Courtauld 2025 Year One: setting the foundations for change
WRAP has announced the names of twenty-four 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 twelve months of Courtauld 2025, and outlines 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. The full picture can be seen through this link .
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%. 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 60 million meals, worth an estimated £60 million, 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.
Notes to editor Environment Minister, Therese Coffey said. “Resource efficiency can lead to better sustainability, increased productivity and when it works well is a real boost to UK industry. The Courtauld agreement has secured impressive commitment from across the supply chain - from farm to fork – and I can see real progress being made, with many businesses working in collaboration.I look forward to seeing work develop and continued industry innovation that will to accelerate the pace of change even further.” Hannah Blythyn, Minister for Environment, Welsh Government said. “Good progress has been made since the figures were first reported in 2007 and it’s great to see the addition of the Welsh Local Government Association, Wales Tourism Alliance and Tyfu Cymru / Grow Wales. Cutting down on the amount of food we unnecessarily throw away is a priority in our waste strategy Towards Zero Waste. It also contributes to the goals of the Well-being of Future Generations Act. As this report shows, more can be done to tackle the still high amount of avoidable food waste that we are throwing away. It is a priority for this Government and is why we intend to consult on a target to halve food waste by 2025.” Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Scottish Government said. “The Scottish Government is proud to be a partner in the Courtauld Commitment 2025 which is a key priority to prevent the scourge of wasted food. Scotland was the first nation to set an ambitious target to cut all food waste by one third by 2025 as we recognise preventing it is one of the most effective ways of fighting climate change, delivering savings for businesses and households, and righting an essential wrong. The Scottish Government is keen to collaborate with other nations across the UK where it can have the most impact - especially when it comes to food waste in the supply chain, and in businesses and in the home. We are committed to continuing to deliver reductions through joint work such as the Courtauld Commitment, which has already achieved significant reductions and cost savings to business, and I am confident will continue to do so.” See full report for forewords by:
Helen Munday, Director of Food Safety, Science and Sustainability and Chief Scientific Officer, Food and Drink Federation
Alice Ellison, Environment Policy Adviser, British Retail Consortium
Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive, British Hospitality Association
Courtauld Commitment 2025 is the first voluntary agreement to tackle resource efficiency across the entire food chain, from primary production on farm to point of consumption. It will help businesses increase productivity and address sector-wide issues that lead to waste, greenhouse gas emissions and water stress. The agreement is developing and delivering solutions that will be shared widely and inspire change beyond individual signatories, and stimulate positive action right across the UK’s food system. The Courtauld Commitment 2025 has a target of a 20% reduction in food waste in the UK per capita, which includes waste across the entire food chain. Achieving this target will help the UK achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 by 2030 (which applies to consumer and retail food waste) relative to 2007, when the UK began this approach to collective action. New Courtauld Commitment 2025 signatories (since September 2016) include:
ABP Food Group
Accor Hotels UK & Ireland
Approved Food Ltd
British Meat Processors Association
Centre for Environment and Sustainability, University of Surrey
Dawn Meats (UK)
EPSRC - Funded Water - Energy - Food Stepping Up Project
The Federation of Bakers (FOB)
Food Waste Net
LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming)
Real Bread Campaign (part of Sustain)
Scotch Whisky Association
Scotland Food and Drink
The Bread and Butter Thing
The Rivers Trust
The Suffolk Waste Partnership
Tyfu Cymru / Grow Wales
Wales Tourism Alliance
Welsh Local Government Association
156 organisations from farm to fork are now engaged in Courtauld 2025, they include:
46 businesses: retailer signatories represent up to 95% of the UK food retail market; other businesses include some of the world’s leading brands, major companies in hospitality and food service, and top manufacturers in key product categories such as dairy, meat and bakery;
77 sector and trade organisations who share good practice with their members – including the British Retail Consortium, British Hospitality Association and Food & Drink Federation; and
33 local authority signatories representing 40% of the UK population, who play a key role in engaging their residents and small businesses.
WRAP will report on achievements against the specific C2025 targets in key years, the first being in 2019 comparing 2018 data with the baseline year (2015).