UK food and beverage manufacturers cut carbon emissions by 17%

Posted by Isobel Drake on 27th November 2008

Members of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) have reduced their CO2 emissions by 17% since 1990 as part of a plan to reduce their environmental impact. The reduction means the industry has been releasing an average of 58,000 tonnes less CO2 per year since 1990 – the equivalent of taking 22,000 cars off UK roads each year.

This data is to be released today by the FDF in a new report highlighting how the UK’s biggest manufacturing sector is trying to reduce their environmental impact in five key areas*.

Green Earth

The 17% reduction in CO2 emissions has been achieved on the back of efforts by member companies to improve energy efficiencies in their factories, boost productivity and make greater use of renewable sources of energy. The results show that FDF members are on target to meet their commitment to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2010, compared with 1990.

As well as reducing their CO2 emissions, FDF is today to announce that its members have:
– prevented over half a million tonnes of food waste being created
– recycled or recovered 82% of the food and packaging waste created in factories;
– doubled their participation in the Courtauld Commitment on packaging
– launched the Federation House Commitment, under which 237 food and drink manufacturing sites across the UK are working to improve water efficiency
– launched the Checklist and Clause for Greener Food Transport, which is being used by 47 member companies with combined turnover of £17bn to achieve fewer and friendlier food miles.

“Our report demonstrates that our members are committed to making a real difference to the environment,” Fiona Dawson, Chair of FDF’s Sustainability and Competitiveness Steering Group and Managing Director of Mars UK Snackfood, said. “Our achievements to date are impressive and provide a strong foundation on which we will build as we look to meet the ambitions we set ourselves in 2007. The reduction in CO2 emissions is an incredible achievement and sets us well on the way to reaching our target or cutting emissions by 20% by 2010. As with other sectors we are currently experiencing challenging economic times. However, our members remain determined to meet the commitments contained in FDF’s Five-fold Environmental Ambition.”

“This is an impressive example of what businesses can do to improve their environmental performance by working together. We need to see more of this,” Rt. Hon Hilary Benn, UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, concluded.

To learn more about specific ways in which prominent manufacturers are changing the way they operate to reduce their environemtnal impact please go to: and click on the Progress Report on the right hand side of the screen.

* In October 2007, FDF launched its Five-fold Environmental Ambition. This set out a plan for member companies to reduce their environmental impact by:
– Achieving a 20% absolute reduction in CO2 emissions by 2010 compared to 1990 and to show leadership nationally and internationally by aspiring to a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020.
– Sending zero food and packaging waste to landfill from 2015.
– Making a significant contribution to WRAP’s work to achieve an absolute reduction in the level of packaging reaching households by 2010 compared to 2006 and providing more advice to consumers on how best to recycle or otherwise recover used packaging.
– Achieving significant reductions in water use to help reduce stress on the nation’s water supplies and contribute to an industry-wide absolute target to reduce water use by 20% by 2020 compared to 2007.
– Embedding environmental standards in their transport practices, including contracts with hauliers as they fall for renewal, to achieve fewer and friendlier food transport miles and contribute to an absolute target for the food chain to reduce its environmental and social impacts by 20% by 2012 compared to 2002.