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Grocery firms slash supply chain waste

Grocery supply chain waste has been cut by 8.8% over two years, according to the latest figures.

Data released by WRAP on phase two of the Courtauld Commitment showed that after two years the 53 signatories involved had already smashed their three-year target of 5% reduction in supply chain waste. Packaging waste was cut by 8.2% between 2009 and 2011, on track to hit its target of 10% by the end of 2012.


ObjectiveOne year reduction (2009-10)Two year reduction (2009 – 11)The Courtauld Commitment Phase 2 targets  (2009 – 12)
Packaging – to reduce the weight, increase recycling rates and increase the recycled content of all grocery packaging, as appropriate4.7%8.2%10%
Household food and drink waste– to reduce UK household food and drink waste3%Results are not collected yearly4%
Supply chain product and packaging waste – to reduce traditional grocery product and packaging waste in the grocery supply chain1.2%8.8%5%


Dr Richard Swannell, design and waste prevention director at WRAP, said the supply chain results were particularly important as a new area for the scheme. He added: “In this, its final year, we are continuing to work with the sector to help ensure the Courtauld Phase two targets are met in full.”

Resource management minister Lord de Mauley said: “These results show impressive progress in cutting down on unnecessary packaging, which is in everyone’s interest, and I will be encouraging the industry to build on its efforts to ensure we continue to make substantial progress.”

The Courtauld Commitment is a Government-backed voluntary responsibility deal lauched in 2005 to improve resource efficiency and cut waste in the grocery sector.

Phase two of the agreement was launched in 2010 moved away from soley weight-based targets to cover the entire lifecycle of products through the whole supply chain.

Among the 53 retailers, brands and suppliers participating in the deal are household names like Asda, Heinz, Kraft and Mars.

British Retail Consortium’s sustainability director, Andrew Opie said: “Preventing waste is the key aim and a vital part of a sustainable supply chain. Recycling is good but dramatically more resources are saved by not producing that material in the first place.”


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