifth of what it is now by 2025. This could lead to savings of as much as GBP 20 bn during this period.

The Courtauld Commitment 2025 sees the coming together of virtually every leading food retailer in the United Kingdom. In addition to food retailers, other entities such as foodservice companies, branded manufacturers, local authorities and trade bodies will be a part of the pledge. The sheer magnitude of participation has led many people in the industry to bill it as the largest cross-supply-chain agreement in the world. The ultimate aim of the agreement is to reduce the environmental impact of the nation’s food and drink industry.

As part of this commitment, signatories have agreed to bring about a 20% reduction in the current levels of food wastage in the United Kingdom. Stakeholders will also work to bring about a 20% cut in the intensity of greenhouse gases in the food and drink products consumed in the country. The third focus of the commitment will be on the prudent use of water across the industry’s supply chain.

According to the Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), food and beverage companies will themselves enjoy business savings to the tune of GBP 4 bn as they put the commitment into action.

Here are some of the key highlights of the commitment:
•    Bring lower-impact products to consumers through the commitment
•    Provide products more efficiently
•    Help consumers gain more value from F&B products they are purchasing
•    Find ways to best use waste and surplus food

Implementing the program was imperative considering that massive amounts of food finds its way into trash every year in the United Kingdom. According to a WRAP study, one ton of food is wasted for every two tons consumed. These figures put into perspective the pressing need that prevailed for reducing resource intensity. The milestone years for this program are 2018, 2021, and 2025. 

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