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Resource efficiency set to rise in prominence

By Rod Addy , 17-Oct-2012
Last updated on 18-Oct-2012 at 09:47 GMT

Resource efficiency will be even more crucial for the food industry in the coming year as it fights to prevent production costs from being passed on to consumers.

That’s the opinion of Andrew Kuyk, director of sustainability and competitiveness at UK trade body the Food & Drink Federation (FDF).

Kuyk told FoodProductionDaily.com that the focus on keeping prices down to keep pressure off cash-strapped consumers would increase. “What’s going to be the focus of everyone’s attention of course is the pricing issue.

“All the cost pressures are in the wrong direction at a time when household income is under pressure as well. There will be an issue around the extent to which they [manufacturers] will be able to pass on cost pressures.”

‘Redoubling pressure’

As a result, he said, food and drink processors were “redoubling pressure on resource efficiency”. The challenge would be to continue to take cost out of the supply chain in a way that still achieved environmental aims.

Kuyk said sustainable sourcing and effective use of resources would be a core element of the FDF’s environmental work in the coming year.

“We’re conducting ongoing work on resource availability to support sustainable sourcing. Our availability steering group is looking at a business plan for the next year.”

The FDF was looking at producing guidance for manufacturers on that subject, he said. “We are producing a step-by-step guide for companies in terms of what a sustainable supply chain means, covering the generality of commodities and what sort of questions you should be asking your suppliers.

“In the next year to 18 months we will then be developing the web-based tools that get behind that.”

Entire supply chain

The FDF had been working to broaden its Five-fold Environmental Ambition strategy in the past year to encompass the entire supply chain, he said.

The organisation plans to release fresh figures on the food industry’s reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in December as the fifth year of its Fivefold Environmental Ambition strategy comes to an end.

“18 months ago the target of a 35% reduction [in greenhouse gas emissions for the food industry] by 2020 was set,” said Kuyk. “Last year we showed we were on track towards that and we’re hoping the figures we publish in December will confirm that.”

  • William Reed Business Media is organising Operational Efficiency 2012, a virtual conference, on November 29, starting at 2pm CET. The event will include three keynote webinar streams addressing the areas of supply chain efficiency; effective hygienic design and hygiene management; and efficient use of water as a resource.
  • Experts working with and in the food industry will give presentations on these topics/
  • To find out more, and sign up, go to: http://www.operationalefficiencyconference.com/index.php

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