The Courtauld Commitment 2025 to transform UK food and drink

The UK’s resource efficiency charity WRAP, on behalf of the UK Govern...

The UK’s resource efficiency charity WRAP, on behalf of the UK Government and Devolved Administrations, has unveiled a pioneering commitment, signed by the EAUC, which brings together organisations from across the food system for the first time to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable for the future.

As signatories, the EAUC will be able to share any resulting resources on the Sustainability Exchange, facilitating shared learning and helping members to refine their food and drink policies and systems.

The Courtauld Commitment 2025 is the world–leading voluntary agreement to work along the entire food chain to reduce the environmental impact of our food and drink, from farm to fork and beyond. Signatories announced at the launch of the agreement include the world’s largest food and drink manufacturer, and all the major UK retailers; representing over 93% of the 2016 UK market share.

  • Retailers: Aldi, ASDA, CO-OP, Lidl, M&S, Morrisons, Musgraves, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.
  • Brands & manufacturers: Associated British Food, ARLA, Coca Cola Enterprises, Heineken, Nestlé, Premier Foods, Unilever, and Warburtons.
  • Hospitality and food service: Apetito, Bidvest, Compass, KFC, OCS, Pizza Hut.
  • Local authorities: 23 authorities including the London Waste and Recycling Board and the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee representing more than 31% of the UK’s population.
  • Trade and sector organisations and Academia: British Hospitality Association, British Retail Consortium, Chilled Food Association, Dairy UK, Food & Drink Federation, Food Standards Agency, Institute of Hospitality, Sustainable Restaurant Association and WWF.

The commitment goes further than ever before with three ambitious targets:

1) A 20% reduction in food and drink waste arising in the UK

2) A 20% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity of food and drink consumed in the UK

3) A reduction in impact associated with water use in the supply chain

The Commitment will drive best practice through its unique whole-system approach to the way food and drink is produced, sold and consumed in the UK. For the first time it will bring all parties together under one voluntary agreement to achieve collective goals. By building on the progress already achieved with retailers, brands, manufacturers and the hospitality sector and bringing in the farming sector and local authorities it will be more challenging, but also more rewarding. Signatories will work together with WRAP to identify new actions and opportunities to save resources which can be shared across the entire supply chain, to make the whole system more sustainable and resilient to supply chain disruptions. Signatories also commit to implementing changes, measuring the benefits, and helping other businesses and people to realise savings.

Local authorities and trade bodies will be vital in helping engage people in and out of home and raise awareness to a wider range of businesses outside of the main signatory base, essential given the targets extend to UK-wide impacts.

WRAP will report on progress to reflect the combined impact across the entire food system, and estimates that meeting the Commitment targets will deliver £20 billion worth of savings to the UK economy. The majority of the savings will be enjoyed by individuals; with approximately £4 billion in business savings possible. The Commitment will help the UK deliver its part in the objectives of COP 21, and put the UK on track to halve household and retail waste delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3.

Dr Richard Swannell, Director of sustainable food systems at WRAP, said “The pressures of resource scarcity, population growth and our changing climate will have profound effects on our food supply in the coming years, and business efficiency. To safeguard UK food we need a step-change to increase sustainable food and drink production and consumption, conserve resources and combat climate change. Courtauld 2025 will do this.

“Collaboration has never been more important, which is why I want to thank the businesses and organisations that have committed to taking action. This is an ambitious undertaking and having key signatories on board on day one puts us in a strong position at the start of this new era for our food industry. I look forward to welcoming other leading organisations as signatories over the coming weeks, months and years and delivering this ambitious agreement.”

“Courtauld 2025 is our most ambitious agreement yet and we are delighted that the EAUC has pledged their support as a signatory. We are faced with some big challenges ahead with rising populations, climate change and dwindling resources. But tackling food waste offers a practical option to address these challenges and in doing so, will create new opportunities. Only by working together can we hope to realise the big changes that are essential to ensuring a more prosperous future for individuals, businesses and the planet.”

WRAP will work directly with industry and other stakeholders to support actions under four main areas:

  • Embedding sustainable principles and practices into the design, buying and sourcing of food;
  • Optimising resource efficiency throughout entire supply chains to help produce more
  • To influence behaviours around consumption and reduce waste in the home; and
  • To find innovative ways to make the best use of surplus and waste food.

The full list of signatories can be seen in the press release, which you can download below. 
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