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WRAP Reports Food Waste Progress Under Courtauld Commitment 2025

Image credit: WRAP

One year after the launch of the Courtauld Commitment 2025, WRAP has published its first Review of work underway in the food and beverage sector as a result of the voluntary agreement. The organization has also announced the addition of 24 new signatories to the agreement, which include ABP Food Group, Accor Hotels UK & Ireland, The Federation of Bakers, Hovis, ISS UK and the Welsh Local Government Association. The new members join 156 organizations working collaboratively through Courtauld 2025 to cut by one-fifth over 10 years the resources needed to provide the UK’s food and drink.

The Review covers the first twelve months of Courtauld 2025, outlining how WRAP has collaborated with partners to set the groundwork for forthcoming activities and detailing the key outputs already launched.

“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,” said Steve Creed, Director of Business Programmes at WRAP. “This Review gives me confidence for what will follow, but we need industry to focus now on building these foundations.”

Over the past year, the agreement has seen the creation of 10 working groups focused on a range of food waste-related issues, which include driving consumer behavior change and meat and livestock. According to Creed, the latter will spend 2018 testing on-farm resource efficiency measures and exploring ways to tackle consumer food waste through reducing confusion around freezing. Work is also underway in Wales mapping red meat products and by-products from abbatoirs that will provide new insight into opportunities to improve efficiency and maximize carcass use.

The rollout of new tools and campaigns have been key drivers of Courtauld 2025’s success to-date. The Your Business is Food calculator, for example, which allows organizations to track, cost and act on food waste, has already helped businesses such as the Ship Inn in Barrow in Furness, UK reduce their food waste by up to 72 percent. The Raw Materials Risks and Opportunities Screening Tool was developed in order to allow businesses to improve long-term sustainability in their supply chains by highlighting potential risks and offering advice to mitigate them. Created in collaboration with signatories and experts, it covers a range of categories and locations including fruits, vegetables, grains, livestock and feedstuffs. It checks for risks from water scarcity, floods and droughts, temperature change, land use degradation, food waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

“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,” said Sarah Wakefield, Sustainability Manager at the Co-op.

Another tool that has instrumental in driving change is WRAP’s mapping tool, which can trace wastes and by-products generated through the manufacturing process, allowing companies to identify key wastes and by-products and use them to generate new revenue streams.

WRAP has also worked with the Food Standards Agency and Defra Labelling to update and expand labeling best practice guidance for retailers and manufacturers to help reduce waste and increase redistribution.

The Review spotlights key food waste campaigns that were lunched during Courtauld 2025’s inaugural year, including the Give Up Binning Food Instead challenge, which encouraged consumers to give up throwing away food for Lent. The campaign achieved over five million impressions on social media and gave 40 days of daily tips on food waste prevention themes.

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 organizations and businesses improve their productivity through greater resource efficiency across the supply chain.

“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,” said Creed. “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 10 countries from which the UK imports its food being 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 their water risks and impacts — and starting to coordination actions in areas of common risk.


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