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The partnership effect

The inaugural meeting of Courtauld Commitment 2 signatories held recently - including those who have signed up since the launch in March - was attended by Lord Henley, minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who announced his support for the initiative.

Burton’s Foods, Ferrero UK, Greencore, Heineken UK, Moy Park and the first company to sign up from Northern Ireland, Dale Farms, have all become recent signatories to Phase 2 of the agreement. This brings the number of signatories to 36.

Lord Henley said: “The Government is right behind you and WRAP - the Prime Minister has pledged that this will be the greenest Government ever, and waste is one of the biggest environmental challenges facing this country.We must all work together, exploring ideas, sharing innovations and successes.”

He also went on to reaffirm the coalition Government’s support for responsibilities deals, citing Courtauld as a great example of how they can work. He said: “Courtauld has achieved great things without the expense and burden of legislation…WRAP provided expert support and an arena for collaboration while giving free reign to the energy, innovation and commitment ofparticipating businesses.”

That endorsement is really important to our signatories. We all know that the retail industry is hugely competitive but the companies are putting aside their commercial rivalries to work together to reduce the sector’s environmental impact. I hope they’re proud of that achievement - Lord Henley certainly recognised the benefit of working collectively.

Courtauld 2 is the successor to Courtauld 1, the latest results of which are currently being assessed. However, even before taking into account the latest Courtauld Phase 1 returns, the impact to date suggests that packaging has been reduced by 500,000 tonnes cumulatively. That is something to be really pleased about and it’s important to recognise that it’s been achieved by working together as a sector.

Partnership priority
I sense that partnership working is going to be a major priority as we look at what an uncertain future might hold. Partnership is certainly a theme the coalition will be familiar with.

We know that the partnership approach delivers. Take the work WRAP is leading in the construction sector. At the launch of Halving Waste to Landfill in October 2008, no one could have predicted that only 18 months later, more han 400 signatories would be on board or that they would comprise such a rich mix of construction firms,contractors, designers, manufacturers and waste managers.

Early data suggests we’re on track to hit the target of halving waste to landfill. It’s a great example of how a sector can work together - up and down the supply chain - to realise the important environmental and commercial savings that are possible.

We’re all aware that the Government is cutting public spending. For WRAP, that means our budget for 2010/11 is being reduced by 5% and that’s the right thing to do given the need to tackle the overall budget deficit.

It means everyone is even more focused on working harder and smarter to ensure we continue delivering value for money. Invariably, the best innovations come out of challenges and I believe we’ll see a lot more of those creative solutions being developed as our belts collectively tighten.

The way forward has to be together - regardless of the sector we’re in or the different issues we’re facing. That’s when we’ll make a difference and see both the environmental and commercial benefits that can be achieved.
Liz Goodwin is chief executive of WRAP

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