Food industry makes pledge to reduce food miles

Posted by Isobel Drake on 16th July 2008

Forty UK food and drink companies yesterday pledged to make fewer and friendlier food transport miles, signing up to the Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) Environmental Checklist and Clause for Greener Food Transport. The FDF believe this is yet another step forward by the food and drink manufacturing industry towards making a real difference to the environment.

The signatories, including some of the biggest household brands in the world, have committed to using the ten point checklist in order to reduce their carbon footprint. This checklist embeds environmental standards right into the heart of companies’ transport practices and includes contracts with third party hauliers to achieve less and environmentally friendlier food miles.

By decreasing the carbon footprint via more efficient food miles, companies will be making a strong contribution to the food chain target of reducing environmental and social impacts of domestic food transport by 20% by 2012 compared to 2002.

“Transporting food and drink, like all other goods, has environmental and social impacts,” Iain Ferguson, FDF President, said. “Today FDF members are making a significant commitment to reducing these impacts, and are once again showing leadership on an important environmental agenda. The companies who have signed up to the Checklist and Clause today are the first of what we hope will be many more signatories to this commitment to achieving fewer and friendlier food transport miles.”

Lord Rooker, Minister of State for Sustainable Food, Farming and Animal Health, added that the plan epitomised the leadership shown by the food industry. “I welcome the industry’s new initiative to reduce its environmental impact through the publication of its ten point Checklist and Clause for Greener Food Transport,” he said. “The food industry makes an important contribution to the success of the UK economy and it is good to see it also showing leadership in the delivery of a more sustainable future.”

The streamlining of transport can have a great impact with the FDF citing the example of United Biscuits, which is avoiding 2.7m road miles per year compared to 2005 by improving the design of its transport network, vehicle use, driver training and by using satellite tracking. The company will cumulatively save about 4,700 tonnes of CO2 up to the end of 2008.

The companies involve come from a diverse range sectors within the food industry and include, among others, Kellogg’s, Nestlé, Cadbury, Kraft, Mars and Unilever. More details about the initiative, including details of the ten-point checklist, can be found on the FDF website at .