The Waste & Resources Action Programme has officially launched Courtauld Commitment 2 (4 March) which aims to achieve a more sustainable use of resources over the entire lifecycle of products, throughout the whole supply chain.
WRAP has confirmed that it has set a WRAP-owned 10% carbon reduction target for signatories to meet. Signatories will have to reduce their packaging by weight, increase recycling rates and increase the recycled content of all grocery packaging, as appropriate.
Other weight-based targets include:
* A 4% household food and waste reduction target; and
* A 5% supply chain product and packaging waste target to reduce waste in the grocery supply chain.
WRAP head of retail programmes Andy Dawe told MRW that the availability of conversion metrics to convert weight to carbon was not a straightforward task. He said that WRAP and signatories agreed that weight-based targets for household food waste and supply chain products were more appropriate until weve developed the metrics a bit further.
The supply chain product and packaging waste target will focus on tackling waste from the factory through to the retailer and beyond the home.
In relation to the 10% carbon reduction target, Dawe said: This a target that WRAP owns and signatories will help deliver that target. With Courtauld 1 retailers were responsible for reporting on all of the packaging which they generated, whereas with Courtauld 2 retailers will only report on their own-brand packaging.
This means that the sector as a whole will have to meet a 10% carbon reduction target.
Critics have questioned why WRAP selected a 10% target (see MRW story). Dawe said: We have done extensive modelling work in order to derive at the 10% figure that we have started with businesses.
We have spoken extensively with the packaging industry and kept them informed and involved at every stage.
WRAP has worked with each signatory to develop implementation plans which helps them to meet the targets.
Dawe said that WRAP is also developing a carbon methodology for Courtauld 2 which is currently being peer reviewed by the Carbon Trust and is due to be published by the end of the month.
He added: It is the first time that this approach has been used for assessing the environmental impact for packaging and we are not saying it will be 100% right. We are working with companies to develop it further and we believe it is the best method that can be put together at this stage.
Courtauld 3 is set to be launched in 2012 and will focus more on the carbon impacts of products
Environment Minister Hilary Benn said: A fifth of household waste is packaging, and more than half of this comes from the groceries we buy. This packaging can be essential but in many cases using less and smarter packaging can achieve the same result.
Grocery manufacturers and retailers have already started to take action and have halted the increase in packaging. The new commitment sees them go further than ever in reducing food waste and packaging and making it smarter and I want to see members of the industry continuing to sign-up over the coming months.
WRAP chief executive Liz Goodwin said: One of the biggest challenges society faces over the next decade is reducing the environmental impact of the things we buy. This new agreement will bring about changes ranging from more efficient methods of production right through to the impact of household consumption.
A total of 28 major retailers and brand owners have signed up to Courtauld 2.
British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson said that it welcomed Courtauld 2s more sophisticated approach.
He added: Retailers will continue to tackle the carbon impacts of packaging and waste in their supply chain to help WRAP meet their ambitious new targets.
Packaging industry trade body Incpen director Jane Bickerstaffe said: This is just one step towards the industry and WRAP getting a better understanding of the complexity of supply chains. We hope it will lead to real, holistic, science-based decisions in Government, not decisions based on single factors such as carbon or packaging reduction.