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New Courtauld figures show grocery sector on track

The latest results of the Courtauld Commitment Phase 2  released today show significant progress by grocery sector signatories against its ambitious waste reduction and recycling targets for food and packaging.

11 Oct 12

The UK-wide Courtauld Commitment is supported by all four UK governments and is run by waste prevention delivery body WRAP.  It is delivered in Scotland by WRAP’s Scottish programme, Zero Waste Scotland.

There has been a considerable reduction in supply chain waste: 8.8% less, well ahead of the three-year target of 5%. Supply chain waste reduction was added to the voluntary agreement in Phase 2 and has been an area of focus for WRAP and signatories over the past year, following moderate impact in 2010. The cost and efficiency benefits of tackling waste prevention at retail and manufacturing sites across the supply chain are now being realised. However, work is still needed to embed good practices allowing businesses to reap the full benefits of reducing waste.

The packaging target is also on course, at more than three quarters of the way towards the target 10% carbon reduction. The second year results are encouraging given they have been achieved alongside an increase in volume sales among signatories. Household food waste data is not collected yearly but 3% was achieved in the first year.  Data will be collected and results available for final year reporting.

These results demonstrate the continued commitment of grocery retailers, brands and manufacturers to reduce waste and increase recycling.  To meet all three targets a continued combined performance by signatories, trade bodies and WRAP is needed.  In particular, the success achieved by signatories in diverting waste from landfill has been substantial. The need to focus on waste prevention is ever increasing, which is a challenge and one being undertaken by signatories. 

This table contains Courtauld Commitment Phase 2 progress:

Objective One year reduction
Two year reduction (2009 – 11) The Courtauld Commitment Phase 2 targets  (2009 – 12)
Packaging – to reduce the weight, increase recycling rates and increase the recycled content of all grocery packaging, as appropriate 4.7% 8.2% 10%
Household food and drink waste – to reduce UK household food and drink waste 3%  Results are not collected yearly 4%
Supply chain product and packaging waste – to reduce traditional grocery product and packaging waste in the grocery supply chain 1.2% 8.8% 5%

Phase 2 of the voluntary agreement, which began in 2010, builds on the success of the first phase of the Courtauld Commitment. It continues to support businesses to improve their overall performance and reduce their environmental impact. It is due to conclude in December 2012.

WRAP is currently working with government colleagues, as well as current Courtauld signatories and trade bodies, to determine the best way forward following the completion of the second phase of the Courtauld Commitment. The agreed outcome will aim to build on the significant progress delivered so far for both phases of the voluntary agreement.

Dr Richard Swannell, Director, Design & Waste Prevention, WRAP, said:

“These are good results and indicative of the hard work that signatories have been putting in to be more resource efficient, benefiting of the environment and their bottom line. However, there is more to do.

“The reduction in supply chain waste is particularly important given it’s a new area for Courtauld. In this, its final year, we are continuing to work with the sector to help ensure the Courtauld Phase 2 targets are met in full.”

Lord de Mauley, Resource Management Minister said:

 “I’m pleased that more and more businesses are realising that reducing waste and packaging throughout their supply chain is not only good for the environment but good for their bottom line too. These results show impressive progress in cutting down on unnecessary packaging, which is in everyone’s interest, and I will be encouraging the industry to build on its efforts to ensure we continue to make substantial progress.”
Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s Environment Secretary, said:

"The Courtauld Commitment allows sectors to work together to devise practical approaches to reducing waste, to share expertise and demonstrate progress. By acting to reduce waste and recycle more the retail and grocery sectors can achieve savings in production and disposal of materials which can help protect Scotland’s natural environment and contribute to sustainable economic growth."

John Griffiths, the Welsh Government's Environment Minister, said:

“I am pleased to see retailers and manufacturers playing their part in reducing the environmental impact of their products and I congratulate all the signatories on meeting their targets.  Resource efficiency not only has environmental benefits but also provides opportunities for real cost savings for signatories.

“It is essential that we continue to make progress and I encourage retailers and manufacturers to intensify their efforts. In Wales, we are working towards the aspirations of Wales’ One Planet living and these sectors have an important role in this agenda.”

Alex Attwood, Northern Ireland Environment Minister, said:

'These interim results are very encouraging and provide welcome evidence of the retail sector's commitment to reducing unnecessary packaging and food waste.  This continued emphasis on resource efficiency and waste prevention complements the approach taken in Northern Ireland in the development of a revised Waste Management Strategy to be published early next year'.

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