The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has laid out a range of self-imposed deadlines, most importantly a collective drive to reach a 55% reduction in total emissions by 2025.
While the industry is performing well, this also means that individual food and drink manufacturers that are not keeping pace with the rate of change risk conceding an increasingly important competitive advantage.
Collectively, the industry looks set to meet the 2025 target laid out by the FDF. Since 1990, emissions have fallen 53%, leaving a crucial five-year period to find those last two percentage points of improvement. Alongside emissions, members have collectively reduced water consumption by 39% since 2007.
The FDF acknowledged that the UK food and drink sector faces unprecedented pressure to change, principally following a year of major sustainability commitments by key customers, particularly large supermarket chains.
This culminated in a commitment by Sainsburys to invest £1 billion in becoming carbon neutral, with competitors expected to make similar pledges of their own.
For manufacturers, there is a clear message that to continue commercial relations with these brands, nothing less than a comprehensive, company-wide approach to addressing sustainability is required.
2025 also marks the end of a ten-year drive by resource efficiency charity WRAP, on behalf of the UK Government, titled the Courtald commitment, to reduce the environmental impact of food and drink.
Over 100 signatories committed to targets, including a reduction in resource intensity of one-fifth, with a potential saving of £20 billion across the sector. The group includes leading supermarkets, manufacturers, trade organisations and local authorities.
While both the targets of the FDF and the Courtald commitment are voluntary agreements, both the number of signatories and the radical progress that has been made highlight how seriously they are being taken by the sector.
Much of the progress is attributed to collaboration, shared expertise and innovation. For food and drink manufacturers unsure of how to progress, the help and expertise is available, as well as clear examples from those that have already implemented sustainability strategies effectively.
These are just a few examples. The food and drink sector is leading the transitional journey, as other sectors watch closely. To find out how Inenco’s team of food and drink experts can help you on your journey to net zero contact one of our experts on 01253 785249