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Courtauld Commitment 3 Delivers over £100 million business savings by reducing food waste over three year period

Minimising food waste is one of the main challenges for the food and drink sector. According to WRAP, the food waste experts that work with governments, businesses, local authorities and consumers to improve resource efficiency, approximately 10 million tonnes of food and drink are thrown out (post farm gate) in the UK every year with a value of £17 billion. Around 60% of this is avoidable and could have been consumed [1] . In addition, the estimated amount of household food waste in the UK for 2015 was 7.3 million tonnes, compared to 7.0 million tonnes in 2012 [2] .

In order to tackle the problem, over 50 grocery retailers and food and drink manufacturers took part in the Courtauld Commitment 3 (CC3) and together helped deliver against three ambitious targets for the period between 2012 and 2015:
• To reduce food and packaging waste by 3% in manufacturing and retail;
• To improve packaging design and recyclability in the grocery supply chain without increasing the carbon impact; and
• To reduce household food and drink waste by 5%.

The manufacturing and retail target was met in full meaning grocery ingredient, product and packaging waste is down 3%. This equates to 219,000 tonnes of food and packaging waste prevented and representing a CO2e saving of 555,000 tonnes over the lifetime of the commitment; the value of the food savings alone were worth an estimated £100 million.

WRAP, which developed and managed the CC3 agreement on behalf of UK governments, also noted more waste had moved up the waste hierarchy as the recovery and recycling rate grew from 95% in 2012 to 99% in 2015 (equivalent to 89,000 tonnes of material in 2015).

The data suggests that signatories have achieved a significant increase in the amount of surplus food and drink redistributed for human consumption in 2015 (18,000 tonnes).

The packaging target was exceeded. This aimed to stop any increase in the impact of packaging in terms of carbon emissions by 2015.

Data shows a reduction at end of the agreement of 7%, significantly better than the target outcome while the amount of packaging material placed on the market increased by 1% over the same period, to just under three million tonnes. The main contributing factors for this fall were increased recycling rates for different packaging materials and changes in materials composition, where wood, polymer, aluminium and steel packaging have seen reductions both in total weight placed on the market and CO2e impact.

The household food and drink waste target has not been met, with household food waste in 2015 estimated to be 7.3Mt compared to 7Mt in 2012. Whilst this difference may not be statistically significant, it is clear that progress to reduce household food waste at a UK level have stalled [1] .

References

[1] http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/Courtauld_Commitment_3_final_rep...
[2] http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/unite-food-waste-fight



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