WRAP today (Wednesday 6 December) announced the names of 24 new signatories to the Courtauld Commitment 2025 (Courtauld 2025), as the sustainability body published its first review of work underway through the food & drink sector voluntary agreement. New signatories include ABP Food Group, Accor Hotels UK & Ireland, The Federation of Bakers, Hovis, ISS UK and the Welsh Local Government Association, who join 156 organisations working collaboratively through Courtauld 2025 to cut by one fifth the resources needed to provide UK’s food & drink, in ten years.
Today’s review covers the first 12 months of Courtauld 2025, outlining how WRAP has collaborated with partners to set the groundwork for forthcoming activities, and details the key outputs already launched. Steve Creed, Director of Business Programmes at WRAP explains: “This first year has been about creating sector-wide collaboration and developing networks for change, and I’m very pleased with how signatories have responded.
“In just one year, for example, we’ve set up ten working groups covering a range of key issues from tackling the largest food waste categories, to driving consumer behavioural change. The meat and livestock group includes producer bodies, processors, retailers and hospitality & food service. The group will spend 2018 testing on-farm resource-efficiency measures and exploring ways to tackle consumer food waste, for example through reducing confusion around freezing. Work is also underway in Wales mapping red meat products and by-products from abattoirs that will give new insight into opportunities to improve efficiency, and maximise carcase use. And that’s just one working group.
“This review gives me confidence for what will follow, but we need industry to focus now on building on these foundations.”
To illustrate how Courtauld 2025’s holistic approach from farm to fork is already delivering change, WRAP sets out achievements under sector categories. A snapshot of these is given below, while the full picture can be viewed online.
Collaboration in action
WRAP worked with businesses and sector bodies to create and deliver the Your Business is Food; don’t throw it away campaign for the hospitality and food service sector. Free tools and resources now help businesses to track, cost and act on food waste. The Your Business is Food calculator, for example, made it possible for the Ship Inn (Barrow in Furness) to reduce its food waste by 72 per cent. Leading sector organisations the British Hospitality Association, British Beer and Pub Association, Sustainable Restaurant Association and Soil Association are promoting the campaign, and WRAP is developing a similar campaign for food manufacturers.
Your Workplace Without Waste is Courtauld Commitment 2025’s employee engagement programme which helps food and drink businesses engage employees in finding ways to cut waste, and identify surpluses that can be redistributed. The resource pack includes a waste ‘Treasure Hunt’, and this new resource is helping companies realise significant cost reductions. Puffin Produce is one such business which delivered Your Workplace Without Waste to staff and found new opportunities to redistribute surplus food to people, instead of sending it to animal feed.
Courtauld 2025’s Raw Materials Risks and Opportunities Screening Tool helps businesses improve long-term sustainability in their supply chains by highlighting potential risks, and offering advice to mitigate against these. Created in collaboration with signatories and experts, it covers a range of categories (and locations) including fruits, vegetables, grains, livestock and feedstuffs. It helps check for risks from water scarcity, floods and droughts, temperature change, land use degradation, food waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Sarah Wakefield, Sustainability Manager at the Co-op said: “The Tool captured our imagination because we were looking for something which would help us cut through the vast amounts of complexity around raw materials sourcing.”
Using unavoidable food waste and surpluses as new revenue streams is the focus of the waste valorisation programme. WRAP’s mapping tool can trace wastes and by-products generated through the manufacturing process, allowing Courtauld Commitment 2025 signatories from the dairy, fresh produce, bakery and beverage sectors to identify key wastes and by-products. WRAP has found commercially viable opportunities to minimise these wastes, by converting them into valuable new products.
The first year of Courtauld 2025 saw signatories agree to double the amount of surplus food redistributed for human consumption by 2020. This means an additional 60m meals, worth an estimated £60m, could feed people in need each year. WRAP has also worked with the Food Standards Agency and Defra Labelling to update and expand labelling best practice guidance for retailers and manufacturers, to help reduce waste and increase redistribution.
Helping us all to save more food
The Love Food Hate Waste campaign delivered big initiatives in 2016, including a partnership with 20th Century Fox for the DVD launch of Ice Age 5: Collision Course. The campaign shared messages about freezer storage.
The ‘Give Up Binning Food Instead’ challenge encouraged people to give up putting food in the bin for Lent, rather than cutting out the more traditional sacrifices like chocolate. The campaign achieved over five million impressions on social media and gave 40-days of daily tips on food waste prevention themes.
In 2016, Love Food Hate Waste supported Asda’s Community Life Champions on a campaign to help customers save food from being wasted by making the most of their freezer. Called ‘Easy Freezy’, activities took place in 350 stores across the UK.
What the future holds
Looking forward, the Courtauld 2025 Review highlights key actions to be completed in the coming months and years. For WRAP, focus remains on reducing the environmental impact of the UK’s food in the home, while helping organisations and businesses improve their productivity through greater resource efficiency across the supply chain. Steve Creed explains: “We want to catalyse collaborative action on household food waste, and bring together groups at work across the UK in coordinated action behind a common ambition to accelerate, and make it easier for everyone to drive change. Signatories, including retailers, brands and local authorities, will have the opportunity to play a leading role in coordinating engagement plans going forward.
“In line with the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy, Courtauld 2025 is positioned to help identify where resource efficiency is an issue across the supply chain and develop and share best practice to help increase productivity, and eliminate waste. This calls for strategic and collaborative action by sector leaders, and that’s why setting down strong roots for Courtauld 2025 in this first year has been so important.”
With eight of the top ten countries from which the UK imports its food drought-prone, water is becoming an increasingly unpredictable factor. A water ambition is being developed for Courtauld 2025 that includes a framework for increasing collective action in areas of water stress. Working closely with World Wildlife Fund, the Rivers Trust and experts in this field, WRAP is helping businesses identify water risks and impacts – and starting to coordinate collective actions in areas of common risk.