CO2 emissions cut by half as food firms step up on sustainability: FDF

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock/Petmal
©iStock/Petmal

Related tags: Carbon dioxide

Sustainability efforts made by some of Europe’s leading food manufacturers slashed CO2 emissions from manufacturing operations by more than half in 2016 compared to a 1990 baseline, says the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).

According to the FDF's latest sustainability progress report, actions carried out by Mars, Coca-Cola European Partners and Warburtons, put the industry on track with commitments set out in the FDF's Ambition 2025 initiative.

“The Sustainability Resource Hub is the next step on our journey to support a shift towards integrating sustainable sourcing into decision making at all levels throughout the supply chain and achieving our Ambition 2025,” ​said Helen Munday, FDF’s chief scientific officer.

“Following the publication of the 25-year Environment Plan, we look forward to working closely with Government and other key stakeholders on evidence-based approaches to sustainability, including dealing with plastic waste and protecting and enhancing Britain's natural capital.”

The fall in CO2 emissions — an absolute energy reduction in manufacturing operations of 51% — was in part attributed to the continued focus on energy efficiency and decarbonisation.

Results from the Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme also showed manufacturers contributing to a 7% reduction in average kilogram CO2 equivalent emissions per vehicle/km in 2015 compared to 2010.

However, it was also acknowledged that a fall in production in sub-sectors such as meat (beef and pork) and chocolate could also be partly responsible, although this could be reversed in future years.

Ambition 2025

CO2 reduction forms one of a series of commitments set out in the Ambition 2025, FDF’s plan to deliver a more sustainable food system.

FDF member companies Bettys & Taylors, Britvic, Mars, Matthew Algie, Mondelez International, PepsiCo, Pladis and Warburtons have expressed their commitment to the cause.

Other goals outlined include reductions in food waste, packaging, water usage and transport operations.

The report revealed that between 2007 and 2016, FDF members had reduced their absolute water consumption by 35.8%.

In addition, the amount of water consumed per tonne of product was reduced by 36.6% over the same period.

Coca-Cola and Warburtons

Coca Cola European Partners (CCEP), another food firm actively involved in Ambition 2025, recently launched an initiative with the University of Reading to use refillable containers that were micro-chipped to interact with the dispenser technology.

This allowed students and staff to buy all their soft drinks in reusable bottles. This refill system also helps people to reduce their own packaging footprint.

We believe that there is much more we can do as we grow our business in a responsible and sustainable way,” ​said Leendert den Hollander, vice president and general manager at Coca-Cola European Partners.

Together with The Coca-Cola Company, CCEP’s collaboration with the university forms part its ‘This is Forward’ initiative in November 2017 in which den Hollander described as “a critical part of our long-term business strategy”.

UK breadmaker Warburtons also detail its efforts in promoting the ‘natural capital’ of the environment.

Its Farm Visit programme, developed in partnership with the Country Trust and Openfield, teaches primary school children about the importance of sustainable farming and the diverse natural environment.

“We're proud to play a role in Ambition 2025, working alongside industry peers to act responsibly and protect the environment for generations to come,” ​said Brett Warburton, executive director for the firm.

“We worked with key suppliers and our growers, deepening our relationships beyond wheat production into socially responsible activities.

“Together, we've promoted the role of the countryside to children, helping them understand the importance of protecting it for generations to come.”

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