Knowledge for better food systems

New food and packaging waste reduction figures

The Courtauld Commitment is a voluntary “responsibility deal” aimed at improving resource efficiency and reducing the carbon and wider environmental impact of the grocery sector. This includes action to reduce food and packaging waste.  Signatories to the deal include UK grocery retailers and manufacturers, and the initiative is led and coordinated by the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP). 

The latest results from the Commitment’s Phase 2 find that significant progress has been made by grocery sector signatories in achieving its waste reduction and recycling targets for food and packaging. The results show an 8.8% reduction in supply chain waste, well ahead of the three-year target of 5%. The packaging target is also on course, at more than three quarters of the way towards the target 10% carbon reduction. The second year results have been achieved alongside an increase in volume sales among signatories.

However since these reductions in waste have been achieved against a background of global recession, it’s not entirely clear from the results how far these measures are a consequences of actions by the signatories themselves and how far they reflect more careful use of food among budget-constrained households. 

For more on the Courtauld Commitment see here. For more information, click here.

Further analysis or insights by FCRN members would be welcome as would examples of food-waste reduction initiatives in other countries.

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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